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scouting

Daejeon Hana Citizen vs. Gangwon FC Preview: Home win a must for Daejeon

Two teams without a win thus far this season meet on Saturday when Daejeon Hana Citizen host Gangwon FC in their 2024 home opener. After a disappointing result and performance last week away to Jeju, Lee Min-sung will be expecting a reaction from his players.

Overview & Match Information

Fixture: Daejeon Hana Citizen vs. Gangwon FC
Competition: 2024 Hana Bank K League 1 Round 3
Venue: Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Date: Saturday 16th March 2024, 14:00 KST
Streaming: K League TV (International), Coupang Play (Korea only)

Just over 12 months ago, Daejeon Hana Citizen got their season up and running with a home win over Gangwon FC. This year, they'll be hoping to do the same, even if it is three rounds later than 2023. Jeju United away in Round 2 proved to be a bit of a disaster for Daejeon, losing 3-1 with two first-half penalties gifting Jeju a 2-0 lead at the break. Daejeon, then, head into Saturday's clash in search of their first win of the campaign, but it's a home opener and Daejeon are expected to have a big crowd there. After a poor performance against Jeju, the fans will want to see a team that says befitting of ACL qualification, as has been the talk all winter.

What needs to improve

Daejeon lost all composure against Jeju. Passing was frantic and the Purples struggled to find a rhythm. Lee Min-sung spoke about how the match was lost in midfield, and so there could be a change in personnel. Ju Se-jong came on to try and get Daejeon ticking in that regard. Six out of his seven attempted forward passes found another Daejeon player, compared to two of five attempted by the player he replaced, Lee Soon-min. 

The general lack of composure led to two penalties being given away. The first penalty was perhaps a bit unlucky with Aaron Calver adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, the second was needless though. In the fourth minute of five added at the end of the first half, Jeju look to break into the box through but Lee Soon-min has his hands all over Han Jong-mu goes down. It is soft, but it's clumsy. Daejeon need to be mentally tougher but Lee Min-sung has opted for the first-year professional Kim Han-seo and Kim Jun-beom in midfield; very little grit and guile. A rethought central midfield selection should be Lee Min-sung's first task ahead of the visit of Gangwon.

Reasons to be optimistic

The Jeju match could have gone in Daejeon's favour had they had either a bit more luck or composure in front of goal. Kim In-gyun's high press and chasing down of goalkeeper Kim Dong-jun very nearly led to a goal six minutes in. A millimetre or two to the right and the blocked clearance cannons back of Kim In-gyun and in. Then Gutek, latching on to a great ball through from Kang Yoon-seong, seems to be in two minds before attempting to shoot despite being one-on-one with the 'keeper. Had he shown the level of composure he did against Jeonbuk and Daejeon would've been ahead with 24 minutes on the clock. Lee Chang-geun came to the rescue on a couple of occasions before that but the point stands that Daejeon really ought to have scored.

It wasn't until the second half that Daejeon began to show a bit more attacking impetus. Leandro's direct nature helped the Purples get up the pitch quickly and the link-up play with debutant Farley Rosa was encouraging. Three of four dribbles Leandro attempted were successful and five touches in the box in 51 minutes was a good return. Daejeon will need to be on the front foot against Gangwon, and Leandro has a decent record against them - one goal and three assists in two matches.

Team News

Daejeon will be without Anton Kryvotsyuk through injury, the centre back is expected back after the international break. Captain and central midfielder Lee Soon-min is a minor doubt after picking up an injury that forced him off early into the second half against Jeju. Former Togo international striker Peniel Mlapa could be involved if his visa is issued in time, but only off the bench having not played since May last year. Left back Park Jin-seong is said to be back in contention.

For Gangwon, Marko Tuci has been given a retrospective ban for two matches after being adjudged to have used his elbow against a Gwangju player in the Bears' 4-2 loss to Gwangju last week.

There's history

Daejeon have a bit of history with Gangwon. There's the 2021 playoff loss but that was avenged on the opening day of last year. Later in the season, though, a 1-1 draw away to Gangwon meant that the Purples were mathematically unable to finish in the top six. Then post-split, Gangwon beat Daejeon to basically seal survival. It was the only game Citizen lost post-split. The fixture perhaps can't be described as a rivalry, but Daejeon will certainly have a bit of extra motivation to beat Gangwon.  Overall, there have been 30 meetings with Daejeon winning 15, Gangwon 10, and only five draws.

What to watch

How the teams attempt to create chances

Gangwon have the highest xG value in the division so far this season at 4.30. Daejeon's, for comparison, is at 1.55. The Bears have attempted the most shots with 33, Daejeon the third-fewest with 15. For accuracy, though, Gangwon are fourth-bottom with 33.3%, and Daejeon are second with 53.3%. Gangwon, then, are much more willing to shoot on site of goal whereas Daejeon are a little more reluctant but have been more accurate with the few chances they have created. The two teams might need to meet somewhere in the middle.

Vladislavs Gutkovskis (Gutek) sits fourth in K League 1 for total shots so far, while Gangwon's Lee Sang-heon is third. Yang Min-hyuk, who last week became the youngest K League goal scorer at just 17 years of age, is Gangwon's most accurate shooter with 50% of all shots finding the target. Gutek is Daejeon's most accurate shooter at 33.33%

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