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2023 Hana 1Q K League 1 Round 3 Preview

league 2023.03.09   I   hits 725

There are plenty of intriguing match-ups coming up this weekend as the 2023 Hana 1Q K League 1 season reaches Round 3. There's the first Suwon Derby of the campaign, FC Seoul and Ulsan Hyundai clash in the capital with both teams still unbeaten, while early league leaders Pohang Steelers are away to a Daejeon Hana Citizen side that has scored five goals so far - the same number as the Steelers.

Alternative Match of the Round

FC Seoul vs Ulsan Hyundai, Sun. 12th March - 14:00

Two teams that begun the new season with two wins from two, FC Seoul and Ulsan Hyundai, meet this Sunday in what is an early-season blockbuster. FC Seoul began with a 2-1 win over Incheon United in Round 1 before picking up a 2-0 win away to Gwangju FC last time out. Ulsan, meanwhile, came from behind to beat Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the official K League 1 curtain-raiser, before easing past Gangwon FC 1-0 last weekend. Both, then, will be keen to keep their unbeaten records intact at Seoul World Cup Stadium this weekend.

For Ulsan, Um Won-sang bagged in both of those games while Gustav Ludwigson scored his first for the Horangi in the win over Jeonbuk. FC Seoul have had four different goal scorers, including two defenders in Kim Ju-sung and Osmar, in addition to new winger Lim Sang-hyub and energetic striker Park Dong-jin. 

Ulsan have dispatched the fourth-fewest shots on target so far this term with seven while Seoul are joint-third with 10. Seoul are also joint third for shots from outside the box with nine whereas Ulsan are 11th in this regard with just five, lending some indication as to how the two teams might approach this Sunday's encounter. 

The head-to-head record over the last few seasons is stacked in Ulsan's favour with the Horangi unbeaten in their last 15 meetings with the capital club. Seoul's last win over Ulsan dates back to October 2017, a 3-0 win at Sangam thanks to goals from Osmar, Lee Myung-joo, and Dejan.

Watch on TV.KLeague.com.

Team of the Round

Pohang Steelers (vs. Daejeon Hana Citizen)

Top-of-the-table Pohang Steelers are back on the road this Saturday with a first trip to Daejeon World Cup Stadium since September 2015 - Kim Seung-dae got the only goal of the game in a 1-0 Steelers win. Pohang's five goals so far this term is the joint-most; Daejeon are the only other team to have found the back of the net five times in 2023. The similarities don't end there either as both have shipped three goals so far. 

However, Pohang excel in the number of passes they make and have racked up the most in the division so far with 1,184 - no other team has managed more than 900. The Steelers are third for shots on target with 10 with striker Lee Ho-jae joint-third for shots on target with three while winger Jeong Jae-hee's two goals are the joint-most in the division so far. The Steelers haven't tasted defeat to Daejeon since April 2010 when a Ko Chang-hyeon strike in the 79th minute sealed a 1-0 win for the Purples. In Daejeon, meanwhile, the unbeaten run stretches back to August 2007.

Player of the Round

Maxwell Acosty, Suwon Samsung Bluewings (vs. Suwon FC)

Suwon Samsung Bluewings forward Maxwell Acosty will get his first taste of the Suwon Derby this Saturday. Acosty scored his first goal for the Bluewings last Sunday against Jeonbuk, sending the ball into the top corner from outside the box on the hour mark to seal the Bluewings' first point of the season. An added bonus was that it was past his former FC Anyang teammate Jeong Min-ki who also made the jump up to K League 1 during the winter window. 

But it wasn't just Jeong who Acosty has kept busy so far this term as he is joint-second for shots on target after two rounds with three and joint-second overall for shots dispatched with seven - only Kim Bo-seop and Cesinha have had more attempts at goal. But the former FC Anyang man is top when it comes to key passes having made seven already. Acosty has had to come off the bench so far with Bluewings boss Lee Byung-keun trying to navigate his team through the U22 rule but the equaliser last Sunday might just be enough to ensure a starting berth in the derby this weekend

Elsewhere in K League 1 Round 3

Meanwhile, Gangwon FC versus Daegu FC is a match-up between two teams looking for their first wins of the season. Gangwon are yet to score this season and so will be looking to rectify that against a Daegu side that has conceded four goals in two games.

Incheon United versus Jeju United is another contest between two teams looking to get off the mark in 2023. Hosts Incheon United will take confidence in the three goals they put past Daejeon last time out but Jeju's tight defense - with just one goal conceded so far - could prove a tough nut to crack. The match will also see Gerso Fernandes, now of Incheon, take on his former employers. 

Finally, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors versus Gwangju FC - a Honam derby of sorts - sees Kim Sang-sik's side host newly-promoted Gwangu. One of these teams is looking for a second win of the campaign and it's not the nine-time K League champions Jeonbuk. Gwangju, though, will be without starlet Eom Ji-sung through suspension following his sending-off last time out.

K League 1 Table


Eom Ji-sung, Gwangju FC (One match)
Lee Seung-woo, Suwon FC (Two matches)
Kim Dong-min, Incheon United (Two matches)

K League 1 Round 3 Fixtures

Saturday 11th March

#DHFCvPOH: Daejeon Hana Citizen (4th) vs Pohang Steelers (1st) - 14:00 
#SuwonDerby: Suwon FC (10th) vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings (11th) - 14:00 
#GANvDAE: Gangwon FC (12th) vs Daegu FC (8th) - 16:30 

Sunday 12th March

#SEOvULS: FC Seoul (2nd) vs Ulsan Hyundai (3rd) - 14:00 
#INCvJEJ: Incheon United (7th) vs Jeju United (6th) - 16:30 
#JEOvGWA: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (9th) vs Gwangju FC (5th) - 16:30 

Where to Watch

Follow all the action LIVE, for FREE and in HD on TV.KLeague.com.