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Preview: FC Seoul vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Preview: FC Seoul vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors K League 1 Round 22
FC Seoul will take on Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors this Saturday knowing that a win would see them move level on points with the league leaders. Seoul sit in third but just three points behind Jose Morais' Green Warriors following the 1-1 draw with Hyundai rivals Ulsan last Sunday. 

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Incheon United 0-2 FC Seoul

FC Seoul were able put the 4-2 defeat to Jeju United behind them immediately with a Gyeongin Derby victory over Incheon United last time out. Left wing-back Ko Kwangmin put Seoul ahead on the stroke of half time, guiding in Park Dongjin's back-heeled layoff 12 yards out.

Seoul then sealed the win seven minutes from time when Park Chuyoung fired in a long-ranger into goalkeeper Jung San's top left-hand corner, Osmar with a perfectly weighted through-ball. The strike was Park's fifth in the league this season.

Highlights: here

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai

The top two had to settle for just a point for the endeavours on Sunday when a Joo Mingyu strike cancelled out Lee Donggook's 10th minute penalty. Moon Seonmin showed great determination to work his way into a central position inside the penalty box, only to be brought down by Mix Diskerud leaving referee Kim Woosung no option but to point to the spot. Lee Donggook stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner, sending Oh Seunghoon the wrong way in the process.

However, the Horangi pegged the hosts back thanks to a header by Joo Mingyu from a corner. The former Seoul E-Land forward sent in a glancing header from the edge of the six-yard box from Kim Bokyung's cross.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Jeonbuk have won the last four meetings between these two sides and are unbeaten in the last six encounters. The most recent clash between FC Seoul and Jeonbuk was at the end of April at Jeonju Castle where a late, late Han Seunggyu goal gave Jose Morais' side the lion's share of the spoils. Lee Seunggi had put Jeonbuk in front just before half time only for Pešić to race away to fire in an 88th minute equaliser from Park Dongjin's flick on. However, in the dying embers, former Ulsan attacking midfielder Han Seunggyu netted his first goal in Jeonbuk colours with a close range effort deep into time added on.

Jeonbuk won all three of the meetings last season, two of which were at Sangam. Just before the World Cup break, a dominant Jeonbuk side easily dispatched of Seoul with a four-goal rout, despite only going ahead just after the hour mark. Lee Jaesung scored the first before a Kwak Taewhi own goal on 82 minutes, Lim Sunyoung added a third two minutes later then Lee Donggook made it four two minutes before time.

FC Seoul's last win over Jeonbuk dates back to July 2017 when a Park Chuyoung goal in stoppage time sealed a 2-1 victory at a rain-drenched Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Team News

FC Seoul will continue to be without Aleksandar Pešić, the Serbian forward is ruled out with a fractured toe for up to six weeks. Park Dongjin and Park Chuyoung are expected to start up front with Cho Youngwook and Yun Jutae options from the bench. Central defenders Kim Namchun and Kim Wonkyun, as well as Ha Daesung are all likely to remain out through injury.

However, defensive midfielder Jung Hyeoncheol is back in contention after serving a one-match ban for his sending off away to Jeju United in round 20. Lee Woonghee, Kim Wonsik, Ko Kwangmin, Park Chuyoung, and Cho Youngwook are all just a scribble in the referee's notebook away from suffering the same fate.

FC Seoul starting lineup versus Incheon United, K League 1 Round 21.


The Adversary

Whilst Jeonbuk make the trip to the capital as the league leaders, the current K League champions do so with something of a striker shortage. Kim Shinwook's departure to Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League, Adriano's ACL injury, Lee Keunho's loan move to Jeju United, Jose Morais has just veteran forward Lee Donggook as the team's only recognised striker. It was reported that Pohang Steelers' Kim Seungdae was set to switch the Steel Yard for Jeonju World Cup Stadium but Jeonbuk's desperation for an out-and-out forward is palpable. Kim Seungdae has been brought in from Pohang Steelers but, given that Kim is not seen as an out-and-out striker, Jeonbuk's strike conundrum continues.

The Green Warriors, though, are unbeaten in the league since early May, the 2-1 away defeat to title rivals Ulsan Hyundai remaining as their last reverse in the K League. The problem with Jeonbuk is the amount of draws in recent weeks, however. The Jeonju-based outfit have drawn three of their last five in the league, and four from the last six in all competitions if counting the 1-1 draw with Shanghai SIPG in the AFC Champions League.

One striker or not, Jeonbuk will be expected to lineup in a 4-1-4-1, the preferred formation of Jose Morais' predecessor Choi Kanghee with Lee Donggook as the loan striker but Shin Hyungmin, who normally anchors the midfield, is suspended after picking up a sixth booking of the season in the 1-1 draw with Ulsan. Choi Youngjun played as the holding midfielder against Suwon Bluewings and so could be recalled to the starting lineup for the trip to Sangam. Alternatively, Son Junho may drop into the defensive midfield role with Lim Sunyoung and Jung Hyeok in the centre.

Elsewhere, Ricardo Lopes and Moon Seonmin will be expected to come centrally from wide positions to add some much-needed potency to the attack. The pair, along with Song Bumkeun, Kwon Kyungwon, and Hong Jeongho are all one booking away from a one-match ban whilst Park Wonjae II moved on loan to Seongnam. New signing from Pohang Steelers, Kim Seungdae, could make his debut in attack.



What To Watch

Moon Seonmin's Movement

Winger Moon Seonmin has been in fine goal-scoring form of late after putting a hat-trick past Daegu FC in round 20. The three-goal haul has put Moon on eight goals from 11 starts, 16 appearances overall in the league. The former Incheon United man has form for scoring against FC Seoul too having scored in two Gyeongin Derbies last season, including the winner at Sungui Arena Park last summer.

Moon likes to dribble and drift into central positions and will be expected to offer support to Lee Donggook. Thus far in 2019, FC Seoul's wing-backs haven't come up against too many players like Moon who can pull full backs out of position. How FC Seoul deal with Moon, and Lopes too for that matter, who like to usher the ball inside, will be key in the capital club picking up a first win over their once title rivals since 2017.

Prediction

Saturday's top of the table clash at Sangam is a big test for both teams. For Seoul, a win over Jeonbuk will perhaps prove once and for all that they are not just making up the numbers and that a title tilt is within the realms of possibility. For Jose Morais' Jeonbuk, a win would ease the pressure whilst displaying that they have the mental toughness to re-claim their K League crown in a tight title race, something which hasn't happened since 2015, and even then Jeonbuk ended the season six points clear of Suwon Bluewings.

If Seoul can deal with the movement of Moon Seonmin and Lopes from the flanks then they have a chance. A draw would be seen as a decent result but may put to bed any hopes of a genuine title challenge. For Jeonbuk, anything less than a win will be detrimental to their title defence, especially given that Ulsan in second have a game in hand. Score draw.

K League 1 Round 22 Preview: here

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