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playoffs

FA Cup Preview: Busan IPark vs Gyeongju Citizen

FA Cup Preview: Busan IPark Vs Gyeongju Citizen
After reclaiming third place in the K League 2 at the weekend, Busan IPark turn their attention to the FA Cup, a competition in which they finished runners-up last year. Their visitors to the Gudeok Stadium are Gyeongju Citizen, who are currently sitting top of the K3 League Advanced.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Busan IPark earned a vital away win on Sunday evening against Ansan Greeners. Both sides had dangerous spells, but the goalkeepers had very little to do as finishing and final balls were found wanting. Ansan's former Busan midfielder Hong Dong-hyun went close to scoring against his old club in the first half but his volley went narrowly wide, and Busan defender Jeong Ho-jeong headed over with the home side's best chance of the first forty-five minutes.

Busan substitutes Han Ji-ho and Kim Moon-hwan made a big difference in the second half, with the former driving at the defence time and again and going close on more than one occasion. It was Kim Moon-hwan, recently called up for Korea's squad for the Asian Games, who made the telling difference, beating his man on the left before lofting a cross into the box for Romulo to finish off with a controlled volley.

Ansan put some dangerous balls into the Busan penalty area but keeper Koo Sang-min didn't have a save to make all evening, even after goalscorer Romulo was sent off for a second yellow card for time-wasting. The game finished Ansan Greeners 0-1 Busan IPark.

You can watch highlights of the game here.

Team News

This game might just be coming at the perfect time for Busan IPark. After a disappointing run of results, Busan sit nine points behind league leaders Seongnam and coach Choi Yoon-gyeom will already have been thinking about shaking things up. He will likely use this opportunity to rotate his squad and give opportunities to some of the fringe players to stake their claim for starting spots.

Defender Yeon Jei-min is likely to get his first start for the club after coming off the bench against Ansan. The 25 year-old former Korea U23 regular signed for Busan in the winter window but has only recently returned from a long injury lay-off. He spent the second half of the 2014 on loan at the club and his return has been eagerly awaited.

New signing Sherjill MacDonald could also line up in Busan colours for the first time since his summer move from Dutch side Almere City. The 33 year-old journeyman striker has experience in the Premier League and the MLS, and with Kim Hyun-sung struggling to make an impact in the target man role, this is an excellent opportunity for the Dutchman to show what he can do.

Wingers Lee Dong-jun and Shin Young-jun and full-backs Park Jun-gang and Ku Hyeon-jun can also expect run-outs after featuring sporadically so far this season.

The Adversary

Gyeongju Citizen are currently leading the way in the K3 League Advanced, with thirty one points from fourteen games. They have the league's joint-meanest defence, although they have hit a rocky spell of late. After an incredible start to the season in which they won nine of their first ten games and drew the other, Gyeongju have since lost three of their last four league games.

Who To Watch 

Lee Dong-jun in action for Busan IPark against Daejeon Citizen (Image via K League)

This is an excellent opportunity for winger Lee Dong-jun to stake his claim for more regular minutes in the league. The lightning-quick forward was a regular starter in March and April but has only featured off the bench in the last three months. Although unpredictable, Lee is direct, positive, and an excellent dribbler. He'll be chomping at the bit to be let loose here.

Prediction

Gyeongju are having an excellent season in the K3 Advanced but Busan IPark have a strong squad, as they showed last season when their fringe players carried them through the first few rounds of the cup on their march to the final. There will be a lot of players with fresh legs eager to catch the eye of Busan coach Choi Yoon-gyeom, and despite Gyeongju's solid defence, I think Busan will find a way through.

Busan IPark 2-0 Gyeongju Citizen



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