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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Busan IPark FC


A quick, "better late than never" preview of today's table-topping 'Nakdong River Derby'. Busan will make the hour or so trip west to Changwon to face league leaders Gyeongnam FC at the Changwon Football Center. The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Gudeok in their first meeting earlier this season. Will we see another draw or will Busan be able to overhaul their local rivals to top the table?

Photo credit: Busan IPark homepage


Busan Team News

The biggest news for Busan is they will be without talisman Lee Jeong-hyeop. The striker picked up his third yellow card of the season last weekend against Anyang, meaning he will be sitting this one out. Brazilian forward Lukian will likely take up the starting number 9 spot. Lim Sang-hyub sat out the Anyang match, so he should be involved in this one. Coach Cho Jin-ho has frequently rotated players in and out when there are midweek matches, so other changes are possible. I'd expect that given the nature of this one (away to the league leaders), Cho will field a fairly strong XI. Kim Moon-hwan and Heo Beom-san will likely start in central midfield. Jung Seok-hwa will probably take up the right flank, but perhaps Park Jun-tae will take his spot after returning from a minor knock. Brazilian midfielder Romulo could also return to the midield if Cho is looking for more creativity. Lee Gyu-seong, while not favored, presents a more traditional central midfield option if Cho is looking for more solidity. Gu Sang-min started his first league match against Anyang, and it remains to be seen if he'll keep his spot or if Cho will rotate back to Kim Hyung-geum. The defense should be the regular four of Yasuda, Danny Morais, Cha Young-hwan, and Yu Ji-hun.

Possible starting XI for Busan

Gyeongnam "News"

"News" in quotes because I don't really track Gyeongnam, so I can't state much with any degree of certainty. The only thing I can spot is that forward Bruno should return to the side after serving his one-match ban for picking up three bookings. Otherwise, Gyeongnam will likely run out the same group they have been doing. Lee Bum-soo in goal, Ivan Herceg, Park Ji-su, Woo Ju-sung, and Jung Hyun-cheol in defense. A midield of Kim Do-yeop, Ahn Sung-nam, and maybe Choi Young-jun. Forwards? Bruno, Marcao, and possibly Jung Won-jin.

Prediction and Thoughts

Busan is on good form though, having picked up 13 points in their past five matches (4 wins, 1 draw). Gyeongnam has almost as good, with 11 points in their last five (3 wins, 2 draws) and they have yet to lose this season. It will probably be a close one. Recent matches between the two have been. But, I'll be optimistic and say a close 2-1 win for Busan to see them move top of the table.

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