Gangwon vs Suwon FC: ‘Two teams aiming for the top spot’

The 17th round of the Hana Bank K League 1 2024 kicks off.

Match of the Round: Gangwon vs Suwon FC: ‘Two teams looking to make a run at the top’

In Round 17, Gangwon (4th place, 28 points) and Suwon FC (5th place, 27 points) will go head-to-head.

The hosts are coming off a 2-1 win over Jeju in Round 16, which was their fourth straight victory. Gangwon’s four-game winning streak has been fueled by Yago. After scoring the game-winner against Jeonbuk in Round 15, Yago scored again in Round 16, marking his second consecutive game with a goal. Yago is physically adept, ranking fourth in aerial ball wins (59) among all K-League players, and he often looks sharp by utilizing his teammates, either finishing the ball himself or setting up Yang Min-hyuk and Lee Sang-heon. With his goal-scoring prowess, it will be interesting to see if Yago can continue his goal-scoring streak of three games in a row and lead Gangwon to victory in this round. Along with Yago, another player who has been on a roll lately is Kim Kang-guk. Kim joined Gangwon this year after playing for Chungnam Asan in the K League 2 for the past four years. His versatility in covering the second line, flanks, and defensive areas is his strength, and he perfectly filled the void left by Kim Yi-seok’s injury in the last round, leading the team to back-to-back wins. Meanwhile, Gangwon’s longest winning streak in the K League 1 is five games, which was set in the 2017 season. With a win in this round, Kangwon will challenge for the record for the longest K League 1 winning streak in seven years.

The visitors are coming off a 3-1 victory over Incheon in the Round of 16, which was their second straight win. Suwon FC have won four of their last five matches and have exploded for nine goals in their four wins. Coach Kim Eun-joong employs a “zero-top tactic” that maximizes the strengths of his attacking lineup by giving them autonomy, with attacking midfielders Lee Seung-woo and Andersson dropping into the middle of the park, while flankers Kang Sang-yoon and Jeong Seung-won are also active in the middle of the park and threaten opponents. The “zero-top tactic” has allowed Suwon FC to create space efficiently, and as a result, a variety of players have found the back of the net recently, including Lee Seung-woo, Jeong Seung-won, Jang Young-woo, and Kang Sang-yoon. Suwon FC has also been solid in defense this season. They have only conceded 사설토토 four goals in their last five matches, two of which were clean sheets, so the key to this match will be how they can contain Gangwon’s offense, which is second in K League 1 in goals scored (29). If Suwon FC wins this round, it will be their second three-game winning streak of the season.

Meanwhile, the first meeting between the two teams this season resulted in a 2-1 victory for Gangwon. The second meeting of the season between Gangwon and Suwon FC will take place on Saturday, November 15 at 8 p.m. in Chuncheon Songam Sports Town.

Team of the Round: Ulsan looks to consolidate their lead

Ulsan jumped to the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Jeonbuk in Round 16 and are unbeaten in their last three matches (2 wins, 1 draw). With only three points separating first-place Ulsan (31) from fourth-place Gangwon (28), Ulsan will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the K League 1 standings with back-to-back wins in this round.

Ulsan has been dominating key offensive statistical categories, ranking first in team shots on goal (97), successful passes (8,511), and key passes (128). While Ulsan has been getting solid performances from Ataru, Rubixson, and Injongyu lately, it’s been flanker Uhm Won-sang who has stood out the most. Uhm has four goals and one assist in 13 appearances this season, and has the most shots on target (14) on the team. Uhm Won-sang was in good form last round, assisting Ataru’s winning goal against Jeonbuk, and will look to continue his streak of attacking points in this round.

Ulsan, meanwhile, will face Seoul in this round. Ulsan have won seven of their last 10 matches against Seoul, including a 1-0 victory in the first meeting this season. We’ll find out if Ulsan can extend their unbeaten streak against Seoul on Sunday, July 16 at 6 p.m. at the Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan.

Player of the Round: Jeon Byung-kwan, the new Jeonbuk fixer

Jeonbuk boasted a solid offensive and defensive balance last season with 45 goals scored and 35 goals conceded overall, but this season has been a bit disappointing with 19 goals scored and 25 goals conceded. Jeonbuk (10th place, 14 points) is currently averaging 1.2 goals per game, which is the ninth-highest scoring offense among the 12 teams in the K-League, and will need to improve if they want to climb out of the bottom half of the table. The key to Jeonbuk’s offense is Jeon Byung-kwan, a ’02 forward who joined the club this season.

Jeon Byung-kwan made his debut for Daejeon in 2021 and has already surpassed his tally from the previous three years with four goals and one assist for Jeonbuk this season.

With his speed, agility, and precise dribbling, Jeon has already moved beyond the U22 ranks to become a solid starter for Jeonbuk. He leads Jeonbuk in goals (4) and offensive points (5) on the team, but he also contributes on defense, ranking 10th in tackles in the central area (22) among all K League 1 players. If Jeon Byung-gwan continues to perform well on both offense and defense in this round, Jeonbuk could snap their losing streak and leapfrog into the mid-table.

Meanwhile, Jeonbuk will face Incheon in this round, with Incheon winning 3-0 in their first meeting. Whether Jeonbuk will be able to avenge their last defeat with the help of Jeon Byung-kwan’s performance will be determined on Sunday, July 16 at 6 p.m. at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

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