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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Daejeon Citizen

Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2
Five wins on the spin and unbeaten in nine, Daejeon Citizen make the short trip to the capital area to take on Ansan Greeners. The Greeners sit in ninth place but are only three points away from Gwangju in fifth. A Green Wolves win could put Lee Youngmin's into the playoff hunt. Daejeon, meanwhile, will be looking to keep hold of that much-coveted third place.
(image via K League)

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Seongnam 1-1 Ansan Greeners

A last minute penalty denied Ansan Greeners from taking all three points at Tancheon last Saturday when Jung Sungmin fired home in the 96th minute. Park Kwanwoo had given the Greeners a 52nd minute lead and, heading into the final minutes of stoppage time, Park's strike appeared enough to ensure the Green Wolves of a fourth straight victory.

But, in the the dying embers, Kim Inhan, on as a second half substitute, saw his shot strike the outstretched hand of Ansan skipper Park Junhee on the edge of the six-yard box and so, after consulting VAR, referee Park Jinho pointed to the spot. Jung Sungmin took a long run up and went for placement over power into the bottom left-hand corner of Lee Heeseong's goal. The Greeners' custodian got a hand to Jung's spot-kick but was unable to prevent the ball from bouncing over the line.

Highlights: here

Gwangju FC 1-2 Daejeon Citizen

Daejeon Citizen came back from behind to secure a dramatic late win away to Gwangju last Sunday, scoring twice deep into stoppage time. The hosts took the lead through Felipe just shy of the interval, heading home a right-footed Duarte cross from the right-hand side.

Daejeon were under the cosh somewhat in the first period but dominated proceedings in the second. Hwang Inbeom was introduced in the 51st minute and was instrumental in Citizen coming back from the dead. In the 92nd minute Park Inhyeok nodded home a glancing header from an Aurelian Chițu cross then, with Daejeon not satisfied with settling for just a draw, went on to find a dramatic winner. Some excellent build-up play involving Hwang Inbeom and Shin Hakyoung enabled the former to send in a low cross in towards the six yard box where Chițu was on hand to tap in, much to the delight of the Purples bench.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Daejeon Citizen have only beaten Ansan Greeners once in seven attempts with three defeats and three draws preceding the 1-0 victory on 26th August. The most recent meeting was the Purples' first win over the Greeners, a Chițu penalty on 61 minutes gave Ko Jongsoo's men all three points.

At the Wa Stadium Daejeon have suffered two defeats: 3-2 earlier in the current campaign, despite taking the lead, a 1-1 draw last July and a 2-1 loss on the opening day of the 2017 season, the Greeners' first win since becoming a citizen club and joining the K League.

Team News

Ansan Greeners should have Seku Conneh available again, the Libyan international has since returned from international duty. Defender Lee Injae will also be available after serving a one-match ban. However, Han Jiwon is ruled out after picking up his third caution of the campaign during the 1-1 draw with Seongnam.

For Daejeon, captain Ahn Sanghyeon will be suspended having picked up his sixth yellow of the campaign during the dramatic late win over Gwangju on Saturday.  Besides injured goalkeeper Kim Jinyoung, Daejeon Citizen manager Ko Jongsoo has a relatively full squad to choose from for the trip to Ansan.

The Adversary

With all the uncertainty surrounding Asan Mugunghwa, who currently top the K2 table, it raises the question as to whether fifth place could actually be enough to qualify for this season's promotion/relegation playoffs, as was the case in 2016. Ansan's run of good form has given their fans a glimmer of hope as, despite sitting in ninth, are just three points behind Gwangju in fifth. Testament as to how tight the K League 2 is this year, only six points separate fifth from bottom.

During Ansan Greeners' run of four games without defeat, caretaker manager Lee Youngmin has fielded his team in either a 4-1-4-1 or a 5-4-1. The former was used for the draw to Seongnam and wins over Suwon and Bucheon, as well as the defeat to Daejeon the last time these two sides met. For the 3-2 home win over Gwangju, Coach Lee preferred a back five.

Ansan starting XI vs Seongnam R29
Ansan continued their fine form under Lee Youngmin, with an impressive draw away to then table-topping Seongnam. The visit of Daejeon will provide the Ansan coach with a real measure of how far this team is progressing, given that he started his caretaker tenure with a 1-0 defeat to Citizen in late August. Since then Ansan have bagged eight goals, after previously going on a terrible barren run of finding the net that led to the end of Lee Heungsil’s tenure of the Greeners. The expansive style has seen five goals in the last four, but if entertainment comes hand in hand with results, then all hail the Green King Lee Youngmin.

Part of the Ansan’s revival has been spurred by the coming back to form of Jang Hyeokjin, netting twice under the new (temporary?) manager, while Kim Hyuntae has bagged two and Choi Hojoo has also rediscovered some form. Seku Conneh and Raul Tarragona have both been out of the side in recent weeks, while Choi Hojoo also did not feature last weekend. 

With Ansan just three points off of the now available fifth place play-off spot, they need to keep firing, and I expect them to do so at the Wa on Saturday.

by Mike Brandon

Who To Watch

Hwang Inbeom

Daejeon Citizen Hwang Inbeom K League 2
Hwang Inbeom (R) made his Daejeon return last Sunday vs Gwangju
Hwang Inbeom made a massive impact after coming on as a second-half substitute for Daejeon Citizen's dramatic 2-1 win over Gwangju last Sunday. Despite being an Asian Games gold medallist, and a regular for table-topping Asan Mugunghwa, Hwang was named amongst the substitutes for last Sunday's crucial playoff clash away to Gwangju. However, in the 51st minute Hwang Inbeom came on to replace Kang Yunsung in a straight swap to operate as one of the two central midfielders in front of captain and anchor Ahn Sanghyeon.

The 21 year-old had an 88% pass completion rate, made two key passes and laid on an assist for Daejeon's winner, guiding the ball across the face of goal towards Romanian forward Chițu after some excellent link up play with Shin Hakyoung. Daejeon gaffer Ko Jongsoo has been loyal to his plays and seldom makes changes for the sake of it and so Hwang Inbeom may have to come off the bench to make an impact but, after last week's performance, Coach Ko will have a selection headache heading into Saturday's match.

Prediction

Both teams are in good form; the hosts, Ansan Greeners, have three wins, a draw, and just one defeat from their last five. Daejeon, however, are on an incredible run of five straight wins and nine games unbeaten. A lot of Citizen's games have been decided by a single goal, Ansan likewise and so Saturday's game isn't likely to be much different. Narrow away win.

Ansan Greeners 0-1 Daejeon Citizen




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