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Preview: Busan IPark vs Bucheon 1995

Third-placed Busan IPark host fourth-placed Bucheon 1995 in the K League 2 this Saturday in a vital match in the race for promotion. With Asan Mugunghwa and Seongnam pulling away at the top of the table, the stage is set for Busan's new striker Arsenio Valpoort to make his mark on his home debut. Bucheon's star striker Willian Popp, a former Busan favourite, will have other ideas, however.

Overview

Match: Busan IPark vs Bucheon 1995
When: Saturday 14th July, 7pm
Where: Asiad World Cup Stadium, Busan

Last Time Out

On Monday night Busan played out a 1-1 draw with Gwangju FC. After both sides hit the woodwork in the opening exchanges, Busan took the lead through defender Kim Myung-joon's header from Romulo's free-kick. Both goalkeepers were then forced into good saves before Gwangju equalised through Lim Min-hyeok's free kick before the break. There were few clear-cut chances in the second half as both teams cancelled each other out, and the result leaves Busan in third, seven points off leaders Asan.

Gwangju FC vs Busan IPark highlights

Bucheon, meanwhile, lost their third game on the bounce at home to FC Anyang. Jung Hee-woong gave Anyang the lead after 22 minutes but Lim Dong-hyeok equalised four minutes later for the hosts. 21 year-old striker Kim Gyeong-joon, making his debut for Anyang after completing a loan deal from K1 side Daegu FC, scored the eventual winner.

Bucheon 1995 vs FC Anyang highlights

Previous Meetings

This will be the third time Busan and Bucheon have met this season. In the first game, an FA Cup third-round tie, Bucheon rested several of their key players and paid the price. Busan charged through to the fourth round of the cup with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Kim Jin-gyu and Brazilian Alemao Junior, who recently left the club.

In the two league meetings so far this year, Bucheon won the first game 1-0, the winner scored almost inevitably by Brazilian striker Willian Popp in his first appearance against his old club. The clubs met most recently at the start of June and played out a 0-0 draw.

Team News

Busan IPark will welcome Lee Jae-kwon back into the centre of midfield after he missed the draw at Gwangju due to accumulated yellow cards. Lee will slot in next to Brazilian playmaker Romulo. Kim Jin-gyu, who filled in for Lee on Monday, will likely be pushed further forward. Up front, Kim Hyun-sung has started the last four games, but coach Choi Yoon-gyeom may decide to give a debut to 33 year-old Dutchman Sherjil MacDonald after his move from Almere City. MacDonald's former Almere teammate Arsenio Valpoort, who made his debut against Gwangju on Monday, is likely to continue in the left wing-forward role.

For Bucheon, two former Busan favourites will expect to line up against their old club. Forward Willian Popp scored 18 goals in 38 games for Busan in 2016 and has been in impressive form for Bucheon this year, so far notching up 7 goals at the half-way point in the season. Direct, skilful and an instinctive finisher, Popp will be Bucheon's main danger man once again. Further back, Nilson Junior enjoyed two spells with Busan between 2014 and 2016, racking up 60 appearances as both a central defender and defensive midfielder. Nilson has been an ever-present for Bucheon so far this year and he will be sitting in behind the midfield, looking to frustrate his former teammates.

Who To Watch 


There are high hopes within the club for new signing Arsenio Valpoort. The Dutch forward showed speed, power and excellent close control on his first outing for Busan, and he poses a genuine goal threat either from the wing or as the focal point of the attack. The 25 year-old scored an impressive 16 goals in the Dutch second division last season, and if Busan can unlock his potential, they could have a real star on their hands.

You can read Valpoort's transfer profile here.

Prediction

Bucheon are in the middle of a poor run with three defeats on the trot and only one win in eight, but Busan have also dropped points recently. Despite being unbeaten in nine, they have won only three of those games and now both of these promotion-chasing teams are in danger of falling away behind leaders Asan Mugunghwa and Seongnam. This will be a tight game between two teams of similar stature, and it could be decided by one moment of quality. In a battle of the star strikers, Busan's Valpoort and Bucheon's Popp will both be hoping to come away as the hero.

Busan IPark 1-1 Bucheon 1995



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