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FA Cup Preview: Hwaseong v Seoul E-Land

Wednesday night sees the start of the FA Cup for most K-League Challenge sides and E-Land will be hitting the road down to Hwaseong to start off their campaign. It's a fairly intriguing tie and it'll be interesting to see just how the K3 side fare in this one - the likelihood is that it won't be an easy match for E-Land.

It might come as a surprise to some to find out that Hwaseong actually made it further in the Cup than E-Land did last season. They were only eliminated in the last 16 by a 90th minute strike by FC Seoul's Yun Ju-tae in a 2-1 defeat to the eventual cup winners. I was at that match and Hwaseong certainly gave a good account of themselves and had the watching FC Seoul fans worried for large parts of the match. FC Seoul had rotated a few of their key players but it was still a strong side that they put out and Hwaseong went toe-to-toe with them for ninety minutes.

Hwaseong gave FC Seoul a bit of a scare in the last 16 in 2015 - they're no mugs!
Going further back to 2014 they gave Suwon FC a pretty tough game as well finally succumbing 4-3 to the K-League side. We can safely assume that Hwaseong are no mugs then, although their form in 2016 has been fairly terrible. Normally one of the leading lights of the K3, this season they've stuttered slightly starting their campaign with two defeats before a 6-0 win against Uijeongbu and then a draw with Icheon.

E-Land's first foray into the Cup came to an end against Ulsan Hyundai after a fairly epic penalty shoot-out at the Munsu WC Stadium. Glory was in amazing form that day against his old club even stepping up to take the first penalty of the shoot-out and scoring. Going out was pretty unfortunate given the performance.

Of course, Hwaseong will be a different kettle of fish and these are the kinds of fixtures that can often trip-up the larger sides. If anything, it seems that E-Land have done better when less was expected of them this season and it's the 'easier' sides that have caused them problems. It could be that the tactics are better suited to taking on teams that are more open and less defensive but the suspicion remains that the side have a tendency to take their foot off the gas at times. I believe the game is being played at the practice pitch rather than the cavernous main Hwaseong stadium which should help the atmosphere a bit but the likelihood is that the team will have to motivate themselves for this one.

The auxiliary pitch at Hwaseong might not be as salubrious as the main stadium but it's a reasonable enough little facility and probably more appropriately sized for Wednesday night's match.
Facing a lower league side should in theory give Martin Rennie the chance to use some of his squad players and maybe experiment slightly with tactics although he can't go overboard in that respect. I'd like to see striker Cho Woo-jin given a chance in this one as he banged in the goals on loan in the N-League last season but is struggling to dislodge any of the first choice front men in the E-Land side. Ahn Tae-hyun is another one I'd like to see given a start.

There's a few players we have yet to see this season and it might be the chance to give some game time to one or two of Choi Chi-won, Kim Jun-tae, Kim Jae-yeon or Shin Il-soo in the midfield. Other possibilities would be Yang Ki-hoon or Cho Hyang-ki coming into defence but I don't really expect more than 3 or 4 changes from the team on Saturday. Personally I'd probably plump for a 4-3-3 with Glory, Kim Tae-eun, Mitchell, Yang Ki-hoon, Shin Il-Soo, Choi Chi-won, Kim Jae-sung, Belusso, Cho Woo-jin and Ahn Tae-hyun.

Prediction: I don't expect this to be a walk-over by any means but I do expect E-Land to come out the winners in the end. If Rennie goes with his best eleven then I predict it will be 2-0 if he decides to change a few faces around then it will be a bit closer, maybe 2-1.

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