Jeju United travel to Jeonbuk Motors this weekend in a season-defining match for both teams.
Jeonbuk are currently top of the league while Jeju are second. Jeonbuk’s four-point lead over Jeju means that should they win at the weekend, they will claim the 2017 K League title with two games to spare.
However, should Jeju beat Jeonbuk, they will only be one point behind the league leaders meaning that they would go into the final two games of the season with a real chance of winning a first league title.
A draw would keep Jeju’s chances alive for at least another week, but they would be relying on Jeonbuk not winning either of their final two games of the season.
How were their last games?
Both teams recorded good wins in their most recent games. Jeju got an important one-nil win over Ulsan Hyundai that not only kept their title hopes alive but also gave them a massive boost in their hopes of finishing in the top two positions.
In this game, Magno’s penalty made the difference as he scored his second goal from the penalty spot in two games.
The football in this game was perhaps not quite as free-flowing as Jeju fans are used to and they were actually on the back foot for a lot of the game. However, the fact that they were away from home against a very good team, as well as the importance of the match, means that it was a very good result.
Jeonbuk had an easier time in their game against Gangwon as they came out 4-0 victors. However, realistically, Gangwon had almost nothing to play for and they have lost both of their games since they completed their goal of reaching the top half of the table before the split.
How about their recent form?
Both teams are in a good run of form. Jeju lost for the first time in thirteen games two games ago but they have won both games they have played since. The only slight worry for Jeju is that the goals have not been as plentiful as earlier in the season.
In fact, they haven’t scored more than one goal in a game for four matches and are without a goal from open play in three (their last two goals came from penalties).
While this is in part due to the tough opposition they are playing against, the manager will be hoping that nerves aren’t starting to kick in now the season is reaching its climax.
The positive is that despite the lack of goals, Jeju’s defense has continued its incredible form and they currently have the joint best defense in the league (with Jeonbuk).
With Jeonbuk, you could almost say the exact same thing as Jeju. While they have only won two of the last five, drawing three, they have only lost one game in the ten. However, as with Jeju in recent games, their previously fearsome attack has started to stutter and, until their most recent game, they hadn’t scored more than one goal in five games.
While the 4-0 battering of Gangwon will go some way towards easing these concerns, the game against Jeju should be a much tougher test.
How have previous games between the two sides this season finished?
The last game between the two sides was only three games ago! In that meeting, Jeonbuk came to Jeju and ended up winning by one goal to zero when Kim Jin-su scored a last-minute winner.
Like this game, that one was very important as Jeju could have gone joint top of the league.
Jeju won the other two games between the two sides this season. The first was a four-zero away win and the second a two-one home win.
What can we expect from the game?
The game will be interesting as Jeju desperately need a win. Jeonbuk would surely love to confirm the title by winning in front of their home fans, however, a draw would also all but seal up the league for them too.
While previously in the season, you would have potentially expected a lot of goals, both teams have started to rely more on their defenses to get them through recent games.
However, due to Jeju’s real need to win, the longer the game goes on without them scoring, the more likely they are to attack to try to get the goal they need. This could really open things up.
All in all, it will likely be a close, tense game between the league’s two best teams!
The game will take place on Sunday Oct. 29 at 3 p.m.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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