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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Gwangju FC

K League 2 Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Gwangju FC

Asan Mugunghwa welcome Gwangju FC to the Yi Sun Shin Stadium on Saturday night in K League 2, knowing that they will likely need a win if they are not to fall further behind Seongnam at the top of the table, who they drew against last weekend.  Gwangju, meanwhile, lost to last-placed Ansan, who put on a very spirited performance to come away with three points.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to what should be a tight encounter.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Gwangju FC
Venue: Asan Sports Complex
Kickoff: Saturday September 15th, 2018; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Seongnam FC 1-1 Asan Mugunghwa

The first chunk of the first half did not produce much in terms of action, but, it was Seongnam who would go into the lead on twenty minutes, when Jung Sung-min turned in a ball from close range after it had pinged around in the area and the Asan back line was unable to clear.  After conceding, Asan controlled the run of play for much of the remaining time, but could not find their touch in front of goal as several attempts finished off target, and the league leaders retained their advantage going into the break.

Asan continued to press for an equalizer in the early stages of the second half, but still could not find a breakthrough, as Seongnam were content just to hold on to the lead.  It could have been level in the 72nd minute after Jo Seung-joon was bundled over just outside the area, but Park Se-jik's free kick effort fizzed over the bar.  Asan would finally get their just reward with ten minutes left in regulation when Ko Mu-yeol evened proceedings after capitalizing on a mistake by the defence, and his shot somehow managed to get through and find the back of the net.  The result remained unchanged the rest of the way, although Seongnam could have stole it late.  In the end, both clubs took home a share of the spoils, and Asan will have to wait a little longer for a crack at the summit once again.

Highlights: here 

Ansan Greeners 3-2 Gwangju FC

The clubs at the bottom of the league all had excellent runs out this past weekend, but none was more impressive than the Greeners' win over Gwangju, as they came from behind on two occasions before sealing the win late.  Gwangju got out of the gate early when Lim Min-hyeok put the visitors in front after the match was only three minutes old.  He managed to sneak in behind the Ansan defence and latched on to a free kick to score from close range.

Both teams would share possession fairly evenly the rest of the half, as play flowed from one end of the pitch to the other.  Ansan would draw level just before the half, as Kim Hyun-tae did well to bring Park Jun-hui's ball into the box under control and fired low into the right corner.

The good play from both teams continued in the second half, as they traded goals before the hour mark, with Robson Carlos Duarte giving Gwangju a brief lead in the 55th minute, only for Lee Chang-hoon to restore parity two minutes later.  Duarte could have had a second soon after, but his effort was parried away by Hwang Sung-min.

Ansan would then respond with an attack of their own which would see them into the lead on 63 minutes, when Chang Hyuk-jin got a helper off the post as his free kick put the Greeners in front.  Gwangju was not able to find a way back into the match, and Ansan held on for the win, keeping pace with Seoul E-Land and Anyang, who also won.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Asan and Gwangju have met on three occasions already this season, and it's Gwangju who have a slight edge in the head to head thus far.  Each of the last two fixtures have ended in draws, but Gwangju got the better of Asan during their first meeting in April, where they ran out 2-1 winners away from home.  The fourth encounter will very likely have a direct impact on what happens down the stretch.

Team News

The draw against Seongnam did not change anything in terms of the standings as the Magpies maintain a two point edge atop the league going into the weekend.  However, Asan now have to adjust to life without Hwang In-beom, who was such an integral part of Asan's success up to this point in the season, and his absence was felt very much against Seongnam.

There is, however, a great sense of urgency in the Asan camp, as the month of September is one where every match has to be intense, and it will either signal a rise to the top once again, or may pave a different road for them depending on their results in the coming weeks.  The team has done well to put themselves in the position they are currently in, and would do themselves a favor by going out and getting the result they need.

For Gwangju, it is inevitable that their only chance for promotion will be through the playoffs, and so knowing what they have been able to achieve against Asan thus far this campaign will give them confidence of also going out and looking for a result.  They may, however, still be reeling a bit following their defeat to Ansan, but the away trip should motivate them to bounce back and potentially put a huge dent in Asan's hopes of winning the league.

The Adversary

Gwangju still have some work to do if they are in fact going to be capable of locking up a playoff spot, as they have managed only two wins in their past ten matches, seven being draws, and coming off a loss, and now going on the road again to face a team that is above them in the table.

The loss to Ansan will certainly leave a sour taste in their mouth, so there will be a need to get back to basics if they are going to come back with three points.  Gwangju have been plagued by poor finishing at times this season, and it could be a problem against Asan, who, aside from their crushing 3-0 defeat to Anyang, have looked fairly solid at the back for most of the season.  Gwangju have looked a bit shaky defensively lately, as evidenced in their previous match, so paying attention to their defensive structure will surely be a focal point ahead of their trip to Asan.

Third through seventh in the table are separated currently by only ten points, and with Daejeon now three points in front of them and Suwon FC ripe on their heels, this could be a make or break game for Gwangju which could define the rest of their season.


Both teams come into the match needing a win, and since Asan is at home, they should have a bit of an edge.  It is true that Gwangju is the only of the two sides to win in three matches this season, but that was well before Asan found their form and ran off fourteen unbeaten in a row.

It's tricky to predict which side will have the psychological edge going into this one, but it will come down to which side has a greater sense of urgency to get the result they need to shape the rest of their season as the league enters the stretch run.  Asan have a chance to do something they have never done before - win the league outright and move up to the top division, and a win against Gwangju, while not a certainty, would be a step in the right direction to making that happen.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 2-1 Gwangju FC


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