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Preview: Busan IPark vs Suwon FC

This Saturday Busan's Gudeok Stadium plays host to the K League 2's most in-form teams. Busan IPark, now only four points shy of the top of the league, welcome fifth-placed Suwon FC, a team making a late charge for the play-offs after putting together a great run of results.

Last Time Out

Busan made ground on the league leaders with a vital 2-0 victory against Seongnam on Monday night. Busan switched from their usual 4-3-3 formation to a 5-3-2 system with wing-backs, and the more defensive approach evidently paid off, as Seongnam failed to seriously test Koo Sang-min in the Busan goal despite dominating for large periods.

After a first half of very little action, it was two Busan substitutes who made the difference. First, Han Ji-ho, who had only been on the pitch for just over a minute, collected Romulo's incisive pass through the middle and finished coolly past Seongnam keeper Kim Keun-bae. Seongam monopolised possession following the goal but the Busan defence held fast, and on 84 minutes Ko Kyung-min scored an excellent second from 25 yards after good work from Park Joon-gang.

You can watch the highlights from that game here.

Suwon FC, meanwhile, recorded their third win from four games with a 3-0 victory at home to Anyang on Saturday. Two goals from Brazilian Fernando Viana, either side of an Alex Bruno penalty, secured the points for Suwon and took them to within one point of the play-off places.

You can watch the highlights from Suwon's victory here.

Previous Meetings

Suwon have had the edge over Busan so far this season. When these sides met in April, a Park Se-jin goal was enough to earn Suwon the points, while the rematch in May finished 1-1. Last year, the teams drew twice and won one game apiece as Busan finished as the league runners-up and Suwon finished in a disappointing sixth.

Team News

Despite the victory over Seongnam, I expect Choi Yoon-gyeom to revert to his preferred 4-3-3 formation for the visit of Suwon. Ko Kyung-min and Han Ji-ho, who both came off the bench to score last weekend, are likely to be recalled to the starting line-up, while Kim Chi-woo should return at left-back. Park Tae-hong and Kim Myung-joon, who have yet to concede when starting together, should keep their places in the heart of Busan's defence.

The Adversary

Suwon FC are on a fantastic run of four games without conceding, with three of those games ending in victory. At the start of the year, Suwon were tipped to mount a serious title challenge, but they started the season poorly and were even on the end of some drubbings, including a 5-0 defeat to Gwangju and a 4-1 beating by Seongnam. Their defence has shored up since then and results have been more consistent, and although goals have been hard to come by (Suwon are the joint-lowest scorers in the league) the recent run suggests they will still be in the hunt for promotion come the end of the season.

Who To Watch 

With four goals in four games, Suwon's summer signing Fernando Viana looks like a shrewd piece of business. The 26 year-old Brazilian has spent the past couple of years outside of Brazil with spells in the Bulgarian league and the United Arab Emirates, and he may be the missing piece to Suwon's promotion challenge. After only four games he is already Suwon's top scorer for the season, his two goals against Anyang last weekend demonstrating the poacher's instinct for being in the right place at the right time. It looks like he'll keep the Busan defence busy on Saturday.


For Busan, Brazilian midfielder Romulo is becoming more influential with each passing game. The 22 year-old now has five goals and five assists in the league, with a further two goals coming in the FA Cup. In his debut season last year, Romulo showed glimpses of real talent but sometimes struggled for consistency. This year, the left-footed playmaker is virtually undroppable.

Prediction

Both teams are on great form and neither one has been shipping goals recently. Busan are on a run of three consecutive league clean sheets, while Suwon have four. Something has to give on Saturday, and I think both teams will go out looking for the win.

Busan IPark 2-2 Suwon FC


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