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playoffs

Daejeon vs Busan: Preview

Busan heads north to Daejeon for the second match of the split season. While this one may not seem important at first glance, nothing could be further from the truth. A Busan win and it confirms the bottom of the table, Daejeon down to Challenge and Busan for the playoff. A Daejeon win, and suddenly that "comfortable" gap to 12th is only five points. Tricky for Daejeon to overcome that in three matches, but it's still a little nervy for Busan.

screenshot courtesy of busanipark.com
Who: Daejeon Citizen FC vs Busan IPark FC
When: Saturday, October 24, 2pm KST
Where: Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Daejeon, South Korea
TV/Stream: Naver, Daum, Afreeca
 Why: K League Classic Round 35

Busan team news

Very little has come out of the Busan camp since the 1-0 loss to Gwangju last weekend. Presumably new boss Choi Young-joon continues to re-shape the team into his liking. The potential big news is that Lee Jeong-hyeob may be fit enough for the bench for this one. In an interview with Footballist, Lee told the website that his injury is fully healed and he is working on his fitness levels. Lee felt that he would be ready for this match, so we shall see if the former national team forward is ready to save Busan's bacon.
Otherwise, there would seem to be little to discuss. Choi didn't make many changes from the starting lineup used by his predecessor, other than to reinstate Lee Bum-young in goal ahead of Lee Chang-geun. Will that continue this week? Possibly, but now that Choi has had more time to assess Lee Chang-geun himself (Lee was away with the Olympic team before), he may decide to switch back. Personally, neither Lee has distinguished themselves from the other, but the elder Lee does have more experience which may be preferable in this difficult situation. 

Daejeon team news

Similarly there is little coming out of the Daejeon camp. I can't say to really follow Daejeon a whole lot, so I won't go too much into them (you can read Paul Neat's preview from a Daejeon perspective here). Daejeon somehow managed to get a win past Jeonnam last weekend to close the gap to eight points. On paper an impressive win, but Jeonnam have nothing to play for, and most are likely already on the beach.

Does this one matter?

Simply, yes. While neither side can escape the relegation spots, one will go to the playoffs and one will go straight down. That in and of it self makes this one important. Busan can settle that with a win, and realistically a draw would suffice as well. Beyond that there is the mental state of Busan. Both Choi Young-joon and Lee Jeong-hyeob both spoke about the mentality at length in recent interviews. Both said the mood was improving, but a loss to bottom side Daejeon would certainly damper that. Factor in the real possibility that Busan could lose the last three games to Ulsan, Incheon, and Jeonnam, and that's a potentially fatal blow to the already fragile (and weak) Busan psyche.

A win on the other hand could be just what the team needs. A reminder that this side does have some talent and can win games. If nothing else a good performance (plus result) could be the spark they need just to get over the hump. There's a lot of negativity swirling around the club now, so a positive note might be the ticket for Choi to latch onto and use to boast the players' mood.

승리하라 부산!

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