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Preview: Daegu FC vs Pohang Steelers



After the international break, Daegu FC will return home for K League action as they welcome Pohang Steelers this Saturday. With heated top six battles in the table, the fifth-placed hosts are looking to put daylight between themselves and other contenders, while the visitors are hoping to get into the top six. K League United Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung has the preview.



Last Time Out


Sangju Sangmu 1-1 Daegu FC

Daegu FC travelled to the North of Gyeongsangdo to face off against Sangju Sangmu in the hope for three points, but they left the huge number of travelling fans disappointed after a 1-1 draw with an underwhelming performance on the pitch.

An early goal came to the hosts only six minutes after the kick-off when Lee Kyusung found Park Yongji running behind the defensive line, who avoided an encounter with Daegu's on-rushing shot-stopper Jo Hyeonwoo and put it away. Aftewards, Daegu went for an equaliser but didn't hit the target in spite of their constant efforts including Kim Daewon's shot and Jeong Taewook's header.

The second half got underway with one substitution from Daegu by bringing Rildo on for left wingback Kim Dongjin. The best chance fell to Daegu when the Sangju goalkeeper punched the ball away into the penalty arc where Hwang Soonmin struck the ball along the ground. However, the ball bounced off the post after the keeper's fine saving. During the second half, the substitute Rildo combined well with Cesinha, trying to create some chances, but unfortunately didn't score in the end. With the Sky Blue's dominance, Sangju were very effective with responding with a few chances on the counterattack, but Jo didn't allow the ball to go into the goal. Sangju looked on their way to pick up a vital win at home but, only five minutes before time, Daegu earned a penalty which was converted by Edgar. Thanks to that, Daegu were able to walk away with one point.

Highlights




Pohang Steelers 1-0 Seongnam FC

Ninth-placed Pohang Steelers hosted eight placed Seongnam at their turf and held on 1-0 lead to beat Seongnam at home.

Pohang fiercely pushed for a goal from the beginning of the game and their young talent Song Minkyu cut in and blasted it into the roof of the net only less that a minute after Wanderson's shot was cleared off by defender two minutes into the first half. The visitors lost their captain through injury, but they composedly made a couple of good chances through teamwork.

In the second half, the hosts made every effort to kill off the game, but they couldn't find another goal and it went nervy whenever the Magipies were near around scorings. However, the scoreline remained 1-0 at the time without either side scoring again.

Highlights




Previous Meetings

Looking at the head to head record, the citizen club have pulled off 11 wins and 10 draws to the east Gyeongsang-do city's 19 wins. Furthermore, in general, Pohang are believed to be a better side than Daegu. However, the recent ten games results see the tie between them equally balanced with five wins each.

During this season, they have met each other twice and the metropolitan club won both ties 3-0 and 2-0, while Pohang haven't found a way to past Korean international Jo Hyeonwoo. In the recent clash played on 2nd June at the Steel Yard, Daegu walked away with three points through Edgar's two goals; the opener started from Pohang goalkeeper's howler before Edgar killed off the game with a powerful header.

Team News

Fifth-placed Daegu FC are having the best season ever in the club's history and they are ambitiously aiming to earn ACL spot for next season.

During the international breaks, three Daegu players went away to represent Korea; Jo Hyeonwoo for senior national team, and two young boys Kim Daewon and Jung Seunwon for U22 national team. Jo Hyeonwoo arrived back in Korea Thursday afternoon after the involvement with Paulo Bento's team's action for a friendly against Georgia and first World Cup qualifier against Turkmenistan in Turkey and Turkmenistan. Unfortunately, he didn't earn any minutes at all, but he will likely start for the Sky Blue this weekend despite fatigue and jet lag. Meanwhile, the young duo travelled to Jeju island before they flew off to the national team training centre in Paju where they trained with practice games at U22 National team.

For the fixture against Pohang, Daegu manager Andre needs to find a replacement among his squad for young defender Kim Wooseok who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Other than that, the majority of players should be available for selection.

The Adversary

Prior to the international break, Pohang Steelers dragged Seongnam FC down after a nervy 1-0 win at home and moved up to eighth place in the table and just four points off of six placed Sangju. With only five rounds to go until the split, the Steelers need to add more points to their tally in order to find themselves in top six, even though they are in little danger of a relegation battle.

During the international break, Kim Gidong's side mainly spent time shoring up their drawbacks at home without anyone called up for the duties.

The Steelers are usually set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with little extent of rotation to the startling list. Ahead of Daegu game, the gaffer has to leave locally grown boy Lee Gwangheok at home after the boy picked up a third yellow card, but this doesn't look to be a big issue for him as he was usually a substitute. Meanwhile, German striker Iljutcenko, who had to sit in the stand due to a one-game suspension, will return to the team and pose a threat to Daegu's defence with Wanderson and super rookie Song Minkyu upfront. He has been quite the household name for the Black and Red this season with four goals from nine appearances since his arrival to K League this summer from MSV Duisburg. In the middle, Lee Jinhyun will take more attacking role, while loanee Choi Youngjoon from Jeonbuk this summer will pair up with either Jung Jaeyong or Lee Soobin in the middle. For the rest of team, it will likely remain as usual.

What To Watch

Daegu FC's Cesinha and Pohang Steelers' Wanderson are very well known to be close friends with one other off the pitch, but the two Brazilians will square off on the pitch this Saturday evening in pursuit of victory.

The pair, both born in 1989, started playing in the K League at around a similar time, but walked down different pathways; Daegu's Cesinha was brought in to K League 2 in a Daegu shirt ahead of 2016 and since then, he has been one of the most valuable players for the Sky Blues by bringing the success and fame to the club. In the meantime, Wanderson began his K League back in 2015 in Daejeon Citizen before he moved to other K League clubs Jeju, Pohang, and Jeonnam.



Despite the five years of time Wanderson has spent at various K League clubs, he is finally recognised one of the best talents in the league. This season, the versatile player is having the best time of his football career with 12 goals from 28 appearances. Owing to this, he was honourably voted for the Player of the Month for August.

Additionally, it will be interesting to see if in form Wanderson could score on behalf of his team against Jo Hyeonwoo, who is being at the centre of match advertising to commemorate his 200th K League appearance. The match will be themed around the Korean goalkeeper with lots of events including selling of the commemorative merchandise.

Prediction

Ahead of this game, Daegu have lost one of their household names, Kim Wooseok at the back, but Pohang have the German striker Iljutcenko returning to play alongside in-form winger Wanderson.

Because of these factors, Daegu look quite vulnerable defensively, but their attacking ability is high enough to score. It should be a very narrow win for Daegu.

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