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Preview: Seongnam FC vs Daegu FC


For the last round of the regular K League 1 season prior to the split round, Daegu FC will make the long trip to the north to face off against Seongnam FC in the pursuit of an ACL spot after already securing a spot in the top six for the first time in the club's history last week. Meanwhile, Seongnam FC will look to register an overdue win over Daegu for the first time in seven years. Daegu FC columnist Muyeol Jung previews this clash.


Last Time Out

Daegu FC 2-2 Jeju United

After having an unforgettable Wednesday night in Jeonju on the road, Daegu FC were looking to seal a place in the top six against Jeju at home. However, it could have been a disaster for the hosts until Jeju took a 2-0 lead on 75 minutes.

From the beginning, Daegu had to meet strong resistances from a defensive Jeju near the halfway line so that Andre's lads were unable to move forward despite having a lot of possession. It was the visitors that took the lead first before the break when Yoon Ilrok converted from the spot after being fouled in the box.

In the second half, Daegu pushed for a goal, but the similar fashion continued until Jeju lost their own wingback Kim Jiwoon due to a second yellow card of the afternoon. In spite of a man advantage and substitutions, Daegu were still having difficulty in neutralising Jeju's stifling defence. To make it worse, Daegu conceded the second goal through a deflection and things looked grim for the hosts. However, Daegu's youngster Jung Seungwon quickly pulled one back from a distance and gave Daegu a lifeline. Afterwards, the hosts went all out for an equaliser and summer signing Park Gidong found an equaliser in stoppage time, which was also his first goal in a Daegu shirt.

Highlights



Ulsan Hyundai 1-0 Seongnam FC

K League title contenders Ulsan hosted Seongnam FC at Ulsan Complex Stadium and claimed a nervy 1-0 win over the Magpies.

With the host's dominance, Ulsan's captain Lee Keunho hit the post with a powerful strike within five minutes into the first half. Next, the Horangi aggressively kept on attacking for the opener, but Seongnam defensively parked the bus with seven outfielders inside the box. The Magpies were pretty effective on the counterattack with only three attackers upfront creating a couple of good chances which could have been scored. The game entered the break as a stalemate.

In the second half, the two sides had goal scoring chances; Mix Diskerud instantly smashed the ball from just outside the penalty box but his shot was saved by Kim Dongjun before Mathias's curling ball on the counterattack was superbly saved by Korea international Kim Seunggyu. On 63 minutes, former Cardiff City midfielder Kim Bokyung opened the scoring for the hosts when he had an encounter with the visitors’ shot stopper inside the box. Afterwards, Nam Kiil's side pushed for an equaliser, but they didn't find it and Ulsan held onto 1-0 lead until the final whistle.

Highlights


Previous Meetings

It will be the third meeting between the Magpies and the Sky Blues this season after Andre's side took four points away from two meetings. Last time, the visitors Daegu pulled off a 1-0 win despite a depleted squad away from home in July thanks to Jo Hyeonwoo who kept the hosts at bay after a 1-1 draw at home in April.

Head to head, Seongnam FC are obviously ahead of Daegu FC with 19 wins and ten draws from 37 meetings, however, except this season's two meetings, all of them were from until 2013 season as the two hadn't met each other until Seongnam FC made it back to K League 1 this season. Meanwhile, Seongnam's last win over Daegu dates back to 2012 summer when the Magpies beat the Sky Blues 2-1 at Daegu Stadium. Their last home win over Daegu was recorded in the summer of 2011.

Team News

Daegu FC have sealed a spot in the top six for the first time in the club's history after a dramatic 2-2 draw to Jeju last weekend. Park Gidong's debut goal in stoppage time will be remembered as a milestones for the club.

It has been a great season for the citizen club after last season's success when they lifted FA Cup trophy for the first time. As a result of their domestic glory, Daegu then found themselves standing shoulder to shoulder with big Asian clubs in AFC Champions League this year. Additionally, the club's involvement with top six is another big achievement for the club, players and fans. However, they don't look satisfied yet with the small success.

After the last match, there was a lot of interviews with Daegu players and the manager stating that they wouldn't dwell on the small success, and would compete for third place for ACL in next year. It is really positive to have set a new goal  so quickly after achieving their primary goal and this will keep Andre's lad motivated until the end of the season.

Can André Gaspar guide his side to the third place for AFC Champions League next year?
Ahead of a trip to Seongnam, Daegu have no players suspended and Andre will have the majority of players available for selection except Rildo who still remains uncertain due to thigh injury which he picked up in the Jeonbuk game. Daegu FC will be set up in their usual formation 3-4-1-2 at full strength as there's enough time to recover from fatigue.

The Adversary

Despite Seongnam FC's defeat to Ulsan, they are nearly safe from the threat of relegation threats given that they are 13 points clear of 10th placed Gyeongnam. As a result, it will be tough for the Magpies to keep their concentration levels and complacency could be an issue. However, the gaffer Nam Kiil is quite disciplined, so he is likely to be pushing his side to play for something.

The Magpies usually take a defensive approach in a 3-4-2-1 formation with an emphasis on counterattacking like Daegu FC do. Whilst their defensive ability is outstanding, they have a significant weak point in attack; they don't have a class striker at their disposal. At the moment, the top scorer in the team is former Daegu FC attacker Eder who has bagged only five this season. The Brazilian has been out of the squad since this August due to injury, but rumours say that his comeback is very imminent.

For the home fixture against Daegu, Lee Eunbeom will be unable to play due to a third yellow card. Instead, a loanee from Jeonbuk Hyundai Park Wonjae will be given a chance.

Seongnam FC's top scorer Eder could face off against his former team should the Brazilian returning from injury in time.


What To Watch

Can Daegu score against Seongnam's stingy defence? Defence wise, Daegu FC have only condeded 30 goals from 32 games, the same number as title contenders Ulsan and Jeonbuk. However, the citizen club have only got 39 goals on their score sheet, which ranks them in sixth from 12 teams. It is surprisingly noteworthy that Daegu have scored one goal fewer than Sangju Sangmu that have only Korean players on military service.

The Sky Blues are currently sitting fourth, only four points adrift of third placed Seoul, while below the table, only two points are separating Daegu, Gangwon and Pohang. Therefore, most goals scored could become vital should teams finish level on points with goals scored rather than goal difference being the decider in K League. Among the other teams competing for third or fourth place, which could become a potential ACL spot depending on the outcome of the FA Cup, Daegu have the least goal scored followed by Sangju (40), Gangwon (47), and Seoul (48).

One thing to note is that Daegu scored two goals in each of their last two games. However, Seongnam FC are very well known for having a tightly organised defence with only 34 goals conceded from 32 games this season. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how Daegu FC will manage to break through Seongnam's defence.

Prediction

In terms of the motivation for this game, it appears that Daegu FC have much more of an obvious goal shared among the squad on the basis of togetherness. However, given Seongnam are very well-disciplined team, they won't want to let this game go to Daegu's plan. Also, in spite of having good quality players Daegu have some difficulty expected against the defensive side. As a result, it will be a very close tie.

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