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Preview: Daegu FC vs FC Seoul


Daegu FC’s successful season at their brand new football stadium, DGB Daegu Bank Park, will come to an end this Sunday with what will be an exciting game against FC Seoul. With 2020 ACL play-off spot at stake, Daegu in fourth are looking to write another incredible chapter in their short history, while third placed visitors are hoping to cement their way back into ACL with an away win. K League United’s Daegu FC columnist Muyeol Jung previews what will be one of the pinnacle events in the final day of K League 2019.



Last Time Out

Gangwon FC 2-4 Daegu FC

Daegu FC returned home with three points and ACL hopes after beating Gangwon FC 4-2 on the road through goals from Kim Daewon, Hwang Soonmin, and Cesinha. With a bit of a scrappy first half performance, Gangwon had a goal disallowed due to hand ball in the build up. Before half time, Korea U22 winger Kim Daewon gave the visitors the lead in first half stoppage time after wasting a few critical chances.

In the second half, Cesinha doubled Daegu's lead before he helped Hwang Soonmin make it 3-0 through a fine strike at the edge of the box. Afterwards, the hosts swiftly responded with early substitutions. Within a quarter of an hour, Gangwon made it 3-2 through goals from the substitutes Choi Chiwon and Lee Hoin and kept on attacking for an equaliser. However, the visitors killed off the game through Cesinha's individual efforts in the stoppage time.

Highlights




FC Seoul 0-3 Pohang Steelers

FC Seoul spurned their chance of sealing their spot in 2020 AFC Champions League after a humiliating 3-0 defeat at home to Pohang, while it was the perfect revenge to a 2-0 loss in the opening game of the season for Pohang. Seoul were set up at their full strength with Pešić in the starting line up. Despite the hosts' dominance, a few minutes before the break, the visitors opened the scoring from the spot converted by Paločević.

The second half was worse than the first half for the hosts who kept on pushing for a goal, but were unable to create any meaningful chances, whilst also leaving their defence extremely vulnerable. Contrarily, the Steelers were very effective on the counterattack and killed off the game thanks to two goals within five minutes before halfway into the second half. The capital team tried their best to find a consolation, but the game ended 3-0 without any more goals.

Highlights



Previous Meetings

Historically, for Daegu FC, the capital team have never been an easy team to take points from as the Sky Blues have claimed ten wins from 38 meetings compared to 17 wins to Seoul. For last two seasons, after the citizen club made the comeback to K League 1 in 2017, they went slightly ahead of the capital team that were under former Pohang manager Hwang Sunhong’s supervision with two wins and four draws from seven meetings. However, this season after legendary Seoul manager Choi Yongsoo took the full season, the matchup shows dramatic changes. Three meetings saw Daegu FC and its fans have so much frustrations after Andre’s boys fell to 2-1 defeat three times. The latest encounter was played at Seoul World Cup Stadium this August when the hosts went 2-0 up till the midway into the second half when Daegu’s Brazilian star Cesinha scored a consolation goal.

Team News


Daegu’s emphatic 4-2 win over Gangwon and Seoul’s 0-3 loss to Pohang re-ignites Daegu’s dimming ACL hopes and it’s now all nicely set up for ACL play off spot to be decided on the final day of the 2019 K League 1 season. With a point separating the two sides, this is a must win game for Daegu, while more than a draw will secure Seoul a comeback to the continental competition for the first time in three years.

The situation looks favourable to Daegu as they have successfully bounced back with a big win on the road and the situation reminds of last season when Deagu wrapped up the season in style with silverware after beating Ulsan Hyundai 5-1 on aggregate in the FA Cup final.

Can Daegu FC's most successful manager bring ACL back to DGB Bank Park for a second year in a row?

Two days prior to the game, Daegu FC manager Andre spoke to the media that “it will be a cup final just without a trophy” and “it’s been always challenging to play against FC Seoul, but we will try our best to get the result we want in front of home fans” he adds. Therefore, all Daegu players will be mentally determined to win the game.

For what is set to be an enthralling game, solid defender Park Byunghyun and creative midfielder Kim Sunmin will likely return to the starting lineup after serving one-game suspensions. However, there’s bad news for the gaffer as Daegu’s towering centre back Jeong Taewook is unable to play after picking up a third yellow card for the campaign in the previous game. The Korean youth international has been instrumental for the Sky Blues in defence as well as being a big threat at set pieces. His absence will be a blow, but Park Byunghyun will take his place along with Kim Wooseok and Kim Dongjin in a back three. Also, assistant coach Lee Byungguen will not sit on the bench for the second game of his touchline ban. Other than that, Daegu FC will be set up in their usual 3-4-1-2 formation at full strength.

The Adversary

FC Seoul looked to be on their way to finish the campaign in 3rd place with an ACL play off spot in their hands until FINAL A kicked off. However, surprisingly Choi Yongsoo’s side has gone four games in FINAL A without a win and are on the verge of letting the spot slip away. Still, the chances are bigger for Seoul as a draw will be enough for Seoul to seal a qualification place in AFC Champions League next season, but are unlikely to come down to Daegu with the mindset of playing for a draw as it could be too risky.

Can FC Seoul manager Choi Yongsoo finish the season with ACL play off spot?

However, their attack is a major concern as the capital team didn't find the back of the net in last two games, nor created many meaningful chances. They looked to see Serbian striker Aleksandar Pešić start scoring, but has looked out of form after an injury layoff.

Ahead of trip to Daegu, the gaffer Choi Yongsoo has a relatively full squad to pick without any suspensions.

What To Watch

Every time the two teams took on each other in the league this season, there's always been big high tension generated between the players and fans on and off the pitch, including Jeong Taewook's nose injury which added the fuel to the fire. In addition, with an AFC Champions League play off spot up for grabs, this is the match Daegu players and fans are looking forward to than any other game.

With high expectations from fans and media hype surrounding the game, it is being advertised as the final chapter of the Sky Blue’s fairy tale and a full house is expected as the club officially announced that the tickets for the game has sold out for only two and half hours since they went on sale. Therefore, the atmosphere is set to be electric inside DGB Daegu Bank Park.

There's also some interesting history between the two sides. In 2007 K League, FC Seoul, who consisted of superstars such as Lee Eulyong, Ki Sungyong and Lee Chungyong, traveled down to Daegu for the final game of the season in a situation where a draw would be enough to secure them a place in the Championship play off, but underdog Daegu FC threw the spanner in the works by beating them 1-0. It will be interesting whether Daegu can see history repeat itself and spoil the party.

Prediction

This season's records strongly indicate that statistically Daegu FC are the underdogs, but anything could happen in this kind of game with so much pressure and unforeseen variables. Also, in terms of the current form and atmosphere in the dressing room, Daegu FC look in better shape

For this game, Seoul would come with much more pressure on their shoulders as they have to defend their place, while Daegu would enjoy the game as they have nothing to lose. As a result, Daegu boys are expected to aggressively go on to look for a goal from the very beginning. However, there's a doubt over theit defensive ability without Jeong Taewook considering how poor the defence was against Jeonbuk, particularly in the air.

Therefore, the game is likely to be very close but in the end, the more disciplined and mentally well prepared side will take the win.

Daegu FC 2-1 FC Seoul

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