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Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Ansan Greeners

The visit of Ansan Greeners to Jamsil will be Seoul E-Land’s fifth home game in a row, sixth if you want to count their poor showing in the FA Cup back in March. The run of home games brings a groundhog day feel to the stadium, and attendances are really starting to dwindle. However, this week E-Land welcome an Ansan Greeners side who have completely turned expectations on their heads so far this year by sitting one point behind Seongnam at the top of the league. The constant level of good performances from the Green Wolves is a complete flip of last year's poor showing.
(Image via K League)

Last Time Out

Last week Seoul E-Land took on Asan Mugunghwa with the game ending in a stalemate. It was apparent that no team had any real desire to put the ball into the back of the net, and by all accounts it was a tough game to watch. E-Land looked slightly more threatening in the second half but, once again, E-Land managed to draw against a team in the top end of the table. The draw makes it their fourth out of eight games and is perhaps an indication of re-occurrence of last year is on the cards.
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A team not repeating their lacklustre 2017 season though is Ansan Greeners. Ansan’s opening weekend loss to Asan Mugunghwa has been their only defeat so far this year. Their game on the weekend was an emphatic 3-1 win against the team that many have tipped to be promoted, Bucheon 1995. Bucheon drew first blood in the fixture, scoring in the 10th minute through Lee Kwang-jae. Bucheon then held on until halftime but in the second half Ansan replied almost instantly with Seku Conneh drawing the teams level right after kick off. The goal was shortly followed by the Greener’s taking the lead four minutes later. Choi Ho-joo putting the Greeners ahead, and his first of two for the afternoon -  Ho-joo’s second came in the 70th minute and put the game to bed. Ansan looked comfortable and an picked up another impressive win to move them level on points with Bucheon and one behind league leaders Seongnam.

Previous Meetings

Only two points separated these two teams last year but their first two encounters of last season went in Seoul’s favour with the first ending in a 1-0 E-Land win in Jamsil. A strike in the 67th minute from Kim Min-gyu was all it took to give the Leopards the win. The next result was a 2-1 away win at the Wa. The game was deadlocked at 1-1 heading into the latter stages of the match before Atsuki Wada, scored a 90th-minute winner for E-Land, It was a close game, but Seoul took the spoils.

The last two games were a bit more even, though. A goal fest came in late July, with a 3-3 draw which saw Seoul go 2-0 down then pull it back to 3-2, but somewhat typical E-land style, they conceded in the 70th minute to see the spoils a shared. Their last game was a 1-1 draw, E-Land went ahead in the first half before Ansan levelled in the second. It must be said, Seoul have statistically been the most successful head-to-head but Ansan are a completely different team this season.

Team News

Seoul E-Land will once again be able welcome Diego Bielkiewicz back into the side after the Argentine made his return during the 0-0 draw against Asan. The forward had missed a few weeks out through injury and so having Bielkiewicz return to boost In Chang-soo's attack will be defiantly a a major plus for E-Land. Winger Choi Oh-back is suspended having picked up a third caution of the campaign last week and so Daniel Febles, who has looked promising so far this year yet did not feature in the draw with Asan last time out, could deputise. E-Land gave Kim Chang-wook his first start of the season against Asan and there was also the debut of Ahn Dong-hyuk, since being transferred from Anyang.

Ansan Greeners have looked a more complete side so far this year, out of the eight games played so far, they have had seven different scorers. They have stand out players such a Seku Conneh and Choi Ho-joo, but it seems to have been a complete team effort so far in the a whole. Ansan with no doubt, field the partnership of Park Jun-hee and Lee In-jae for the game, the defensive pair have played every minute so far in Ansan’s campaign. The Greener’s have been a real force this year, and have shown strength in both defence and attack.

Prediction

The two sides sit completely opposite to one another in the table when they meet on Sunday; Ansan Greeners are one place from the top, whereas Seoul E-Land are one place from the bottom. If E-Land needs any motivation for the game, it can be that they have actually a respectable record so far against who may be seem deemed as top teams in the league.

It will be interesting to see if Seoul E-Land can really use the momentum they are starting to build now, it has been three games now without a defeat, although only one was a win. Also, Ansan have been beaten this year, so the league knows they are not invincible. I could take an optimist approach to the game, as I normally do, for E-Land, but after reports of their dull 0-0 last week, and Ansan pulling off some very good wins, an away victory for the Greeners is perhaps the most likely outcome.

Seoul E-Land 1-3 Ansan Greeners


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