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Preview: Daegu FC vs Jeju United

Daegu FC will return home this Saturday for Round 32 of 2019 K League season against Jeju United after picking up four points from their rough journeys to Incheon and Jeonju. Thanks to a historic 2-0 win over Jeonbuk, more than a draw this weekend will seal a top six spot, while the bottom side Jeju desperately need a win to avoid a automatic relegation. K League United Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung has a look at what can be expected from this clash along with Jeju United counterpart Branko Belan.

Last Time Out

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 0-2 Daegu FC

After a 1-1 draw to Incheon away from home, Daegu FC went down to the North Jeolla to face off Jeonbuk Hyundai at Jeonju Castle. Daegu played out somewhat a heavily rotated side against Jeonbuk with Edgar, Cesinha, and Hwang Soonmin on the bench. As expected, Jeonbuk took a control of the game, while Daegu tried to capitalise on space behind them on counterattack.

After more than halfway into the first half, unlike Daegu manager Andre's game plan, it became a very eventful first half in both a good and bad way. Edgar's understudy Park Gidong had to be taken to the hospital after he lost consciousness in a collision with a Jeonbuk defender. After then, substitute Edgar converted from the spot and gave the visitors a lead after the referee spotted a handball.

After going 1-0 down, Jose Morais' side pushed for a goal with more offensive players on in the second half; Lee Donggook, Han Kyowon, and Kim Seungdae. However, unfortunately for them, their attack was somewhat predictable and simple for Daegu. Also, a bit of luck followed the citizen club when 'Lion King' Lee Donggook missed a penalty, hitting the bar. Jeonbuk constantly made an effort to find an equaliser, but Daegu managed to record their first win at Jeonju since 2012 after Cesinha killed off the game with a tap-in in stoppage time.


Pohang Steelers 2-1 Jeju United

11th placed Jeju United made the trip to east Gyeongsang Province to square off against Pohang Steelers after an overdue 3-0 win over Seongnam at home last weekend. The islanderss were in desperate need of a win to help avoid relegation, but their game plan in the first half was surprisingly very cagey. With the hosts' obvious dominance over the first half, the visitors didn't create any meaningful chances at all with only two shots off the targets from distance.

Only three minutes from the break, probably the best chance came to a loanee from Jeonbuk Hyundai Lee Keunho in front of the goal mouth when Yoon Ilrok found the striker from the left-hand side. However, unfortunately, the striker's header from close range went over the bar. Afterwards, both sides made changes at similar timing to break the deadlock; the Steelers brought German striker Iljutcenko on to replace Heo Yongjoon, while the Orange opted for Osaguona for midfielder Kim Seongju.

After the alternations, it was Pohang who went on to win the game. Just four minutes after the change, the German striker headed the ball into the net when he met a well timed cross from Wanderson. After going 1-0 down, the islanders looked hurried in trying to find an equaliser, but they didn't find a way to past Pohang's goalkeeper Kang Hyunmoo. Although, Yoon Ilrok was the standout from Jeju by threatening the hosts' goal with a couple of dangerous chances saved by the shot stopper towards the time. On 90 minutes, Pohang finally breathed a sigh of relief when the German scored the second of the evening, which turned out to be the winner after Jeju managed to pull one back by converting from the spot in stoppage time.


Previous Meetings

It will be the third meeting between Daegu and Jeju this season after a 2-0 win for the citizen club in March and 1-1 draw in June. The first meeting was Daegu's home opener in a brand new stadium where they registered a historic first win over Jeju in their first official game hosted in the new stadium with goals from Edgar and Kim Daewon. The latest meeting was played in the island on 29th June when Daegu's key asset Cesinha cancelled out Yun Ilrok's goal in stoppage time.

Head to head, Daegu FC have claimed only ten wins from 39 meetings with 18 wins to Jeju. However, in the last five games, Daegu are unbeaten in the last four games with three wins and a draw since April 2018.

Team News

Daegu FC surprisingly managed to pull off an expected win at Jeonju World Cup stadium after some less dynamic football than their three previous games. With only two more games to play till the split, the metropolitan team are only one point away from getting into top six for the first time in the club's history. It is already very successful season though, it will be a magnificent season for them if they can secure a place in Championship round in front of home fans at their new stadium this weekend.

