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Preview: Busan IPark vs Seoul E-Land

K League 2 Preview: Busan IPark vs Seoul E-LandBusan IPark welcome Seoul E-Land to the Gudeok Stadium this Sunday afternoon in the K League 2. E-Land come into the game without defeat in their last four, while Busan have been blowing hot and cold of late. Both will be desperate for the points as they try to keep pace with the promotion pack.

Match: Busan IPark vs Seoul E-Land
Venue: Gudeok Stadium, Busan
Kickoff: Sunday 13th May, 2pm

Last Time Out

Busan IPark recovered from a defeat to Bucheon to win last weekend at Ansan Greeners. After a tight first half, Busan upped their game after the break and some tame defending from the Greeners allowed Busan to run away with the game. Tap-ins for Alemao Junior (no.60) and Kim Jin-gyu (no.23), followed by a close-range header from Jonathan Balotelli (no.89), put the game out of Ansan's reach. A late goal from Choi Ho-joo was merely a consolation for Ansan, but in truth Busan could and should have scored more in an impressive second half.

Seoul E-Land, meanwhile, have had a two week break; they did not play last week due to scheduling conflicts at the Olympic Stadium. Their last match also saw them defeat Ansan Greeners, scoring in the final minute to take all three points in a 2-1 victory. E-Land had initially fell a goal behind and were reduced to ten men before two Cho Jae-wan efforts turned the tie around.

Previous Meetings

If recent meetings between the teams are anything to go by, expect goals this weekend at the Gudeok. Last year Busan won three games from the four meetings (3-0, 2-1, 3-2), with the final game ending in a 2-2 draw. The sides played out the same result in March this year. Alemao Junior gave Busan the lead before second-half goals from Cho Chan-ho and Diego Bielkiewicz turned things around. Busan's veteran left-back Kim Chi-woo (no.7) levelled things up with twenty minutes left to deny the hosts victory.

Team News

Busan manager Choi Yoon-gyeom seems to have finally found a well-balanced midfield triumvirate in Romulo (no.10), Lee Jae-kwon (no.8) and Lee Gyu-seong (no.6). The trio have started two games together recently, and they ended in Busan's most convincing wins of the year so far (3-0 against Anyang, and 3-1 against Ansan).

All three are comfortable sitting or going forward, with Lee Jae-kwon especially adept at breaking up opposition attacks and dictating the pace of the game. Romulo, an ever-present so far in 2018, has a good eye for a pass and excellent set-piece delivery, while Lee Gyu-seong, now in his fourth year at the club, has continued his impressive development. Lee has a great range of passing and will always look to pass forwards instead of sideways. Unfortunately for Busan, the 24 year-old will leave the club at the end of the month to complete his military service with K1 club Sangju Sangmu.

While Choi Yoon-gyeom will likely continue with his rotation policy this weekend, I hope that he spares the midfield trio who have performed so impressively together recently.

The Adversary

A lot has happened over the last fortnight since Seoul E-Land's last game. The news broke on Tuesday that Venezuelan striker Daniel Febles has terminated his contract with the club and will leave Korea. Febles' reason for ending his time so soon is due to complications in his partner’s pregnancy. We wish him all the best in his future career path.

With that being said, Seoul E-Land will now only have Diego Bielkiewicz as their sole foreign player in the side. Bielkiewicz started last time around against Ansan Greeners, and will probably once again start upfront. A must for E-Land on Sunday, after his amazing performance from off the bench, will be number 14, Cho Jae-wan. The midfielder scored a brace and won the game for the side with the last kick of the game. A real prospect for the club, Cho is E-Land's top scorer with four goals in nine games.

One player who will not be in the line-up, however, is defender Kim Tae-eun. The 28 year-old was given his marching orders in the last game and will leave a gap in the right back position. This could mean a possible start again for Gam Han-sol, who has played on both sides recently.

The cards will be against Seoul on Sunday, an away game with a loss both upfront and in defence for E-Land. However, when Busan came up to Jamsil earlier in the season, they did manage to get a respectable 2-2 draw. Hopefully for E-Land they can carry their recent good form into this game and get at least a point against the home side.

By our Seoul E-Land columnist Michael Redmond

Who To Watch

Busan IPark have a few players starting to find the back of the net. Strikers Choi Seung-in (no.99), Alemao Junior and Jonathan Balotelli have all contributed goals in recent weeks and young midfielder Kim Jin-gyu also keeps chipping in (four in all competitions). This Sunday, then, E-Land will likely require a big game from veteran keeper Kim Young-kwang (aka Glory). The 34 year-old has 14 international caps to his name, went to two World Cups, and is still one of the best custodians in Korea.

Prediction

Seoul E-Land have frustrated Busan in their recent meetings, and defensive records tend to go out the window when these teams face off. Busan have been unpredictable in recent weeks, winning impressively one game only to look blunt and uninspired the next, while E-Land will be fresh after a break. I expect goals from both teams, but I think the home team will edge it.

Busan IPark 2-1 Seoul E-Land



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