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Preview: Jeju United vs Gyeongnam FC

Jeju United let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers as Daegu FC came back from two goals down to salvage a draw with the equalizer coming in the second minute of injury time thanks to Park Gi-dong's heroics.  Up next is Gyeongnam FC, and the islanders know that anything less than a win will tarnish any final chances they have of staying up in the top flight next year.  Gyeongnam left it late for a draw against Jeonbuk, but also have to put forth a good effort to get a result on the weekend.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Gyeongnam FC
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday October 6th, 2019; 14:00 KST

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 2-2 Jeju United

The islanders faltered once again, conceding twice in the final twelve minutes of the match to throw away three valuable points which would have seen them move up the table, at least temporarily, but the back line, as it has done on many occasions this season, could not hold the fort.

Yun Il-lok converted a penalty just before the end of the first half for his tenth goal of the season, and Ahn Hyun-beom added a second in the 74th minute to put Jeju up a pair of goals, but a red card to Kim Bong-rae in the 65th minute proved crucial as Daegu found a pair of goals of their own, first through Jeong Seong-won in the 78th minute and Park Ki-dong two minutes into injury time to leave the struggling last-placed side with barely a lifeline heading into the relegation round.  Should they not survive the drop, it would be the first time in club history that they would begin a new season in the second division, while Daegu also face an uphill battle to repeat their ACL appearance this season after winning the FA Cup last year.

Highlights: here

Gyeongnam FC 1-1 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

In a highly charged affair, Gyeongnam were able to snatch a late equalizer against last season's champions.  Kwon Kyung-won gave the visitors the lead after sixty-seven minutes, only for Kim Jun-beom to find a way back for the hosts late on to take a point in Changwon.  The draw gives last year's runners-up a two point edge over their rivals at the bottom of the table heading into the last weekend before the final round.  When Jeju and Gyeongnam met late last season before the split, Lee Dong-soo scored in the third minute of injury time to seal the win for Jeju.  With little room for error, something will surely have to give on Sunday afternoon.

Highlights: here 

Previous Meetings

Jeju have had some success against Gyeongnam this year, winning once and drawing once, and they hold a slight edge in the overall head-to-head with eight wins to their opponents' six, with nine matches ending in a draw.  

However, rewinding back to last season in the Championship Round, it was the Changwon-based side which came out on top thanks to an own goal from Lee Kwang-seon, who was signed by the Reds in the off-season.  Jeju need to be strong defensively this weekend if they are to avoid the same fate which would put the threat of relegation closer in their rearview mirror.

Team News

Manager Choi Yun-kyum did not make any changes to the squad which defeated Seongnam by a convincing margin of 3-0 the week previous, and it almost paid off, but for last-minute lapses in the back which cost them yet another victory from a winning position late in the match.

Confidence in his selection will determine how Choi approaches this match.  It has been a problem for the brunt of the season, and has much to do with where the islanders sit right now.  Lee Keun-ho has been hit and miss since joining the team in the summer transfer window, as has Christian Osaguona, although the latter should arguably have had much more playing time thus far, considering he is not on a loan contract and will likely be with the team again next season.

Oh Seung-hoon has continued to struggle, but not to his own accord, as his defensive troops have left him vulnerable on several occasions.  They will need to step up for him on Sunday if Jeju are to get the result they need to stay afloat.

Kang Yoon-sung is out for the match, having three yellow cards to his name, but also having been called up by the U-22 side for international duty, while Kim Ji-un will also be out of the line-up.  All other players are eligible for selection, and the onus is on the manager to make his best selection possible ahead of the relegation fight.

For Gyeongnam, it was very much a second strength eleven which took the pitch against Jeonbuk, with Luc Castaignos being rested because of a minor injury, but with such a critical match ahead, he should be back in the fold.  Bae Ki-jong returns from suspension, as does Park Tae-hong and both should be available for selection.  Osman Junior, however, suffered a long-term injury against FC Seoul and will not return for the club this year.

The Adversary

Kim Jun-beom netted the late equalizer against Jeonbuk.


Gyeongnam last won in the league by a count of 2-0 at home to Suwon Bluewings on August 23rd thanks to a brace from Uros Deric, meaning they enter the match against Jeju on a five match winless streak.  They will hope that Deric will be able to show that sort of proficiency in front of goal come the weekend, as Jeju is one of the teams which he has had a lot of success against dating back to last year.

Gyeongnam played a rotated lineup against Jeonbuk, which should indicate they will go full strength on the weekend.  It has also been a difficult season for them after falling out of the ACL in the group stages following a breakout year in 2018, and now face the possibility of going back down after suffering long stretches of futility much like their weekend opponents in the current campaign.

The positive is that they have something to build on with the late result against last year's champions, but they will have to repeat the feat when they make their way to the island for Sunday's match.

Prediction

Jeju have no excuses at this point.  Anything less than a win would spell ultimate disaster for the club, and likely mean they would drop down a division for next season.  The wealth of talent in the side is quite remarkable to be fair, but they also must be fully aware of the danger pieces which will have a role to play on Sunday for their opponents, namely Deric, who has been a thorn in their side since coming into the league last year.  Nonetheless, they have no choice but to win, however possible, even if by the slimmest of margins if they are to see top football next year.  With their backs against the wall, they must come up with a result which gives them all three points,

Predicted Score: Jeju United 1-0 Gyeongnam FC

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