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Preview: Busan IPark vs Daejeon Citizen

Busan IPark host Daejeon Citizen in the first game back after the K League 2 summer break. A win would bring Daejeon into the mix for the playoff places, but Busan are on a seven game unbeaten run and will have other ideas on their return to Asiad, their World Cup stadium and former home.
(image via K League)

Overview

Match: Busan IPark vs Daejeon Citizen
When: Sunday 1st July, 7pm
Where: Asiad World Cup Stadium, Busan

Last Time Out 

Busan IPark clocked out for summer with a vital 1-0 away win at Seongnam. In a tight game of few chances, Kim Jin-gyu impressed for Busan and was denied by Seongnam keeper Kim Geun-bae, while Eder had Seongnam's best chance, a low effort that was kept out by Koo Sang-min. The winner was eventually scored by striker Kim Hyun-sung in the 81st minute with a deflected effort from outside the box.

FC Seongnam vs Busan IPark highlights: here

Daejeon, meanwhile, signed off the first half of the season with an impressive 2-0 away win over promotion-chasing Bucheon 1995. In the pouring rain in west Gyeonggi Province, Park In-hyeok bagged a brace to double his goal tally for the season and ensure that the Purples still have the playoffs in sight.

Bucheon 1995 vs Daejeon Citizen highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Busan edged out Daejeon in their only previous meeting so far this season, with Lee Dong-jun scoring the early winner following a defensive mistake. Daejeon had goalkeeper Kim Jin-young sent off for bringing down the same player after 35 minutes, and with 10 men the home side rarely looked like getting back into the game.

In 2017, Busan took home the lion's share of the points with three wins and one draw from the four league meetings between the sides. Daejeon had the worst defence in the league last year and Busan took advantage of that, recording wins of 4-2, 3-2, and 2-1 as they competed at the other end of the table, but Daejeon look to have closed the gap with improved performances and results in the first half of this season.

Team News

On Wednesday Busan announced the signing of Dutch forward Arsenio Valpoort from Dutch second division side Almere City, and with teammate Sherjill MacDonald set to follow, exits are expected for Brazilian strikers Alemao Junior and Jonathan Balotelli. The game may come too soon for full debuts, however, so Kim Hyun-sung, match-winner at Seongnam, should keep his place up front. Although coach Choi Yoon-gyeom has so far rotated his goalkeepers, Koo Sang-min started the last four games and may have made the position his own after keeping four clean sheets in his seven appearances this year.

For Daejeon, goalkeeper Kim Jin-young has ruled himself out, posting on social media this past week to reveal that he was due to have surgery on a knee injury, The former Pohang custodian injured his knee during the 2-1 home defeat to Gwangju and has suspected ligament damage. Lim Min-hyeok is likely to deputise in his absence. Midfielder Shohruh Gadoev is back in contention, however, after serving a two-match ban. Citizen's leading scorer was shown a straight red following a collision with Gwangju goalkeeper Yoon Pyeong-gook in early June.

The Adversary

After a disastrous 2017 campaign Daejeon are surpassing many people's expectations this season, occupying sixth place in the table and five points off the playoffs with a game in hand. Fledgling manager Ko Jong-soo seems to have settled into life as a gaffer after a slightly rocky start to the season.

Tactically, Citizen began the campaign in a 4-1-2-3 formation but manager Ko Jong-soo often preferred 4-1-4-1 in the lead up to the World Cup break, with Ahn Sang-hyeon sat in front of the back four and Romanian forward Aurelian Chițu as the figurehead of the Purples' attack. Despite being an out-and-out striker, Park In-hyeok has been deployed as a winger due to his height, perhaps in a bid to get diagonal balls from the full-back areas across into his path for knock-downs into the likes of Chițu and Gadeov. Those three in particular have transformed this Daejeon Citizen team and are almost certain to be involved come Sunday.

by Daejeon Citizen columnist Paul Neat

Who To Watch 



Kim Hyun-sung
signed for Busan from FC Seoul at the end of 2015 as part of the deal that took Korea's World Cup midfielder Joo Se-jong to the capital. It has been a nightmare period for the striker, however, with injuries limiting him to only 12 appearances in two and a half years. Kim, who in 2012 was lining up against a Brazilian side featuring the likes of Neymar, Hulk and Oscar as Korea went on to win Olympic bronze, will hope that his goal against Seongnam signals a new chapter in a career that has so far been defined by injuries.

Prediction

Daejeon are much improved from last year but Busan have been steady and difficult to score against in recent games. Returning to their World Cup stadium for Sunday's game, I think the home team will edge it.

Busan IPark 2-1 Daejeon Citizen



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