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Up for the (Korea) Cup: Daejeon Korail Vs Seoul E-Land

Seoul E-Land suffered their first loss in the 2024 K League 2 campaign last week. It was a 1-0 defeat to Bucheon 1995 which has set the capital club back a small step. Objectives change however this week as it is now the Korea Cup which will be on the mind of Kim Do-kyun's men.

Round two of the newly rebranded competition will see Seoul E-Land face off against Daejeon Korail. A side that Seoul have met in the past. Michael Redmond looks ahead at this tie.

We Meet Again...

This is a rematch five years in the making for the historians of Korean football. It was back in 2019 when Seoul E-Land played Daejeon Korail in the FA Cup. Seoul lost the game 2-0 and stopped their run in the competition. It was goals from Kwak Chul-ho and Kim Sang-gyun which ended all hope for the Leopards. 

In what was an embarrassing year for Seoul, winning only five league games that year, the cup was actually the only good thing to come out of the season. They were the soul-surviving K League 2 side in that year's competition. However, you don't win any trophies for such things. 

Daejeon Korail went all the way to the final that year, losing to Suwon Samsung Bluewings. A 0-0 draw in the first leg gave Daejeon hope. However, the second leg in the Big Bird was too much and they fell to the sword 4-0.

A Lot on the Line

Seoul really have something to play for in this one. Teams lower down the Korean football pyramid are not as bad as their league status may show. You just need to take a look at the three teams who moved into the K League 2 over the last few years. This will be a tough ask for Seoul if they do not take the tie seriously. If Seoul can win, it will be a Seoul derby on their hands. A derby in Leoul Park.

What would make that special is that it will be the first derby with no COVID restrictions in the stadium and it will be the first derby on E-Land turf. Not only that, but it will be a game where Osmar, who now wears Seoul's blue will come up against his former club.

Decisions, Decisions

Kim Do-kyun has decisions to make now. Does he change his team like many managers do in the Korea Cup? Or does he risk playing first-team players week in and week out? Playing a first-team will guarantee the best chance of winning for Seoul, but with no international break for the K League 2, it may tire them quick.

However, a weakened side might bring a chance for Daejeon to upset the Leopards and give them the game against FC Seoul in April.

The Daejeon Steamtrain

Daejeon Korail have started the K League 3 well, winning their first two games. They beat Gangneung City FC 1-0 in the first game, followed by a 1-0 win over Changwon City in the second. Their first-round Korea Cup tie was a 3-1 over Dangjin Citizen.

Daejeon will hope to continue their 100% record when they invite Seoul to town and the higher league status of the visitors will not deter the railway club.

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All to Play for

The fans will hope that a full-strength squad will be played against Daejeon on the weekend. Thoughts go back to 2021 when Seoul E-Land beat Songwol 5-0 in the second round. Seoul fans were happy but then it brought nerves as it was FC Seoul in the next round. We all know how that one ended, but there were nerves for the Seoul team ever since that victory.

A win will bring an interesting few weeks for the Capital club, a loss will make their concentrations solely on the league and their push for promotion.

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