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Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Busan IPark

K League 2: Seoul E-Land vs Busan IPark

As we venture further into the month of August, we embrace the heat wave that continues to grace the Korean peninsula this summer. Whereas the temperatures have really affected some teams, Seoul E-Land have recently relished the harsh conditions. The side have picked up two wins in a row against Daejoen Citizen and Bucheon 1995, the first streak of the season for the side. The two wins bring them up to 7th position and pushes them further away from the bottom.

This Saturday will see Round 22 of the K League 2 for The Leopards, as Busan IPark make their way up to the capital, in what could be an exciting game
 based on the form of the two sides. Seoul E-Land look fit and ready for any side to come to Jamsil at this moment in time, yet Busan have lost only once in the last 13 games.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Seoul made the short journey at the weekend to Bucheon, where they looked to recreate their glorious 3-0 drubbing of the side back in May this year. Seoul were eager to continue their momentum, and In Chang-soo decided to name a mixed squad, giving five players under 25 a run out in the starting eleven.

The game started the same way the previous encounter did, with a goalless first half. Bucheon did what was predicted of them, they sat back and let E-Land push forward and try to get a few chances into the box. Seoul created most of the chances, and looked the most likely to score.

The second half came around, and E-Land really showed their fitness. E-Land took their time and looked for the right passes. In doing so they managed to get the ball into the box in the 50th minute. Lee Hyeon-seong took a shot, which was parried straight into the feet of Ahn Dong-hyuk, making it 1-0 Seoul from a tap in.

A simple, but effective goal for the side put the Leopards ahead. The best was yet to come for the traveling team though as, only nine minutes later, they had a free kick from way outside the box. Choi Chi-won took it, and the keeper just stood there and watched it bounce into the net. A real peach of a goal for Seoul and it put the game to bed with 30 minutes left to play. Although it could be said that the keeper should have easily saved it, nothing can be taken away for Choi Chi-won and his memorable effort.

Video of Choi Chi-won's freekick against Bucheon 1995 can be found here

Final Score: Bucheon 1995 0-2 Seoul E-Land

Busan IPark had what could easily be said as one of the toughest tasks of the round. After Seongnam shared points with Suwon on Saturday evening, Busan made the trip to Asan Mugunghwa on Sunday, a team once again looking to overtake the Magpies.

Busan managed to pull off the same result against Asan, as Bucheon did the week prior. IPark pulled off a 0-0 draw against the police side, with not much controversy for Busan within the game. The match did see a first-half sending off however, as Asan player Lee Joo-yong was shown a second yellow in the 41st minute.

Chances were recorded for both teams within the game, but a point was once again shared for Busan. Although they have managed to lose only once in 13, they have drawn seven of those games.

Highlights of the game can be found here

Final Score: Asan Mugunghwa 0-0 Busan IPark

Previous Meetings

We have to go all the way back to May to recollect the last game between Busan and Seoul E-Land in the K League 2. The match was played in Busan, in what was a routine victory for the home side.

A routine win was recorded for Busan IPark, the last time the two sides met in the K League 2 back in May (Source: K League)
Busan made it 1-0 only 20 minutes into the fixture, as Brazilian Rômulo converted from the penalty spot. The game was all Busan, with minimal chances created from E-Land for the most of the 90 minutes.

Han Ji-ho put three points on the board for Busan in the tie, as he made it 2-0 in the 51st minute. Busan took full use of their home field advantage, against a very timid Seoul E-Land side.

Final Score: Busan IPark 2-0 Seoul E-Land .

Team News

In Chang-soo has been very busy in the recent weeks, arranging multiple friendlies with universities and Hong Kong-based side, Kitchee SC, giving his full squad game time and experience.

Seoul’s injury issues with the likes of Bielkiewicz and Ivan, who missed Saturdays clash due to a minor muscle trouble, has really opened the door to players who would never normally get a runout.

One notable star has to be Choi Chi-won, who hasn’t played for E-Land since April, prior to the Daejeon game. The 25-year-old has scored two goals in two games now for E-Land and will be on In Chang-soo’s mind, whether to start him once again.

remove_image
Kim Chang-wook (left), and Jeon Min-kwang (mid) celebrate with Choi Chi-won (right) after he scored from a long-range free kick. (Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/seouleland
A great performance from the defense last weekend will leave the boss wondering if to stick or twist with the defensive lineup. Kim Jae-hyun was especially influential, and took the lead role in the center back position, with the absence of Ahn Ji-ho.

As said prior, E-Land’s team does regularly rotate and change on a game to game basis, but I think they are happy now with keeping the 4-3-3 formation, especially in recent conditions where defenses get tired quicker.

The Adversary

I don’t think Busan will be too concerned about their midweek loss to Ulsan in the FA Cup. Now they can focus their attention on their promotion push, and they still have six points to make up on Seongnam and Asan at the top of the table. They will see this game as a must win, especially after failing to beat a 10-man Asan team last weekend, but the lack of match winners in the side could be a concern for coach Choi Yoon-gyeom. Ko Kyung-min has been in good form recently as an attacking midfielder, but there aren’t many other players in the side who look like scoring. Kim Moon-hwan, another in-form player, is away with the Asian Games squad, while Dutch signing Arsenio Valpoort has had one or two good moments but has yet to provide the goals that were expected of him.

In terms of out-and-out strikers, Choi Seung-in, Kim Hyun-sung, and Kim Dong-sub still have to prove themselves in Busan shirts. Injuries have affected all three in recent years, but their goalscoring records for Busan have been disappointing to say the least. Choi scored 11 goals for Gangwon in 2015, but has only managed six in his two and a half years on the south coast, while Kim Hyun-sung, an Olympic bronze medalist signed from FC Seoul, has only one goal in the same period. Kim Dong-sub scored 14 goals for Seongnam in 2013 and was briefly involved in the national team set-up, but he has hardly registered since then and has yet to score for Busan.

It will be interesting to see whether the manager decides to give Arsenio Valpoort a run out as centre forward, as Han Ji-ho has been in good form on the wing and Busan’s other strikers have been goal-shy. Valpoort played up top on occasion for Almere City last year and it might be worth considering, especially as Busan have yet to see the best of the talented Dutchman. Elsewhere, Choi Yoon-gyeom will likely recall a few players who were rested for the midweek game, including Lee Jae-kwon in midfield, Kim Chi-woo at left back, and Kim Myung-joon in central defence.

Written by Tomas Marcantonio

Prediction

I feel like I say the same thing every week when it comes to the predictions. I always manage to say that we should be in for an exciting game regardless of the result and to be fair, I haven’t been far off the truth. The whole K League 2 this season has been gripping, with multiple teams having their day in the sun

In saying that Seoul E-Land will wish to continue their good form, and show that streaks are meant to be broken when Busan come to town. Two teams who know how to score will meet on Saturday evening, and I just can't see a 0-0 stalemate between the two sides.

I think it will come down to who will score first if they can hold on in the heat, and keep the fitness in this drastic weather. Preparation is key for both sides, in the lead up to this game and the side more willing to adapt to their opponents movements will come out on top.

Prediction: Seoul E-Land 2-2 Busan IPark

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