After back-to-back wins a few weeks back pointed to a potential upturn in form for Suwon FC, their last three league outings have culminated just two points through draws with Incheon United and Daegu before culminating in a humbling 3-0 defeat at home last Saturday. The results have seen them slide back into the lower half of the table where they sit in 7th with just twelve points for the campaign so far.
Meanwhile, Gangwon sit in eleventh with ten points but are very much in the ascendency after back-to-back wins against FC Seoul and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Their last two outings have also seen them score winners in the final moments of the game. After Lee Woong-hee's dramatic winner in their 3-2 win over the capital club, a last-minute breakaway and calm finish through Yang Hyun-jun saw them claim a 1-0 victory over a struggling Jeonbuk side.
These two sides have met 14 times in their history across all competitions, with Suwon just edging the number of encounters by six to five. Last season, the two sides met on three occasions with the away side coming away with the three points each time. Their single clash in Suwon last year saw an enticing end-to-end affair that ended in a 4-3 win to Gangwon. Yang Hyun-jun scored twice along with Kim Dae-won and Lee Jeong-hyeop, while Jeong Jae-hee and Lee Seung-woo netted for the hosts with Lee also receiving a red card in the 70th minute.
Team of the Round
Daegu FC (Vs. Ulsan Hyundai, Fri. May 5th - 14:00 KST)
After a slow start to the season, the tide is beginning to turn at Daegu with results since their 3-0 humbling to FC Seoul being far more promising. After edging past Cheonan City in the FA Cup, back-to-back wins against Gwangju FC and a high-flying Daejeon Hana Citizen followed before salvaging a 1-1 draw against Suwon FC. They then went on to defeat Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the previous round to make it ten points picked up out of their last twelve.
In Ulsan Hyundai, they face a side also in resurgent form and looking to maintain their grip on the title race. Last season, two of the three meetings between the pair fell in the Horangi's favour with the match in Daegu ending in a draw. It was a similar story the season before that with Daegu winning both games at home 2-1. Ulsan have only tasted victory twice in their last seven visits to DGB Daegu Bank Park, having not won in their last four. With the Sky Blues showing signs of life once more, could this run extend to five?
Player of the Round
Cheon Seong-hoon, Incehon United (Vs. Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Fri. May 5th - 16:30 KST)
After honing his craft in the German Regionalliga for Augsburg's reserve side and Homburg, 22-year-old Cheon Seong-hoon made the decision to return to his native Korea, signing with Incheon United. His debut only came in the first half of April, but in four starts Cheon has picked up three goals including the second in Incheon's 2-1 away win over Pohang Steelers last weekend, bringing joint level with Gerson Fernandes, their highest scorer this season.
Cheon's close control was also on display to see as he carved open space for himself to score. Against a Suwon Samsung Bluewings side that has just two points in their first ten games, Cheon may feel he could have a prime opportunity to further his tally on Saturday evening in front of a bumper Children's Day crowd.
Elsewhere in K League 1 Round 11
FC Seoul kick-off the Children's Day weekend on Friday with an enticing fixture against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. The capital club has not won against the Green Warriors in their last nineteen meetings across all competitions, including both legs of last year's FA Cup Final, yet enter this weekend sitting high in second place while Jeonbuk's early season struggles continue down in 20th. If An Ik-soo's side are to put these demons behind them and show their title credentials, then Friday could prove the prime opportunity while raising even more doubts about Jeonbuk's campaign ahead.
Jeju United then start the proceedings on Saturday after a comprehensive victory last weekend against Daejeon, winning 3-0. In Round 11, they take on another high-flying side in Pohang Steelers who will be looking to bounce back after defeat last weekend.
Finally, the two promoted sides Gwangju FC and Daejeon Hana Citizen meet once more. Both have taken well to life in the top flight with a number of memorable performances and victories, sitting in sixth and fourth respectively. However, Gwangju had the upper hand over Daejeon last season, winning twice and drawing once and will be hoping they can repeat the feat once more to close the gap between the pair to one point.
K League 1 Table
K League 1 Round 11 Fixtures
Friday, May 5th, 2023
: FC Seoul Vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors - 14:00 KST
: Daegu FC Vs. Ulsan Hyundai - 14:00 KST
: Incheon United Vs. Suwon Samsung Bluewings - 16:30 KST
Saturday, May 6th, 2023
: Jeju United Vs. Pohang Steelers - 14:00 KST
: Suwon FC Vs. Gangwon FC - 16:30 KST
: Gwangju FC Vs. Daejeon Hana Citizen - 19:00 KST