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Preview: Suwon Samsung Bluewings vs Seongnam FC


Seongnam FC enter the halfway point of the K League 1 Final Round having officially staved off any possibility of relegation with their victory over military side Sangju Sangmu last week. This week they head to Suwon to face rival club Suwon Samsung Bluewings with a grand opportunity to move up to 2nd place in the lower group. 

Last Time Out

Last time out Seongnam FC took on the K League's military side Sangju Sangmu in what ended up being another trademark Seongnam-Sangmu low-scoring, offensively lacking matchup. It was actually a match where Sangju controlled possession for most of it with an incredibly high 63% possession rate. However, Seongnam's backline did what it has been doing all season and thats keeping Seongnam in matches.

Finally, in the 80th minute, Seongnam captain Seo Bo-min sent a shot that deflected off a Sangju defender's left leg, sending it away from the dive of the keeper and into the back of the net. That would be the only score of the match but it was enough to give Seongnam the victory and the final three points they needed to officially, mathematically, secure the team's return to the K League 1 for the 2020 season.



For Suwon Samsung last week was not quite as successful as they secured a mere draw against Incheon United. Samsung struck early when Australian Adam Taggart scored off a long ball that was then crossed into the box where he was left alone uncontested. The score would remain that way all the way until the 93rd minute when a free-kick just outside the box was deflected straight up into the air and then in an attempt to clear it was perfectly set up by Suwon for Incheon's Myung Joon-jae to send into the back of the net giving Incheon a crucial 1 point in the standings.


Previous Meetings

The Magpie's have had the Bluewings number this season going undefeated against them with 2 victories (both by the score of 2-1) and one 0-0 draw. In their first match, Samsung struck early with a 28th-minute penalty. Seongnam's Eder Lima would then answer with a penalty of his own about nine minutes later. The match stayed tied all the way to the very end when Seongnam scored in the 92 minute giving them what was an important early-season victory.

Their second match was a similar affair except Seongnam scored first right at the end of the first half. Suwon's Taggart answered with an equalizing goal in the second half however Kong Min-hyu would help Seongnam reclaim the lead with a goal in the 84th minute giving the Magpies another late 2-1 victory over the Bluewings.

Their third matchup was a more characteristically Seongnam FC match as neither team could send one into the net. With that said, Seongnam had 13 shots and eight on goal which is still much better than their season averages of 10 shots per game with an average of four on target.

Team News

Seongnam has no players suspended this week however there are still some players who are in danger of a yellow card accumulation suspension including Kong Min-hyu and Mun Ji-hwan. However with the season nearing its close one would expect other players to get playing time and for card troubles on the whole to be something the team doesn't need to worry about.

The Adversary

Though there is the Seongnam-Suwon rivalry to consider it is very likely that this week Suwon will not be putting its best squad on the pitch simply because the team is looking ahead to their FA Cup final matchup against Daejeon Korail on Wednesday (and the second leg the following Sunday). A victory in the FA Cup final would mean a spot in the AFC Champions League next season which is crucial for the team if they want to keep their best players in the squad. In fact, it is so crucial that manager Lee Lim-saeng has previously stated he would resign if they lose.

As far as suspensions go, Koo Ja-ryeong is suspended on yellow card accumulation but again it's hard to say whether this will matter much as it is not expected that we will see the regular Suwon squad on the pitch. This will be a game where many of the fringe players will get a chance to get some minutes and gain some experience.

[LISTEN: FA Cup Final Preview with Suwon Bluewings Striker Adam Taggart]

What To Watch

Seongnam's offense seems to wake up against Suwon and with Suwon de-prioritizing this match in favor of the FA Cup one can reasonably expect Seongnam to come forward and create a lot of chances. One player to look out for is Seo Bo-min. Seo has played well all season but especially of late with 2 goals in his last 3 matches as he has taken on a more attacking role.

Prediction

Suwon is simply not focused on this match and less experienced players will be taking to the pitch. While Seongnam might also mix it up a little I still expect to see some regulars on the pitch such as Seo Bo-min. Expect Seongnam to walk away from this match with three points and tied for 8th place.

Predicted Score: Suwon Bluewings 0-2 Seongnam FC



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