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Preview: Seoul E-Land VS Busan IPark

Last week saw the start of the newly re-branded K League 2 season kick off. E-Land began their campaign with a tough opening game away to Suwon FC. The home team clinched a 1-0 victory against E-Land, in what could be the start to a long season once again for the Leopards. This week will see In Chang-soo's side face theoretically tougher opposition, Busan I'ark. Will E-Land show that they were just late off the mark for the 2018 season? Or will it be two defeats in two for the capital's second club?
(image via Facebook.com/SeoulEland)

Last Time Out

As mentioned above, E-Land’s first game last week was away from home in Suwon for which I travelled down in the hope for an entertaining game. Suwon FC seems to be making a very strong push to climb out of the division this year, with their bright new signings, and very affordable season ticket pricing. E-Land went into the game with the hope that they can prove to their fans and fellow teams in the division that hope is not lost on their side. They also are looking to prove that they were not just a one-season wonder from their inaugural year. Suwon FC saw a comfortable and fair 1-0 win against E-Land.

The Leopards struggled with the fantastic crossing from Alex Lima and Alex Bruno, and constant pressure from the Suwon side. I was rather impressed with the determination from defender, Yoo Ji-hoon, who just never gave up in putting a foot in and making a vital challenges. Also, Glory was once again, proving his role as captain and leader, keeping the game to just the one goal between the sticks. A second-half missed penalty from Suwon kept the game at just the one goal. E-Land did have A few chances in the second half, most notably, Ko Cha-won with his one on one attempt bouncing off the post. Choi Oh-baek also tried pushing the ball down the right wing to create chances and get the side back level.

Busan IPark faired slightly better in their first game of the season; only a 92nd-minute penalty for Seongnam denied them of the full three points. The 2017 FA Cup runners-up will hope to push for another playoff position once again this time around. Busan drew first blood in their encounter last week; Kim Jin-gyu scored an injury time goal in the first half. The game also saw VAR come into play once again. After replaying the challenge made by Choi Seung-in, the striker was shown a straight red in the 13th minute. Seongnam is a credible side in the K League 2 who are also looking to make strides this season, but with such a late goal denying Busan a win it perhaps looks as if it's two points were lost, rather than a point gained.

Previous Meetings

Last season’s meetings between the two sides, saw the majority of the results in favour of Busan IPark. Four wins for Busan, and one draw at Jamsil Stadium saw E-Land fail to register a single win against the side. Their last encounter was a 2-2 draw at Jamsil in late September. A rather frustrating game defensively for E-Land, saw a 2-0 first-half lead, cancelled out by goals from Park Joon-tae and Ko Kyung-min. The draw came in a very bad run of games for E-Land but a goal from Choi Chi-won and a wonder strike from Joo Han-sung, saw them temporarily forget their dwindling form.

The previous four encounters before that evening in Jamsil saw Busan IPark win the ties, with the exception of their 3-0 drumming at the start of last year. The two sides have actually been very close head to head. Busan clinched a 2-1 victory back in May last year against E-Land, with a 96th-minute winner being the decider. Furthermore, a 3-2 win for Busan in July, despite E-Land had themselves 2-1 up at one point during the game. If E-Land cannot win this game comfortably, then they will wish to finally have some luck on their side to get a result in their favoor.

Team News

Seoul E-Land’s first game of the season will hopefully see the debut of Daniel Febles into the side. Febles was left out of the game at Suwon, which saw a start for Diego Bielkiewicz. The new number nine will hopefully also see his home debut on Sunday. Bielkiewicz had a respectable debut against Suwon, he looked promising in holding the ball and attempting to push for an attack and will likely be leading the side in another 4-3-3 formation.

E-Land will probably also involve, ex- FC Seoul man, Cho Chan-ho. The experienced winger made an appearance in the second half last week and showed some promise. E-Land will also undoubtedly keep Yoo Ji-hoon in the side. The 29-year-old was very composed and showed his experience on Sunday against Suwon’s impressive long balls. Captain Glory is a certainty and fan favourite Choi Oh-baek will be on the wing.

Prediction

Seoul E-Land can look at Sunday as a clean slate for the side, their first home game of the season and some positives can be taken from their defeat at Suwon. They do face a Busan side who just fell short last season, so will have even greater determination to make it to the top flight. I predict to see a lot of goals, as the last couple of encounters between the sides have shown that they are both leaky in defense. I am not overly confident for E-Land, but I can at least be optimistic.

Seoul E-Land 2-2 Busan I'Park



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