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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Seongnam FC

K League 1 Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Seongnam FC

Sunday evening sees a bottom versus top clash in the K League 2, as lowly Ansan Greeners welcome leaders Seongnam FC to the Wa Stadium. The Greeners find themselves at the foot of the table on the back of six straight league losses, and will be desperate to arrest the slide in this one. The Magpies are also in need of the points in order to put daylight between themselves and Asan Mugunghwa in the race for automatic promotion. James Walsh gives his thoughts on what to expect.



Last Time Out


Lee Heung-sil’s men suffered a gut-wrenching defeat to neighbours, FC Anyang, losing by three goals to two in the ninety second minute. The home side went in front thanks to a howler from Greeners’ goalkeeper, Lee Hee-seong, who allowed Marcos’ tame effort to trickle through his legs.

The visitors levelled through Tarragona’s strike from an acute angle, and even went briefly in front after defender, Song Joo-ho, tapped in. Violets’ forward, Kim Kyung-jun, volleyed home an equaliser for the home team, who won the contest late on after Ansan’s Song Joo-ho went from hero to zero with a headed own goal in stoppage time.

Seongnam FC were held to a goalless draw at home by Suwon FC. The best chance of the match fell to the Magpies’s Brazilian attacker, Éder, who was denied at point-blank range by a sprawling Kim Da-sol. The home side’s Moon Sang-yun spurned a glorious chance at the death, but the away side survived the late onslaught, and took a well-deserved point back to the Suwon Sports Complex.



Previous Meetings


The hosts have taken four points off the Challenge’s table toppers this term. The Greeners won the last affair by two goals to one at the Wa. Ansan full-back, Lee Geon, scored twice in quick succession in the second half, with the Magpies’ grabbing an injury time consolation through striker, Jeong Seong-min’s penalty.

The first encounter of the season between these two sides finished all square at the Tancheon Sports Complex at the end of March. The home side pushed and probed throughout, but ultimately could not find a way through Ansan’s rearguard in a drab goalless draw.



Team News


Ansan manager, Lee Heung-sil is expected to start with the same front three who played from the off at Anyang, which would again see Lee Chang-hoon deployed as a right winger, with Jang Hyeok-jin operating on the opposite flank, supporting Raul Tarragona up top, who ended a near ten-hour wait for a goal for the Greeners in all competitions, with his equaliser at the weekend.

Seongnam head coach, Nam Ki-il, may be tempted to recall Brazilian forward, Éder, to the visitors’ starting eleven, given his side’s lack of goals recently. The Magpies looked more threatening after Éder’s introduction from the substitutes’ bench against Suwon at the weekend. The ex-Daegu and Jeonbuk player has four goals and one assist thus far for this campaign.

The Adversary


The Magpies sit at the top of the table having scored one more goal than Asan. The away side will be confident of a return to form in Sunday’s fixture, having not picked up a victory in their last three matches. Prior to Saturday’s draw at home to Suwon FC, Seongnam were soundly beaten at the Gwangju World Cup Stadium. Earlier that week, Nam Ki-il’s team were also knocked out of the KFA Cup at the fourth round stage at home by K3 league leaders, Gyeongju Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power FC. The visitors will fancy their chances at the Wa despite these recent setbacks, Seongnam have been strong on the road, their high-pressing style has seen them pick up six away wins already this calendar year.

Who To Watch


The Greeners’ Uruguayan centre-forward, Raul Tarragona, is Ansan’s most talented attacker. He scored fifteen league goals in the division last season, which saw him finish as runner-up in the golden boot race to Gyeongnam’s Brazilian striker, Marcão. Tarragona has had a stop-start 2018 so far, due to injuries and suspension, but has shown glimpses of the quality he possesses. Raul’s away equalisers against FC Anyang and Daejeon Citizen were both sublime finishes, and he also showed nerves of steel in dispatching a last-gasp penalty leveller versus Busan IPark at the Gudeok in March. His best performance of this term came in the third round of the KFA Cup at home to Suwon University, Tarragona scored a masterful hat-trick in a seven-nil victory for the home team. Lee Heung-sil will be praying that Raul came stay match fit and injury-free for the remainder of this season.

As for the opposition, midfielder, Moon Sang-yun, is enjoying a fine season for the Magpies. The former Jeju United and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors man is a composed central midfielder with an eye for a killer pass, and has six assists to his name this year. The ex-Incheon United player has also contributed three goals this term, and is a great reader of the game who always seems to have time on the ball. Ansan will certainly be looking to prevent his through-balls in this encounter.

Prediction


The Greeners will be hoping to stem their rapid descent, while Nam Ki-il’s boys are looking to pull away from closest rivals, Asan, at the K League 2 summit. The hosts have been at sixes and sevens at the back during a woeful run, which has given the home supporters every reason to expect further disappointment going into a game against a team that has shown fine away form this season.

Predicted Score: Ansan Greeners 0-1 Seongnam FC

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