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FC Seoul need to perform in front of bumper Gyeongin Derby crowd

Defeat away to Gwangju FC in Round 1 means that FC Seoul head into Sunday's Gyeongin Derby with Incheon United - their home opener - looking for their first points of the new campaign.

Perhaps more importantly, though, with an expected - and likely a very expectant - crowd of 40,000 plus, FC Seoul need to put in a performance. The performance against Gwangju FC was disappointing. Fans in the Instagram comments were suggesting that it might have been An Ik-soo in disguise, not the highly-rated and much sought-after Kim Gi-dong in the dugout with Seoul's build-up play ponderous, slow, and laboured. 

From 10 total shots, only three found the target. None of their five corners resulted in a shot on goal, crossing accuracy was low at 32.14%, and the best chance Seoul created - from a total xG of 0.89 - was Stanislav Iljutcenko's chance in the 91st minute, a header that went just over the bar for an xG of 0.26. Iljutcenko had Seoul's second-best chance a few minutes earlier and surely must be wondering why he didn't start the game.


Despite the opening-day loss, there is still a sense of optimism around the club. It's hugely important, then, that FC Seoul capitalise on the increased interest in the team and get the fans, old and new, onside as soon as possible. Both the manager Kim Gi-dong and captain Ki Sung-yeung have said that Sunday's match will be different. 

Speaking via the club's social media channels on Thursday, manager Kim Gi-dong said:

"I too had high expectations for the Gwangju match. The fans will have had high expectations as well. They made the long trip, completely filled up the away end, and gave us a lot of support. We didn't match up to their expectations in the first game but moving forward I'm expecting it to get better. Lots of interest and passionate support will be a big help to the players. Please continue to support us.

"We didn't carry out what we had prepared (in the first game) and so I was also embarrassed. We're at home, and we need to win to shake off the last game. We've come together as a group to go over the disappointing aspects and win the match."


Club captain Ki Sung-yueng also spoke:

"The manager has just arrived and to play the kind of football the manager wants, the players, the manager all need time to adapt. I know that the fans can't wait for that. Because results are important, we are doing our best to make sure we get them. The players are adapting quickly and taking on board what the manager wants, starting with me.

"Thank you to the fans who came to the first match. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the result we wanted and so sorry to those who came all that way. At home, it will be different I think. There'll be more fans giving their passionate support. The players know that they have to do they have to head into the game with a lot more passion than they did in the first match. We're preparing well so that we can get a win for the fans."

Will Lingard play?


FC Seoul normally get good crowds, especially for their home openers, but the box office attraction of Jesse Lingard has certainly added an extra layer of interest. Kim Gi-dong was reluctant to use Lingard away to Gwangju but 1-0 down with 15 minutes to go, he knew that he needed someone who could help him salvage something from the game. Lingard did well when he came on, largely operating from the number 10 position with Palocevic on the right and Lim Sang-hyub on the left.


He was on the pitch for 22 minutes in total and completed 17 total actions, 11 of which were successful (65%). He had one shot which went just over but was hit first time from the edge of the box. His passing accuracy was at 82% (9/11), attempted two crosses - both successful - and won both of his offensive duels. He had one touch in the box, won his only attempted recovery in Gwangju's half, and did well in terms of his passes into the final third and the 18-yard box - two from three for the former and two from two with the latter. Lingard is unlikely to start but we may see him a bit earlier than the 76th minute.

In terms of other team news, Willyan and Choi Jun are both back in training. Both missed the opening-day loss to Gwangju while Kang Sang-woo, who signed on Thursday, could make his debut for the club.

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