Shin Changmoo brought the dynamics back to Daegu, in conjunction with Kim Daewon and Park Gidong
Following the return of Kim Sunmin and Kim Dongjin, Shin Changmoo's instant involvement with the team after his military spell in Sangju gives Daegu more options for the gaffer. Especially, the three combined very well in Daegu's  counterattacking style. In the previous game, it was almost as if they had never been away judging by how well they re-adjusted back into Daegu's counter attacking system which they left behind in 2017.

For the Saturday fixture, Daegu have no players suspended, but a few players are expected to be out due to injuries. First of all, Brazilian forward Rildo remains uncertain after he was subbed off with a suspicious injury last weekend. Also, Park Gidong, who was taken to the hospital after losing consciousness last time, may be rested for a precaution. Meanwhile, Brazilian duo Edgar and Cesinha will likely start this weekend after a rotation in the midweek. Hwang Soonmin, who was an unused sub, is expected to return to starting lineup. Other than that, the rest of line up will be similar to the previous one.

The Adversary

Jeju looked unconvincing with their performance against Pohang in midweek, struggling both in the passing game and in possession with too many unwarranted turnovers. What was a bit surprising is that Choi Yun-kyum stayed with the same lineup which beat Seongnam last weekend, as he has been known to rotate his players too much this season, which has hurt the club in terms of developing consistency and chemistry.

The fact is that Jeju has an overload of talent at the moment, and it has been difficult to spread minutes throughout the squad. Particularly worrying is the fact that several new faces who have come into the team throughout the course of the season have only seen periodic action, with Christian Osaguona, Lee Keun-ho, and Nam Jun-jae being prime examples. With Osaguona, there will be time for him to adjust to the style of play in the K League, as he came over on a contract, but he is the type of player who should be given the opportunity to contribute now, especially with Jeju’s first division status for next year still very much up in the air.

Seo Jin-su started each of the last two matches, but struggled to finish the few chances he did have in front of goal, and it is a sign that he still has a ways to go in his development. Mind, he is still only a teenager, so it is worth taking time to see him through the process of adjusting to senior football. He still needs to develop physically and it will take some time before he is fully ready.

Jeong Woo-jae is also a curious case of sorts. While he has spent much of the season injured, first coming back from ACL surgery and then a bruised rib, he did recently make a string of nine consecutive appearances for the islanders, but has not been selected now in almost a month. Maybe Choi will consider him for the weekend given that he would have a chance to play against his former club.

There is also the question of Ahn Hyun-beom at right back. Is he the right fit at the moment, or should someone else be occupying that position? He didn’t look confident enough in possession against Pohang and erred on his marking assignments, particularly in the moment when Pohang took the lead in the second half. He played well for Jeju before he left for Asan to do his military service, and while he was a key piece for the men in yellow and blue, changing divisions will require him to re-adjust his focus with a step up in the level of competition.

Yoon Bitgaram has now huge responsibilities on his shoulders to save the team
Lineup-wise, the returns of Yoon Bit-garam and Baek Dong-gyu from Sangju have shown to have a positive impact thus far, although it is still a bit early to tell what the result will be at the end of the season. Kwon Soon-hyung was captain of the squad last season and should be playing more minutes owing to his experience, something which the team will need once the split comes around next month. Elias Aguilar has also been one of the key men for the team this year, and should also be playing more. For reasons unknown, his minutes have been limited since his return from the Gold Cup with Costa Rica in the summer, yet, he has provided the team with a spark in key moments on several occasions this season. Choi would be smart to make more use of him down the stretch.

There are no suspensions ahead of the trip to Daegu, so it will be interesting to see who will be selected for the starting eleven, knowing that there is only one more opportunity for points before the Relegation Round after this weekend – a must win at home against Gyeongnam FC on October 6th.

-Jeju United Columnist Branko Belan-


For Jeju United, a win is absolutely needed, therefore, they probably go for a goal from the beginning of the first half, whilst the hosts don't need to be in such a big hurry. If this flow continues towards the end of the match,  more and more chances will fall to Daegu on the counterattack. However, Daegu should be wary of winger Yoon Ilrok and creative midfielder Yoon Bitgaram who have enough quality to destroy Daegu's defence through their individual skills. Given recent form and morale in the squad, Daegu will be the favourites to take all three points.

[READ: K League 1 Round 32 Preview.]

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