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Preview: Jeju United vs Jeonnam Dragons

Jeju United had their unbeaten streak snapped last weekend at the hands of Daejeon Hana Citizen, and will look to rebound against the only other team to beat them in the league this season when they welcome Jeonnam Dragons to the island.  Jeonnam settled for a 1-1 draw at home against Gyeongnam FC last time out and with the teams separated by only two points in the table, a lot is on the line.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Jeonnam Dragons
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday August 1st, 2020; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Daejeon Hana Citizen 2-1 Jeju United

Jeju United lost a bit of momentum as they fell to Daejeon for the second time this season.  The islanders could have gone into the lead in the early stages of the first half when Joo Min-kyu stepped to the spot for a penalty, but his effort was relatively easily saved by Kim Jin-yeong.  Jeju dominated possession in the first half with 65 per cent of the ball, but they had nothing to show for it when the teams went to the half, and there was the feeling that they would eventually pay for it.

That's exactly what happened as the hosts went into the lead less than ten minutes after the restart when a well worked move down the right hand side eventually saw the ball come into the path of Park Yong-ji, who made no mistake from close range, thanks in large part to a fine assist from Kim Ji-hun.

The islanders would not be outdone, however, as Gong Min-hyun got them on level terms only minutes after Daejeon had taken the lead.  He pounced on a rebound after Kim Hyun-woo's header was kept out, firing low across the 'keeper who was already going the other way.

As he had done in the first match, Andre Luis would play a deciding role in the win for Daejeon on the night as he scored his team's second goal in the 74th minute with a quality strike that glanced off the post on its way past Oh Seung-hoon.  Jeju would press late for an equalizer, but they were not able to find one and suffered their first loss in almost two months as a result.


Jeonnam Dragons 1-1 Gyeongnam FC

The match between Jeonnam and Gyeongnam was mostly a stalemate until just past the midway point of the first half when Luc Castaignos put the Reds into the lead, heading in Choi Jun's cross from the right.

It would stay that way until just past the hour mark, when new signing Hernandes, who came on as a substitute in the second half, shoveled the ball past Son Jeong-hyeon in the Reds' goal after a bit of scrappy play in the area.

The rest of the match did not see a change in the scoreline, and the sides had to settle for a share of the spoils in the end.


Previous Meetings

The sides have met on one occasion this season, with Jeonnam taking all three points in Gwangyang when they met on the second matchday of the season in May.  Kim Ju-won scored the only goal of the match with a header on 58 minutes and it would hold up as the only goal in the end.

Team News

The loss to Daejeon produced a lot of talking points for Jeju.  The most concerning comes in the goal scoring department.  The islanders have only scored fifteen goals in eleven matches, with most of those coming from three players in particular - Joo Min-kyu and Gong Min-hyun with four and Lee Chang-min with three.

Joo has hit a cold spell.  He failed to convert his penalty chance against Daejeon.  It was a particularly poorly taken spot kick, already the second he has missed this season.  He also hasn't scored since the end of May, when he scored the first of the match in a 2-1 victory over Ansan Greeners.  The positive is that Jeju have been very attacking with their forward play, but they have to finish their chances.  The strikers need to be more clinical in front of goal if the island squad is still going to remain in the conversation for promotion come the end of the season.

The good news is that Jeju will play five of their six matches in August at home, starting with the match against Jeonnam.  They will also play Chungnam Asan, Ansan Greeners, Bucheon FC 1995 in the makeup fixture, and FC Anyang on the island.  They will also see the return of their three military recruits Jin Seong-wook, Ryu Seong-woo and Lee Chan-dong on August 27th following the completion of their military service with Sangju Sangmu.

Kim Young-wook was suspended for the match against Daejeon and should take his spot in the starting lineup against his former club.  Kim Hyun-woo was very impressive in his second consecutive start, and should he continue to put in positive performances, it will allow Nam Ki-il to use his more experienced players to shore up the middle of the park and the back line.

There are no suspensions or injuries to report.  Nam Ki-il may tinker a bit with the starting eleven for the match against Jeonnam for the lack of execution from some of the offensive players last time out, but he has options at his disposal if he does indeed try to change things up.

For Jeonnam, their new signing Hernandes looks quite the player as he scored on his debut for the Dragons against Gyeongnam.  He could once again be in the mix this weekend after making a strong impression with his first showing for the club.

Choi Hyo-jin was left out of the squad for the match against Gyeongnam, most likely to rest him ahead of the clash against Jeju, and should retake his place in the starting eleven.  There are no suspensions in the side, and there are not too many changes expected to the side which started last time out.

As announced by the league, fans will be able to enter the stadium for the first time this season, with maximum capacity limited to ten per cent, meaning that about 2,000 fans will be granted access to the stadium on a first-come, first-served basis, with reservations possible through the ticket office's main phone line and online booking.  Each ticket will be marked with an individual seat number as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID-19.  Other measures taken by the club will include temperature checks and QR coding upon arrival to the ground of all fans attending the match.

The Adversary

Will Julian Kristoffersen play a part when the Dragons visit the island this weekend?
Jeonnam come into the match on the heels of a four match unbeaten run and have conceded just one goal over that span with three consecutive clean sheets against Bucheon FC 1995, FC Anyang and Ansan Greeners before allowing the opening goal of the match against Gyeongnam last weekend.

Park Jun-hyuk has been a major reason behind the team's success this season as he has only conceded seven goals in twelve league appearances and also leads K League 2 with seven clean sheets to his credit. 

The Dragons know that a result against Jeju would go a long way in keeping their confidence up of staying in the conversation for the playoffs, as they have three consecutive matches thereafter against lower ranked teams in the division.  Following the match this Saturday, they are home to Seoul E-Land before going on the road for back to back matches against Ansan Greeners and Chungnam Asan FC before returning home to face Daejeon Hana Citizen to close out the month of August.

What to Watch

It is no secret that both teams have sound defensive structure, but also that their wing play can determine the outcome of matches.  In particular, for Jeonnam, Oleg Zoteev comes into focus.  Since joining the team, he has played in all five matches thus far, four of them starts and three in which he played all ninety minutes.  He did pick up a bit of a knock against Gyeongnam and had to be substituted before the end of the first half, but if he is able to go, he should at least get minutes from the bench.

He has a good presence going forward and could pose problems for Jeju on the wings.  His balls into the area for the strikers could also be key to Jeonnam's goal chances, especially if Julian Kristoffersen is involved somehow, whether he starts or comes on as a substitute.  It could be a possibility considering he has been left out of the squad the past two matches, so the match against Jeju could be where the Norwegian makes his return.



This will be a very difficult match to predict, based on a number of factors.  One thing is certain, however - it will be just as tightly contested as the first time these two met early in the season and will be decided by nuances.  Both teams are in excellent form at the moment, Jeju's loss to Daejeon aside, and a lot is at stake with both teams neck and neck in the table.  Jeju have not played particularly well at home this season, but know they have to bounce back quickly if they are to make up ground on Suwon in first place and to keep themselves in good position for the promotion race once the fall comes around.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 2-1 Jeonnam Dragons

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