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playoffs

FA Cup Writers' Chat: Busan Transportation Corporation vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

KFA Cup Preview: Busan Transportation Corporation Football Club vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

The FA Cup finally gets back underway after some delay, with the fourth round seeing Korea's top flight enter the picture. One of the picks of the round sees runaway K League 1 leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors travel south to face the Korean National League's Busan Transportation Corporation FC. Our Jeonbuk columnist Matthew Binns sat down to speak with Adrian Lord of the Busan Transportation Corporation FC Foreign Supporters group about what to expect when these two sides meet on Wednesday evening.

Matthew asks, Adrian answers


Matthew Binns: It’s been another difficult season for Busan Transportation Corporation so far, with the club currently at the foot of the National League division. What has been their biggest issue this year?

Adrian Lord: There was a big clear out of players at the start of the season, so perhaps the team haven't gelled as quickly as many had hoped. There isn't really a pre-season in the National League, so most teams start their opening games without the benefit of a series of warm up games. That said, we're over the halfway point in the season, so they should really be playing more cohesively than perhaps they have been. A similar issue maybe the age of the squad. The majority of players are very young, and with some of the club's senior players retiring last season, there hasn't really been anyone on the pitch to support and encourage the younger players. One final factor maybe confidence. If you're struggling week in week out, confidence will always be an issue

MB: For those unfamiliar with the side, how do they tend to approach matches in terms of playing style and will they be changing this philosophy or personnel to deal with the threat posed by Jeonbuk?

AL: The playing style is usually very defensive. I think this stems from a lack of confidence. Players seem reluctant to move forward or take opponents on, which can often be frustrating to watch. I think we will see more of the same against Jeonbuk. The players will be much more in the spotlight for this game, and will be far more apprehensive to take risks than in a regular National League game.

MB: Who is the player in this Busan side that Jeonbuk should be wary about underestimating?

AL: Number 10, Ahn Su-min will be the man to watch. He has been very influential since joining the club this season, and is now starting to find his true form. Busan Transport had a challenger game this week with Busan FC to determine who represents Busan in the 99th National Sports Festival this autumn. He scored a hat trick in Transport's 3-1 win, and no doubt he will be looking to continue his good form into the FA Cup.

MB: Busan do have have a track record of facing teams from the top flight in this competition, famously defeating local rivals Gyeongnam in 2011. How do you see this fixture playing out and could we be in for another historic upset?

AL: I think Jeonbuk's quality and fitness will shine through in this one, so I am sure they will win comfortably. If Busan can start competitively and score a few goals, the club will be more than satisfied. Hopefully they will give us something to cheer about!

Adrian’s Predicted Score: Busan Transportation Corporation 1-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Adrian asks, Matthew answers


Adrian Lord: It's been some time since Jeonbuk had an away trip down to Busan, can we expect many away fans despite the early kick off?

Matthew Binns: The early kick-off at 5pm certainly does not make things easy for the Jeonbuk faithful, though their 5pm match against Bucheon in last year's competition still managed to see a reasonable contingent turn up. That said, that particular game was played in Jeonju and thus there was no three hour travel time to factor in. Jeonbuk do always seem to find a good number of fans for away matches, but I do still expect the support to be somewhat lesser than if it had been played later on.

AL: With the K League title and AFC Champions League qualification seemingly well on target, how important do Jeonbuk fans feel the FA Cup is this year?

MB: Having not lifted the FA Cup since 2005, there is some desire amongst fans about claiming it back, but ultimately not at the expense of the competitions you have mentioned. However, they would like to see an improved performance from last year where they were knocked out disappointingly at the same stage despite no Champions League commitments. Jeonbuk manager Choi Kang-hee mentioned before the season though that one of his main targets would be to try and win everything on offer this year and, while many balked at his comments initially, the performances in the K League and across Asia all point to a side not taking any prisoners.

AL: What kind of team do you expect Jeonbuk to field? Will we see any Korea national team players who played in the World Cup?

MB: Of the three Jeonbuk players who went to Russia, it is most likely right back Lee Yong and striker Kim Shin-wook will make appearances in some form. Jeonbuk's defence, while strong, still has a number of key players on the injury list so it would not be unusual to see Lee Yong feature from the start in this match. Jeonbuk's three main strikers have been regularly rotated this season but the manager may see this match as an opportunity for Kim Shin-wook to try and score a confidence-boosting goal. Lee Jae-sung, since returning from the World Cup, has mostly featured from the bench due to Choi Kang-hee's concern over the midfielder burning out. In terms of club minutes of Korean national team members, Lee had the second highest behind Son Heung-min, as well as featuring for the national team six times over the winter in addition to all the FIFA approved friendlies, qualifiers and tournament. I imagine the manager will not wish to use him against Busan.

AL: Jeonbuk have crashed out of the FA Cup to lower league opposition for the last two years. Will they be going into this game more cautiously than before?

MB: Jeonbuk have a frustratingly notorious habit of underestimating supposed "easier" opposition through weakened team selections and on-field motivation. You need only look at four of the points earned by a struggling Incheon United side this season to notice they were taken from the current league leaders whilst also scoring six goals in the process. In addition to losing to Bucheon in the cup for the last two campaigns, 2016 also saw them labour to an eventual extra time victory over Dankook University to reach the quarter finals. What is different this time around is that Jeonbuk do have the depth to fair much better this year, and can afford to take their eye off the league for a week given the extent of their lead, calling upon first team players to assist them over the line if need be. I feel Busan's best opportunity for an unlikely victory will be to catch Jeonbuk off-guard early on, and hold on to the result. However, I cannot envisage the visitors suffering a cup upset for a third year in a row.

Matthew's Predicted Score: Busan Transportation Corporation 0-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

We'd once again like to extend our thanks to Adrian Lord for participating in this joint match preview. Adrian is part of the Busan Transportation Corporation Football Club Foreign Supporters. If you'd like to know more about the fan group, you can read our recent profile on the group in our 'From The Stands' series, or join their Facebook group.

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