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Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Ansan Greeners

K League 2 Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Ansan Greeners

Seoul E-Land will have left last weekend’s round of fixtures feeling slightly hard done by. The Leopards managed a more than a respectable 1-1 draw against Seongnam FC, who were top of the K League 2 at the time of the two teams clashing.  Although Seoul managed to get a point away from home, victories elsewhere for Suwon FC and FC Anyang, still saw E-Land slip all the way to the bottom of the league. With that being said, this week brings Monday night football for the side, as they meet Ansan Greeners, at Jamsil. Seoul has already beaten The Green Wolves both home and away this year, and will look to find a victory to get their season back on track.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Seoul E-Land made the short journey from Jamsil on the weekend as they faced Seongnam FC, a team who have still yet to defeat them. The game started well for the Seoul based side, as they had a flurry of shots, testing the Seongnam defense. E-Land finally managed to put the ball into the back of the net in the first ten minutes of play but it was later ruled offside.

Seoul had to wait until the 25th minute of play to get onto the scoresheet. A beautifully worked header gave Kim Jae-hyun his first goal of the season. E-Land continued to have attack after attack for the remainder of the half, most noticeably, a long-range effort from new boy Ahn Sung-bin, rattling off the bar.

The second half was a completely different game however, as Seongnam got straight back into their poignant flow and attacked furiously. Seoul held strong, and some good keeping from Kim Young-kwang kept the capital club ahead.

Seongnam did eventually break down the Seoul E-Land defense in the 66th minute, through defender Yun Young-sun. Yun was playing his first game since returning from the 2018 Fifa World Cup with the Korean national team. The goal did go to VAR review however, and was eventually awarded to the home side.

A replay of Seoul E-Land's only goal of the game can be found here

Ansan Greeners played at the same time last weekend, 7pm on a Saturday evening. The Green Wolves had the tough task of facing Asan Mugunghwa at home, for an opportunity to climb back up to 5th.

The game was not to be however for them, as goals from either half for the away side saw them lose 2-0 and keep them in 6th place. The first goal came in the 21st minute, as Kim Min-gyoon received a well-placed cross and headed the ball to the other side of the keeper. The finish was almost identical to Kim Jae-hyun’s against Seongnam.

The second goal came once again from the right flank, in the 80th minute. A skillful long ball was then crossed in, for Lee Myeong-ju to tap it past the keeper. Ansan looked shaky in defense, and it appears they have problems with dealing with getting defenders back to deal with crosses. We will only tell if they will have addressed this issue in training on Monday.

A replay of Asan's first goal against Ansan can be found here

Previous Meetings

The last game between these saw an away win and a clean sheet recorded for the Seoul based side. They traveled down to Ansan slightly over a month ago in what was an emphatic 2-0 victory for The Leopards.

Proceedings got underway in the 40th minute as a fantastic bit of ball control from Diego Bielkiewicz saw him beat his man, and simply pass the ball into the goal. Seoul E-Land looked dominant throughout the game, and Ansan were struggling to string any real credible attack together.

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Seoul E-Land striker Diego Bielkiewicz, scores the opening goal of the game, the last time Seoul E-Land met Ansan Greeners. (Photo credit: www.facebook.com/seouleland)
The second goal of the game came in the 89th minute as a well-worked counter-attack saw E-Land’s top scorer Cha Jae-wan make it 2-0. He celebrated with a salute to the away supporters, who were positioned goal side; a thank you for the few making the journey down.

Cha Jae-wan was also the hero last time the two sides met in Jamsil, as a last kick of the match from him saw E-Land snatch a 2-1 victory. The promising player might be once again the game changer in this fixture.

Team News

Seoul E-Land saw a good performance on Saturday, from Ahn Sung-bin, who has now played two full games since joining the side. Picked to play right back on both occasions, he really came to the fore on the weekend, in an attempt to push the ball forward, and feed it to Choi Oh-back.

Ivan Herceg also came onto settle the shaky defense in the second half, his presence did calm the nerves of the Seoul E-land side, who did start to attack again once he showed his presence. I would not be surprised if In Chang-soo chose to include both players for the game on Monday evening.

As also stated before, Cha Jae-wan has recently relished upon playing Ansan in recent fixtures, so fans could also see him get the nod. However, new signing Herrera has still yet to start for the side, coming off the bench in both occasions. Maybe it is time to see him receive a place in the line up.

The Adversary

More than once this season I have found myself in the situation of watching another dire performance, when fellow Greeners fan James Walsh checks the scores and remarks: "At least other results have gone for us." And that sums up the odd position that Ansan Greeners find themselves in, just three points off of the playoff places despite winning just 2 of their last ten outings.

That run also includes six defeats, and began with a 2-1 loss to Seoul E-land, with another 2-0 defeat at the Wa Stadium to boot. Ansan have also scored just eight goals in their previous 13 games, leading Green Wolves fans to wonder just what happened to that early season form?

Ansan fans cannot look to toward this game with any confidence as E-land look to beat the Wa Stadium side for a third time this season. Their previous two performances against Asan and, even more painfully, against Anyang have been woeful. In an effort to score more goals, Lee Heung-shil has experimented with different forward combinations in each of the previous three games, including playing last season's assist king Jang Hyeok-jin as part of the forward line.

The only consistency has been the formation, a 3-4-3 system that saw Ansan compete with the top teams in the division temporarily, while also beating middling and lower table sides. It hasn't worked since Suwon University were demolished 7-0 in the FA Cup,  despite also recording a fine win over Gwangju. Question marks also lie over goalkeeper Hwang Sung-min, and it is perhaps time for Lee Hee-seong to return to the Ansan goal.

Expect to see Ansan line up in their usual 3-4-3 formation in this game, with Hwang Sungmin in goal, Lee In-jae, Choi Sung-min and Park Jun-hee making up the back three with a midfield four of Lee Geon, Jang Hyeok-jin, Choi Myung-hee and Kim Yeon-soo. The front three is harder to guess, but Hong Deong-hyun, Raul and Choi Ho-joo represent Ansan's most dangerous attacking trio.

Written by Mike Brandon @ansanfsc

Prediction

I stand by the idea that Seoul E-Land are the most difficult team to predict in the K Leauge 2 this season. Although they are bottom of the league at the moment, you never know what team will turn up; either a quality side who can defeat play-off striving teams, or a poor outfit, losing to fellow strugglers.

In saying this, Seoul E-Land, do have a good record so far against Ansan. Their first win against the side came when Ansan was cruising in the league, and they really put a spanner in their works. Also, Ansan have lost two straight games on the bounce, so a trip to Jamsil on a Monday evening will be no easy task.

The game will be decided if either defense can keep the opposing team at bay, as they both have attacking options and can score against anyone. If both sides let goals leak like they did in previous games, expect a high scoring fixture.

Predicted Score: Seoul E-Land 2-2 Ansan Greeners

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