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Writers' Chat: Daejeon Citizen Vs Ansan Greeners

The final day of the K League Challenge season is upon is this Sunday after what has been a largely forgettable season for both Daejeon Citizen and Ansan Greeners. Whilst the Purples failed in their attempts to build on last season's 7th place finish and mount a push for the playoffs, Ansan Greeners' debut season ends with the Green Wolves slogging it out at the bottom with Daejeon. Ahead of Sunday's match up, I sat down with Ansan Greeners columnist Mike Brandon to talk about what's gone wrong and what the future may hold for both these teams with a writers' chat.

(Picture credit: Ansan Greeners Facebook)

from soccerway.com

Mike Asks, Paul Answers

Daejeon where 6th in the now Classic a decade ago. Is this season the end of a long road of decline?

I can only hope that, having finished bottom of the K League Challenge, that things can only get better from here on in. Daejeon won't be in the Challenge next year on merit, they are there simply because the pyramid hasn't opened up yet and there is no where else to go. Memories of finishing in the top half of the split in the K League Classic will seem like a lifetime ago for most Citizen supporters and even the notion of just getting back into the top tier seems far-fetched. What happens next season, and in the build up to next season, is crucial for Daejeon Citizen. Since the departure of the late Cho Jinho, Daejeon's hierarchy have failed to appoint a manager who knows how to get the best of a talented group of players.

If you could give the Ansan board one message to learn from, what would it be going forward?

My message would be to do what ever it takes to keep hold of Raul and indeed the best players. Ansan haven't had a great season but if the vision of progressing and challenging for promotion is sold to the key players, the Greeners could have a strong 2018. After having a bad season, keeping hold of the key names sends a message. Obviously, money will always be a factor but players can be seduced by ambition.  Also, stick with the manager. Daejeon have had too much upheaval brought about by changing the manager too often. Give Lee Heungsil time to get things right which, if he is backed in the transfer market, may come sooner rather than later. One final thing would be to give the scout who recommended Raul another plane ticket to South America to see if another gem like the potent Uruguayan can be unearthed.

How about Daejeon? Any farewells in this game?

Hwang Inbeom will definitely be leaving, he is due to begin his military service and play for Asan Mugunghwa next year. Interestingly, Hwang is opting to fulfil his military obligations much earlier than most as, at 21 years of age, he will certainly be one of the younger players in the squad. There will be a handful of players out of contract too, as is par for the course in the Challenge with short term contracts being somewhat the norm. I'd be very surprised to see Cristian Danalache in a Citizen shirt ever again, rumour has it that he had returned to China to do his coaching badges which explains his prolonged absence from the team. At 36 years of age, clearly his playing days are coming to an end.

Looking in at us, if you could poach one player from Ansan other than Raul, who would it be?

Yoo Yeonseung, or how he was known when he played for Daejeon, Yoo Seungki. He left Citizen in 2015 despite having a good season for the Purples. He often played out of position at left full back, perhaps because he had the ability to get crosses in from deep, but really he is better suited in midfield. I was a little annoyed to see him leave and would be very happy to take him back to Purple Arena. Citizen have lacked quality in terms of trying to supply the strikers, not being able to get the best out of Cristian Danalache is testament to that, and so players like Yoo who can offer different types of passes would be someone that I am sure a lot of Citizen fans would be happy to see return.

Predictions for Sunday?

Given how the season has gone I can't really be helped in feeling rather pessimistic. However, Daejeon haven't beaten Ansan this year and so a win for the Purples is overdue.

Daejeon Citizen 1-0 Ansan Greeners.

Paul Asks, Mike Answers

Whilst it has been Ansan Greeners' debut season, sitting second bottom it's not exactly been one to remember. What positives can you take heading into next year?

Of course, coming off the back of a title winning team in Mugunghwa last season, it was always going to be a different. While it is somewhat reminiscent of the old Hallelujah days in terms of league position, there has also been the rekindling of the bond between team and supporters. These players are now ours to get behind again, and with the increase in crowd sizes, and the appearance of the Ultras groups out of nowhere, Ansan have become a lot more interesting to watch. I'd say they are the main positives, after all, if it was quality football and titles I was after, I wouldn't be following a second tier Korean side!

How did the season pan out compared to how you expected?

In terms of form, it has been very inconsistent which has been a little bit frustrating. We have also averaged only one goal per game so it hasn't been much of a spectacle either. But look, expectations have to be realistic. Ansan fans have wanted a citizen team for years now, and we always knew that would come at a price. But there are good models out there to follow. Our rivals Anyang are a good example, they have slowly built up their standing in the league and look like a team that just need that little bit of a spark one season to be challenging for the play-offs. Bucheon are perhaps the peak example. On the other hand, we need to look at the Daejeon situation and take lessons from that too. Getting the team up and running, and not being the whipping boys, that's as good as we could have hoped this year.

Raul is up there with the leading scorers in the league and has caused many teams problems over the course of the season, can you keep hold of him?

Raul has been our shining light. Without him we would be rock bottom, given he has accounted for 40% of our league goals this season. Will we be able to keep hold of him? I hope he has seen how integral he has been to getting the Ansan project up and running this year, and that he has more pages to write into the Ansan script, (even though the Wa~ Stadium museum has been known to fabricate football history... but that's another story!). He will also be turning 31 at the start of the next K League season, so if a big offer comes in, he might see it as his last chance, but I doubt he'd get the pitch time he does here. I short, staying at Ansan is in his best interests (I hope he sees this!)

Kim Byungsuk is no stranger to Daejeon Citizen fans, how has he performed since joining earlier this year?

He hasn't featured a lot this year but he was in the starting line-up on Sunday. Like much of the team, not much to write out about, but it would be nice to see him send a love letter to Daejeon fans, written on the ball and sent to the back of the net!

What can we expect from the Greeners come Sunday? How do you think they'll set up?

We played fairly rigidly in solid banks last time out against E-land, and it worked. However I think this will be an attacking line up this week. Nasimov has disappointed, but I think he will get at least a last hurrah in this game, hopefully book-ending his season with the winner! Up front with Raul, and possibly Lee Min-woo to end the season in an entertaining manner. We could of course finish 8th if E-Land lose at home to Bucheon and we take the three points here.

from soccerway.com

Predictions for Sunday?

I think we might just come away from this with a 2-1 win:

Daejeon Citizen 1-2 Ansan Greeners

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