AFC Champions League: Will Jeonbuk pull off miracle against Suwon?

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan looks ahead to what can be expected from the second leg of the quarter-finals as the AFC Champions League returns this week.

By Wednesday evening, the contenders for the AFC Champions League crown will be down to four: two from the East and two from the West.

Following the international break, the ACL gets back underway with the second legs of the quarter-finals and there is still plenty to play for.

In our fourth and final preview, FOX Sports Asia assesses if Korea Republic’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors have any chance of overturning a huge deficit against compatriots Suwon Samsung Bluewings.

SUWON SAMSUNG BLUEWINGS v JEONBUK HYUNDAI MOTORS (Wednesday, September 19)

The story so far: Just a day after the abrupt departure of coach Seo Jung-won, and with the odds stacked firmly against them, Suwon Samsung Bluewings pulled off a quite remarkable result to beat reigning K League 1 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-0 at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

Even the hugest cynics would find it difficult to deny that it should be Suwon who will be advancing to the semis, but – if Jeonbuk are truly worthy title contenders – then they must at least show the belief that they can still turn this one around.

The departure of Lee Jae-sung to German second-tier outfit Holstein Kiel has certainly robbed Jeonbuk of their playmaker-in-chief, but the likes of Kim Shin-wook, Ricardo Lopes, Adriano and Lee Seung-gi should still be causing the Bluewings a lot more problems than they did in the first leg.

RECENT FORM

Incheon United 0-0 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (K League 1)
Jeju United 0-0 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (K League 1)
Daegu FC 4-2 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (K League 1)
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 0-3 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (AFC Champions League)
Suwon Samsung Bluewings 1-0 Gyeongnam FC (K League 1)

 

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Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4-0 Jeju United (K League 1)
Gyeongnam FC 0-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (K League 1)
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 0-3 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (AFC Champions League)
Sangju Sangmu 2-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (K League 1)
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 Daegu FC (K League 1)

Player to watch: Kim Shin-wook (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Jeonbuk will need Kim to be at his best on Wednesday.

He may not be everyone’s cup of tea but, with his experience, strength and aerial ability, Kim Shin-wook should be winning matches for Jeonbuk on a regular basis, even at continental level.

The two-time ACL winner has completely nullified in the previous encounter while it was the target man at the other end of the pitch – 37-year-old Dejan Damjanovic – who showed him how it was done with a match-winning brace.

Even if it ultimately may not be enough to get his team over the line, Kim should be extremely determined to produce a better display on Wednesday.

Gabriel Tan’s prediction: “A three-goal advantage is significant but Suwon can be pretty inconsistent, and will have to be careful not to allow any complacency to creep in.

“As the current big boys in K League 1, Jeonbuk will also be desperate to salvage some pride. I think they will win 2-1, which would still see the Bluewings advance 4-2 on aggregate.”

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