K League United
·17 March 2023
K League United
·17 March 2023
Still unbeaten, Daejeon Hana Citizen travel to Big Bird this Sunday to take on a Suwon Samsung Bluewings side yet to experience victory in 2023. Sunday's clash will be the first so-called 'Football Capital Derby' in K League since 2015.
Sunday's hosts Suwon Samsung Bluewings have managed just one point from their first three matches. It was a well-earned point having come from behind at Jeonju World Cup Stadium to earn a draw against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. It was a game that Suwon will have felt they ought to have got more from given how well they performed, particularly once An Byong-jun and Maxwell Acosty were introduced. Daejeon are the second newly-promoted team Suwon will have faced this season having met Gwangju FC on opening day, losing 1-0 late on. Last time out, the Bluewings lost 2-1 to Suwon FC in the first Suwon Derby of 2023.
Daejeon, meanwhile, are unbeaten with a win and two draws. The Purples' win came on opening day at home to Gangwon FC thanks to goals from Tiago Orobo and Leandro. The victory was followed up by a 3-3 draw away to Incheon and a 0-0 stalemate at home to Pohang. In both of the two matches Daejeon have drawn this term they have ended the game playing against 10 men.
The two clubs have met fairly recently, though, having been drawn together in the third round of the Korean FA Cup in 2021. On that occasion, an Uroš Đerić strike in the first minute had the Bluewings ahead before Bruno Baio levelled just seven minutes later. However, Suwon were able to seal their place in the next round thanks to a 65th-minute strike from Choi Jeong-won. In 2015, all three meetings between Suwon and Daejeon ended 2-1 - two in favour of the Bluewings and one in Daejeon's. The very first meeting of that season on April 26th ended in victory for Daejeon thanks to a brace from Adriano.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings are expected to be without striker Fejsal Mulić who picked up a hamstring injury during pre-season. Bluewings boss Lee Byung-keunsaid post-Suwon Derby defeat that the Serbian striker is expected to be back in April. Wingback Jeong Seung-won and attacker Jeon Jin-woo were both left out of the Suwon Derby matchday squad and Coach Lee hinted that this was due to a combination of fitness and training ground performance levels.
Daejeon Hana Citizen will be without captain Ju Se-jong while the former FC Seoul midfielder recovers from an orbital fracture; Lim Dug-keun is likely to deputise in the holding midfield role. Masatoshi Ishida, too, is unlikely to feature through illness but the Purples are expected to welcome back Leandro who has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem.
With the Korea U20s now out of the AFC U20 Asian Cup, all K League teams need to field an U22 player. For Daejeon, this will most likely be centre back Lim Yoo-seok or winger Jeon Byeong-kwan with Bae Jun-ho, Bae Seo-joon, and Kim Kyung-hwan - Citizen's U20 Korea squad contingent - having had a lot of time away from the squad.
Suwon will start scoring eventually. Only two goals scored is not a true reflection of the Bluewings' attacking quality as they have amassed the second-most shots at goal so far this season with 47 and the most headed shots at eight. Most of Suwon's shots have come from outside the area, though. Their xG of 4.58, too, suggests that Suwon have been unlucky in front of goal. Daejeon have found it hard to deal with pace in the channels, both this season and last. If Suwon can stretch the Purples and hit them on the break then they might be able to find some joy.
Daejeon, meanwhile, tend to get a lot of crosses into the box with Tiago Orobó able to play the role of target man. Tiago sits 10th in the division for aerial duels per 90 minutes and eighth among the strikers in K League 1 for success rate at 33.33%. With Leandro expected to be back, how the Brazilian duo link up will be something to keep an eye on.
Maxwell Acosty, Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Maxwell Acosty is already off the mark for Suwon this season having scored the equaliser away to Jeonbuk in Round 2. He's yet to record any assists but last year, while in the violet of FC Anyang, Acosty provided 11 including three in one match against Daejeon. On that occasion, the Ghanian helped Anyang secure a 3-2 win at Daejeon World Cup Stadium thanks to a 94th-minute assist for Jonathan Moya. And, given how Daejeon displaced FC Anyang in the 2021 playoffs, Acosty might see the visit of the Purples as an opportunity to exact revenge for his former club. Acosty has made three key passes this term, the joint-most in the division.
Daejeon's creativity has come, in part, from versatile midfielder Lee Jin-hyun. Lee has two assists to his name this term and two key passes. With Ju Se-jong out injured, there's extra responsibility placed in the shoulders of Lee Jin-hyun to try and pull the strings from deep. Ju's direct replacement Lim Dug-keun will try to break up play but Lee Jin-hyun is the one who Suwon will need to try and nullify. The accuracy of his passes to the final third is 74%, just behind Ju Se-jong at 76%, and what Wyscout classes a smart pass, a creative and penetrative pass that attempts to break the opposition's defensive lines to gain a significant advantage in attack, Lee has made four of them - joint-third in K League 1.
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