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Preview: Gyeongnam Aim to Slay The Dragons On Home Turf


Gyeongnam FC host a stuttering Jeonnam Dragons outfit on Sunday.  With nine games remaining in the season and both teams in playoff contention, this weekend's clash will be an intense one.  Seol Ki-hyeon's men rescued a point last time out in a dramatic contest with lowly Seoul E-Land.  In contrast, The Dragons blew a two-goal advantage against ten-man league leaders Gimcheon Sangmu at home.  Both sides will be looking to find some constant form sooner rather than later as the season enters the latter stages.  K League United's Gyeongnam FC columnist James Edrupt delves deeper into this one.

Match Overview

Gyeongnam FC (6th) vs Jeonnam Dragons (4th)
Venue: Changwon Football Center. Changwon.
Time and Date: Sunday 5th September, 16:00 (KST)

Recent Form

Two points dropped for Seol Ki-hyeon's men

Gyeongnam played out a thriller in Changwon last Sunday evening drawing 3-3 with ninth-placed Seoul E-Land.  The hosts had Hernandes to thank equalizing late on to rescue a point for the Reds.

The hosts raced out of the blocks and opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute.  Striker Yun Ju-tae got on the scoresheet for only his second goal in Gyeongnam colors since signing from FC Seoul in the off-season.  A tame effort that somehow found its way into the net.  Goalkeeper Kim Kyung-min for E-Land won't want to watch this one back again.  The goalkeeper mistakes just kept coming and it was the turn of Son Jung-hyun to return the favor for The Leopards.  Son tried to be clever and attempt a clearance into midfield.  It landed straight on the head of midfielder Jang Yun-ho who simply cushioned the ball into Benegas's path.  The Argentinian had the simple task of lofting the ball over Son into an empty net with just nine minutes remaining until the interval.  Two awful keeper errors in the first half to gift both sides a goal.   

The second half was barely a minute old when pacey winger Kim In-sung put the visitors ahead for his third goal in five matches for The Leopards.  The recent signing from Ulsan Hyundai latched onto a Yuki through-ball and rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into an empty net.  Willyan restored parity with a leveler on sixty-six minutes, smashing home a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area. and the hosts were pushing on looking for a winner.  But it was the visitors who got their noses in front just eight minutes later through substitute Kwak Seong-wuk who had only been on the field a minute.  Kwak timed his run into the box perfectly and Leandro slid the ball into the midfielder.  He made no mistake firing past the onrushing keeper.  However, the hosts were to have the final laugh when substitute Hernandes was slipped in by Baek Sung-dong.  The Brazilian smashed the ball past Kim Kyung-min to mean the points were shared in Changwon in a blistering contest.  

Final score: Gyeongnam FC 3-3 Seoul E-Land

Jeonnam's woeful home form continues

Jeonnam Dragons played host to league-leaders Gimcheon Sangmu in another thrilling contest.  The hosts will be disappointed though, after throwing away a two-goal lead in Gwangyang.

The Dragons got off to a blistering start opening the scoring after only seven minutes through the unlikely source of right-winger Lee Hoo-gwon.  Lee cut in from the right-hand side of the pitch and had a shot with his weaker left foot.  The ball found its way into the far corner creeping into the goal past a flat-footed Gu Sung-yun.  The aforementioned Lee Hoo-gwon was to turn provider for striker Balotelli to double the home side's advantage on thirty-four minutes.  Lee's floated cross was expertly chested down by the Brazilian just inside the box.  The forward then had the strength to hold of his defender before smashing the ball into the near post for his ninth goal in seventeen appearances.  

After the break, the army outfit really turned on the style and were totally dominant.  They got their just rewards on sixty minutes in rather fortuitous circumstances courtesy of an own goal by the unfortunate Park Chang-yong to reduce the deficit  A corner was whipped in and Park inadvertently knocked the ball past the keeper as the corner was flicked across goal.  The task was made all that more difficult when Gincheon were reduced to ten men with eight minutes remaining.  Midfielder Heo Yong-jun was sent for an early bath for a second bookable offense after his poor touch resulted in a mistimed tackle.  Despite the one-man deficit, the visitors rescued a point when striker Cho gue-sung upped his tally to four for the season deep into added on time.  The pacey forward was in the right place at the right time hooking home after substitute Jeong-Jae-hee's initial effort was saved by Park Jun-hyuk. 

Final score: Jeonnam Dragons 2-2 Gimcheon Sangmu 


Team News

Gyeongnam FC

Brazilian winger Hernandes marked his comeback with a goal last time out coming off the bench.  After another week's training, he will be pushing for a start.  Recognized center-back Kim Myeong-jun trained with the first team all week.  Manager Seol Ki-hyeon has had to play both Kim Dong-jin and Lee Woo-hyeok in the unfamiliar roles as center backs the past two games.  An unknown absentee last weekend was the experienced midfielder Ko Kyung-min.  Ko can be a match-winner on his day and the team have missed him in matches this campaign.   The rest of the squad have a clean bill of health with no suspensions affecting selection for Sunday. 

Barring any setbacks in training this week, look for Hernandes to be heavily involved on the weekend

Jeonnam Dragons 
The Dragons make the short journey east in a confident mood.  They are unbeaten against Gyeongnam this season so far.  Beating the Reds twice and drawing once.  The Dragons away form is better than their home form.  Simply put they travel well and like to hit teams on the break.  Johnathan Ballotelli and fellow countryman Alex have been in good form of late and will look to exploit any weakness in the hosts' backline.  They have the best defensive record in the division, only conceding twenty goals.  However, they do have a slight problem putting the ball in the net with only twenty-seven converted.  The joint third-lowest scorers alongside Ansan Greeners.  The ever-present goalkeeper Park Jun-hyuk and the well-organized center back pairing of Jang Soon-hyeok and Choi Ho-jung have been mainstays in the starting eleven all campaign and they will need to be at their best on Sunday.  Experienced center-forward Lee Jeong-ho likes playing against Gyeongam and often pops up with a goal against them.  Lee will be hoping to see the field on Sunday, as he was an unused substitute against Gimcheon last weekend.  

Alex and Ballotelli will be key for Jeonnam on Sunday

Who to Watch

Gyeongnam FC-  Jang Hyeok-jin

The defensive midfielder will be key to how Gyeongnam operates on Sunday.  He will have the task of picking up Jeonnam's runners in and around the penalty area and in the final third of the pitch.  The Dragons can be devastating on the break and have pace dotted around their team.  Jang is not afraid of putting in a tackle despite his slight figure.  

If a weakness to his game, he can be a frustrating figure at times and pass the ball sideways and backward too often.  His ball retention ability is second to none and if Gyeongnam are to get any joy out of the clash Jang will need to be on top of his game.  He keeps the ball moving quickly and his eye for a pass can be brilliant.  He is always confident taking the ball in tight areas and he is not afraid to mix it with the best of them in this division. 


Jeonnam's away form is second to none and they love to play quick attacking football on the break.  With Gyeongnam's makeshift defense still due to continue for another week, the visitors could have some success in Changwon if they play to their strengths.  Gyeongnam on the other hand need a victory to keep their playoff dreams alive going into the final two months of the season.

Gyeongnam FC 2-2 Jeonnam Dragons



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