Preview: Suwon FC vs Daejeon Hana Citizen
On Easter Sunday, Daejeon Hana Citizen head to Castle Park hoping to avoid a Suwon FC resurrection and keep their unbeaten start to the new campaign rolling. Can Daejeon make it three wins on the spin, or will Kim Do-kyun's men earn their second win of the campaign?
This Sunday, in what is a slightly rescheduled 2023 Hana 1Q K League 1 Round 6 fixture, Daejeon Hana Citizen travel to Suwon FC looking to extend their unbeaten start to the campaign. The match was originally supposed to kick off at 19:00 KST but due to floodlight maintenance work being carried out, the match has been moved to the afternoon.
Daejeon have lit up K League 1 so far and testament to how impressive their start has been can be seen in the opponents they have beaten this term such as FC Seoul and Suwon Bluewings, some of the traditional heavyweights. Another win this Sunday, which would be their third in a row, would put them on course for their best-ever start to a top-flight campaign. Daejeon need just four points from their next two matches to do so.
Daejeon Hana Citizen remain unbeaten as they head into their Round 6 clash away to Suwon FC on Sunday. A win would put them on course for their best-ever start to a top-flight season.
Daejeon head to Castle Park after recording back-to-back wins, first over Suwon Bluewings in Round 4 and then at home to FC Seoul last time out. This is enough for Daejeon to sit second and a total of 11 goals scored is the same number as champions Ulsan Hyundai although six conceded is double that of the Horangi, but three of those six came in one game - the 3-3 draw with Incheon in Round 2.
Suwon FC, meanwhile, sit ninth with just one victory this term. Kim Do-kyun's men welcome the Purples on the back of two defeats on the spin, the most recent being away to another newly-promoted side, Gwangju FC. Eight goals shipped is also the second-most in the division while three scored is the joint fewest.
Sunday's meeting will be the first between the two sides in over two years but the first ever in the top flight. In 2020, the season which Suwon FC won promotion via the playoffs, the two teams met three times in a shortened pandemic-era season with each team picking up one win followed by one draw. Daejeon's last win over Suwon FC came on the opening day of the 2020 season in what was the first match since the Hana Financial Group takeover. After An Byong-jun had given Suwon an 18th-minute lead, Daejeon turned the game on its head with an equaliser from André Luís 10 minutes before the interval before Park Yong-ji made it 2-1 in the 90th minute.
Overall, there have been 19 K League meetings between these two teams with Suwon FC earning 10 wins to Daejeon's seven and two draws. Suwon have scored more goals, too, with 39 to 31. The record over the last 10 meetings is stacked heavily in Suwon's favour with seven wins to two and one draw.
Ju Se-jong is Daejeon's only injury doubt as the central midfielder picked up a facial injury in the 3-3 draw with Incheon in Round 2. Ju has since returned to training after surgery but remains a doubt and so Lim Dug-keun is expected to keep his place in midfield.
Suwon FC will be without Lachlan Jackson after the Australian centre back was dismissed during the 2-0 loss to Gwangju last time out.
Who to Watch
Daejeon's Lee Jin-hyun and Masatoshi Ishida
Masatoshi Ishida, known simply as 'Masa' in K League, came off the bench for Daejeon last time out to fire in an 88th-minute winner. It was Masa's first appearance of the season having had to overcome an illness and was most alert to convert from close range after Kim In-gyun had broken free of his man on the left flank and forced the ball across the face of goal. But it wasn't just his match-winner that Daejeon fans were waxing lyrical about. Despite it being his first competitive match for six months, Masa looked sharp and linked the play up well. He also showed great composure in and around the box before picking the right pass. Given his lack of football, though, Masa is unlikely to start.
One player who is almost nailed on to start, however, is Lee Jin-hyun. Lee has been in fine form this season with goal contributions, whether it be goals or assists, in every game Daejeon have scored in this season. Assists have come in the wins over Gangwon, Suwon Bluewings, and FC Seoul as well as the draw with Incheon while Lee's strike against the Bluewings earned him the goal of the month award. Expect the former Pohang and Daegu midfielder to be heavily involved in Daejeon's transitions from back to front.
Suwon FC's Lars Veldwijk
Lars Veldwijk is yet to score this term but has two assists to his name, both came in the Suwon Derby win over the Bluewings last month. His physical presence and how Daejeon deal with the big Dutchman will be something to keep tabs on. Cho Yu-min spent two and a half seasons as a teammate of Veldwijk before the former made the transfer to Daejeon in 2022. Sunday's meeting will be the first time these two former teammates will go toe to toe.
What to Watch
Daejeon's breakneck pace on the counter is something that Suwon FC are going to have to contend with. In addition, the players who manager Lee Min-sung looks to when seeking an impact off the bench, such as Kim In-gyun. A high defensive line would be foolish for Suwon while Daejeon are going to have to contend with Suwon's physicality from set pieces.
Where to Watch
Suwon FC versus Daejeon Hana Citizen kicks off at 3 PM KST on Sunday, 9th April 2023 and can be viewed on TV.KLeague.com.