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Islanders and Bluewings Set for Battle on Saturday Afternoon

Jeju United welcome Suwon Bluewings in the second round of matches in Final A on Saturday afternoon with both sides at opposite ends of the momentum spectrum.  Jeju recorded a resounding 5-0 triumph away from home against Daegu FC last weekend while Suwon fell 4-0 to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.  The head to head series between the teams this year finished even, so a tight match should be expected once again.  The islanders currently sit just one point out of a potential ACL spot for next season and have just one more home match remaining, which puts them in a must-win situation.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.
Match: Jeju United vs Suwon Bluewings
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday November 6th, 2021; 14:00 KST

Recent Form

Islanders Unbeaten in Five

With their emphatic win over Daegu FC last weekend, Jeju are now unbeaten in their past five matches.  They have scored fifteen goals over that span and looks to add to their momentum in their upcoming match with Suwon on Saturday afternoon.  Joo Min-kyu scored twice from the penalty spot, while Kim Oh-gyu, Lee Chang-min, and Jo Seung-joon added markers of their own to seal the club's biggest margin of victory in seven years.

Joo Min-kyu will look to hit it out of the park again on Saturday afternoon.
Their attention now turns to Suwon Bluewings, with whom they have shared an even record this season.  The last time the sides met it finished a goalless draw, while Jeju won the first meeting of the season back in April by a score of 2-1 and Suwon won the second 3-2 in May despite Jeju having a two goal advantage.  There is some unfinished business between the sides, however, as the last time they met in the playoff round in 2019, a 4-2 win for this weekend's visitors sealed Jeju's relegation to K League 2 for the 2020 season.  Some would say this weekend, the islanders have an opportunity to set things right.

Bluewings Look to Bounce Back

Suwon Bluewings will look to fare better after heavy defeat last weekend.
Suwon Bluewings fell to a heavy defeat against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors last time out by a score of 4-0.  Takahiro Kunimoto and Kim Bo-kyung each found the net, and Stanislav Iljutcenko scored twice, including once from the spot in the league leaders' convincing victory.  They have had an even record over their past six matches with three wins and three defeats.  Jeju have won the only match played on the island between the teams this season.

Team News

Jeju United

The islanders have been among the goals of late, averaging three goals per match over their current five match unbeaten streak.  Joo Min-kyu has scored four goals in his past two matches, totaling nineteen for the season, three ahead of Lars Veldwijk.  Jeju have also scored two or more goals in each match during the run.  Joo has also scored three goals against the Bluewings this year and will look to add to that total.

Kim Bong-soo was recently selected for the U-23 training camp as the national team recently qualified for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.  He has appeared twenty-four times for Jeju this season, scoring three goals and counting one assist.

"I will do my best in every moment as a Jeju United player when I am called up to the national team," he said.

Nam Ki-il was named K League 1 Manager of the Month for the month of October thanks to his team's recent results.  The team recorded two wins and two draws last month and averaged 2.75 goals per game in advancing to Final A in their first season following last year's automatic promotion after their first title in three decades.

The club will also hold a retirement ceremony for one of its former players as Cho Yong-hyung will be honored on Saturday.  He was a key player in both of Jeju's runners-up finishes in 2010 and 2017, the highest the islanders have ever finished in the league.  He also played 42 times for South Korea, with the highlight of his international career coming at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, where he started all four matches for the national team.

Suwon Bluewings

The big news out of the Suwon camp is the call-up of Kim Gun-hee to the national team for November Asian qualifiers for next year's World Cup in Qatar.  However, he only recently returned from a medial collateral ligament injury which had kept him out for two months.  In the three matches since he came back, he failed to score.  He is level on goals scored this season with Jeong Sang-bin.  Both have found the net on six occasions.

Last time out, they lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with Yang Hyung-mo getting the start in net.  The back three consisted of Doneil Henry, Min Sang-gi, and Jang Ho-ik, who received a yellow card for conceding the penalty which led to the third goal.  The five in midfield was highlighted by Kim Tae-hwan and Lee Ki-je on the wings, with the aforementioned duo up top.

Will Park Kun-ha resort to changes for Saturday's match following the rough performance last time out?  If that does happen, it may be in goal as No Dong-geun is also an option between the sticks.  He hasn't played since a goalless draw against Pohang Steelers at the end of August but is still in the mix for the weekend.

What to Watch

Can Jeju Create Separation From Their Rivals Below Them?

Traditionally, Suwon Bluewings have been a stubborn opponent for Jeju United, shown by the marked edge they have in the head to head rivalry, having won 22 matches to Jeju's 14, while seven, including the last one, ended in a draw.  But, the Tangerines have momentum and home field advantage on their side for the upcoming fixture and can ill afford to slip up if they in fact do want to have a realistic shot at claiming a place in Asia next year.

Kim Oh-gyu, Ahn Hyun-beom, Lee Chang-min, and Joo Min-kyu were all named in the Best XI for the previous round and Jeju was also named Team of the Round.  The pieces are there - Kim Kyung-jae has done an admirable job filling in for Kwon Han-jin and Lee Chang-geun has looked solid in goal.  Depth pieces from the bench in Jo Seung-joon, who scored Jeju's fifth against Daegu, Kim Young-wook, who is finally healthy after a long injury layoff, and new cult-like star Lee Jung-moon have all contributed greatly to the team's great performances in the past five weeks.  

All those pieces will need to be clicking again if they are to secure all three points at the final whistle.

Who to Watch

Kim Gun-hee - Suwon Bluewings

Kim Gun-hee will be the focal point to Suwon's attack.
Kim Gun-hee may be feeling a bit of pressure to perform on Saturday afternoon following his call to the South Korean national team.  His selection by Paulo Bento may have come as a bit of a surprise to some as he has missed considerable time already this season, so his durability will be something to keep an eye on when his side plays Jeju. 

It should also be noted that he also had an Achilles tendon problem earlier this year but he has played the full ninety minutes in each of his last two starts since returning from the injury which kept him out the entire summer and the majority of September as well.

If the wing play is effective and Jeong Sang-bin partners well with him in attack, he will have his chances to be effective and may have a chance or two at goal.  He has proven this season that he is capable of scoring big goals, so the Jeju back line, which has functioned extremely well this season will know not to take him lightly.

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