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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa Vs Daejeon Citizen

Preview: Asan Mugunghwa Vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2 Round 12
After two wins on the spin Ko Jongsoo's Daejeon Citizen will make the short trip to fellow Chungcheong neighbours Asan Mugunghwa in K League 2 round 12 this Saturday night. Citizen sit in sixth and know that a win over Asan would really put them into the playoff picture. However, the police team have just one defeat in six and are currently occupying third place and just a point behind Bucheon 1995 in second. 
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Asan Mugunghwa notched up an important win over fellow promotion rivals Bucheon 1995 with a Ju Sejong penalty proving to be enough to seal the points for the Park Donghyuk's men. Ju Sejong, on loan from FC Seoul, found space on the edge of the area to test Bucheon goalkeeper Choi Cheolwon but it was actually defender Lim Donghyuk who made the save, flailing his hands out in an attept to stop the shot. Referee Park Jinho was given no alternative but to point to the spot and produce a yellow for Lim. Up Ju Sejong to coolly convert, sending the 'keeper the wrong way in the process. The result extended Asan's run of just one defeat in six.

Daejeon Citizen, meanwhile, piled the misery on FC Anyang by edging past the Violets in a 3-2 home win, making it two victories in a row for the Purples. Uzbek midfielder Shohruh Gadeov, who is proving to be a real coup for Daejeon, put the hosts ahead on 29 minutes with an well-taken volley following hard work by Aurelian Chițu and a smart assist from Park Inhyeok. Then, on the stroke of half time, Chițu doubled Citizen's advantage with a wonderfully struck strike from the edge of the area that flew into the top corner.

Right after the restart Anyang pulled a goal back through Alex, thanks to a gift of a backpass from vice captain Ahn Sanghyeon who put it on a plate for Brazilian forward Alex who, not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, duly converted from inside the area. The former Seoul E-and man bagged his and Anyang's second from the spot in added time but proved to be too little too late for Ko Jeongwoon's men.

Previous Meetings

In April these two sides met at Purple Arena in a game which sparked a heated exchange from Daejeon Citizen CEO Kim Ho and the officials. The former manager was incensed by a refereeing decision which, he believed, attributed to Asan taking all three points. The game finished 2-1 with a spot kick from Kim Mingyun breaking the deadlock with 22 minutes on the clock. Kim Seungseop equalised for Daejeon with a thumping header 10 minutes later, his first for the club and in professional football, to see score level at the break.

However, in the second half, and despite it appearing as though Citizen had done enough to earn a point, right back Kim Yesong was dispossessed by Cho Seongjun who was perhaps lucky not to have conceded a free kick after it appeared as though the on-loan Gwangju man had impeded Kim Yesong as the Purples' full back steadied himself to clear. Undeterred, Cho played a wicked ball into the far post where Heo Beomsan, on as a substitute, found the back of the net with a well-placed header.

Last season's most recent meeting at Yisunsin Stadium in September, Asan ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Kim Dongcheol, on-loan Citizen striker Han Euikwon, and Kim Bukwan for the police team, Lee Hoseok for Citizen.

When Daejeon and Asan met in 2017, Mugunghwa's debut season as the newly reallocated police team, each side picked up a victory each, the first two meetings both finished 1-1.

Team News

There are no suspensions or fresh injury concerns for Daejeon although skipper Oh Jangeun is still likely to be sidelined. The former Suwon Bluewings midfielder hasn't featured since the 1-0 away win over Gwangju in April. Forward Aurelian Chițu, centre half Yun Junseong, defensive midfielder Ahn Sanghyeon and midfielder Park Suchang are all one more caution away from a one-match ban.

For Asan, Hwang Inbeom could feature against his parent club for the second time having started the 2-1 win at Daejeon World Cup Stadium. Han Euikwon could also feature, the forward is in his final year of military service and is on loan from Daejeon.

Asan have no suspensions to concern themselves with although forward Kim Hyun, defender Lee Jooyong, and midfielders Ju Sejong and Ko Muyeol all have two yellows for the season, one more would result in a one-game suspension.

The Adversary

As perhaps was expected, Asan Mugunghwa are enjoying a solid start to the season - currently sitting in third place. With a midfield that can boast of Ju Sejong, Lee Myeongju and Hwang Inbeom then there's no wonder that the police side are on course for another tilt at the playoffs.

Formation wise, Asan have been set up with a back four for 10 of their previous 11 games this season, the only exception being the 1-0 away win over Bucheon for which manager Park Donghyuk opted for a 3-4-3.

With a back four, Asan have predominately taken to the field with 4-1-2-3 (4-3-3) or 4-2-3-1 formations, sometimes opting for two holding midfielders or one. The police team have just one defeat at home this year from five fixtures, a 2-1 reverse against Gwangju in round nine.

Against teams below them in the table, Asan have been set up in 4-1-2-3 (4-3-3) three times picking up two wins and a draw, a 4-4-2 in a 1-1 draw at home to Anyang, and the aforementioned 2-1 defeat to Gwangju.

For the reverse fixture, Asan beat the Purples 2-1 with a 4-2-3-1 formation. However, at home, Coach Park may be tempted to opt for a similar set up with two holding midfielders, given Citizen's recent revival. Hwang Inbeom and Ju Sejong may get the not to shield the back four, Myeongju may be tasked with playing as the more advanced midfielder, behind Ko Muyeol up front as per the 3-0 win over Anyang in round 10.

Possible Asan Mugunghwa Starting XI


Who To Watch

Hwang Inbeom raised eyebrows by opting to begin his military service this early into his career, joining Asan over the winter from Daejeon. The Daejeon-native is just 21-years-old but has aspirations of playing in Europe which may be a factor in his decision. Given how poor the Purples had been in the last couple of seasons, rumoured moves to Benfica and an unnamed Bundesliga faded away and he may have felt as though his chances of playing on a grander stage were slipping away.

One to Watch: Hwang Inbeom Asan Mugunghwa vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2 Round 12
Hwang Inbeom (centre) in action for Asan against Daejeon
Playing in a winning team week in week out, and alongside the likes of Lee Myeongju and Ju Sejong, can only be good for Hwang Inbeom's career and it will be interesting to see how the youngster does in a team that has genuine promotion aspirations.

Hwang has played in a couple of different roles for Mugunghwa this term, either as a holding midfielder along side FC Seoul's Ju Sejong or in the centre of midfield with either former K League Young Player of the Year Ko Muyeol or the experienced Lee Myeongju.

Prediction

Citizen have only managed to keep two cleansheets thus far in 2018, and so I can't foresee the Purples being able to keep Asan Mugunghwa at bay come Saturday evening. However, after two wins on the spin, Ko Jongsoo's men will be full of confidence and may feel as though a result at Yisunsin Stadium is not wholly unrealistic, despite the Asan's lofty league position.

Asan Mugunghwa 2-1 Daejeon Citizen




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