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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Suwon FC

With a lot of doubt surrounding the team with regards to its future, Asan still have football to play in the meantime.  On Saturday, they welcome Suwon FC, who have looked better in the second half of the season after a sluggish first half.  Asan scraped a 2-1 win away to Busan IPark last time out, while Suwon suffered a setback in their quest for a playoff berth, falling 3-1 to a resurgent Anyang.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Suwon FC
Venue: Asan Sports Complex
Kickoff: Saturday September 29th, 2018; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Busan IPark 1-2 Asan Mugunghwa

Despite falling behind very early, a quick response and some cool finishing allowed Asan to come away from Busan with all three points.  Arsenio Valpoort put the hosts in front after only two minutes, but Kim Hyun answered almost immediately for Asan, and Ahn Hyun-beom notched the winner with just under twenty minutes to play.

Valpoort streaked in on the left and capitalized on his own rebound to put Busan ahead out of the gate.  Asan would respond quickly, and things were level again after only four minutes had ticked off the clock, thanks to Kim Hyun who was able to find the back of the net from close range following a free kick.  Possession stayed fairly equal for the rest of the half, but neither team was able to go back into the lead.

In the second half, Asan came out the stronger side, and could have went in front just past the hour mark through Park Se-jik, but his half volleyed effort was kept out by a diving Kim Hyung-keun.  The military side would find the front courtesy of Ahn Hyun-beom's left foot in the 71st minute as he was played through and slotted the ball past Kim for a lead that they would not relinquish up to the final whistle.  The win, coupled with Seongnam's draw at home to Ansan put Asan top of the table, and in sole possession of the league lead once again.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Asan has had a major advantage in the head to head series this season, winning on all three occasions, without having conceded a single goal in the process.  

Hwang In-beom and Ko Mu-yeol netted in the first meeting of the season, a 2-0 victory in March.  When the teams met the second time in June, Asan won again, this time on the road, thanks to goals from Kim Jong-gook and Han Eui-kwon on either side of halftime.  They managed to keep a clean sheet as well, despite the sending off of Lee Chang-yong in the 72nd minute.  

The last meeting between them in July was decided by only a goal, as it was Kim Hyun who got his name on the score sheet in the 72nd minute, and, it would hold up until the final whistle.   

Team News

A dark cloud remains over the club as there has been a halt to recruiting new players, and should the situation continue until the end of the season, Asan will not be eligible to play in either league next season.  The K League has already motioned that it will file a complaint against the club.  The hope is that with the league taking action with regards to the situation, that club officials will be able to come up with a plan so that playing next season will be possible.

Coach Park Dong-hik realizes the magnitude of the situation, but insists that his players should continue to compete despite the difficulties.

"The atmosphere is cluttered, but I think we should do better when this happens.  Maybe the players feel the same.  I will do my best to make the remaining matches look good," he said recently in a press release.  

"I will repay the support of the fans of Asan by winning," he added.

Hwang In-beom's departure from the team was delayed, and also caused a bit of a stir within the organization, but, with him now out of the picture, Kim Do-hyuk will be counted on to shoulder more of the load.  Goal scorer Kim Hyun picked up a yellow card against Busan, as did Kim Jong-gook, so a few changes could be expected in the side.

In other news, goalkeeper Park Ju-won will play his final match in an Asan uniform on Saturday.  He is in his last year of military service, and due to return to Daejeon Citizen, the team has confirmed.

The Adversary

Suwon have had a bit of an inconsistent second half, but, despite losses in four consecutive matches ahead of Saturday night, still occupy fourth position in the table, with a healthy six point edge over Gwangju in fifth.  

When the season began, they were tipped as one of the favorites for promotion, and it seemed they were starting to take a turn in the right direction as they reeled off five successive matches without a loss, but have come back down to earth somewhat, having netted only twice during their current skid.

While their league ranking seems intact at the moment, if they continue to fall on the short end of the spectrum results wise, key matches against Busan IPark, Daejeon, and Gwangu will determine whether they are a team worthy of the playoffs or not.  But, first they will have to get the Asan monkey off their backs if they want to stay in the race.


Asan have won all three matches between the two this season, and with the military side playing some very solid football at the moment, they look a sure lock for a season sweep of their opponents on Saturday night.

Suwon are struggling again, and it does not seem as if they will have what it takes to get the job done on the road.  On the other hand, they are only three points out of third, and that should be the motivation they need to at least try to get a positive result from their away trip.

Asan are definitely favorites in this one, and can take confidence from not having surrendered a single goal to Suwon this season.  With it also being Park Ju-won's farewell, the players would surely love nothing more than for him to keep a clean sheet in his final match with the club.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 2-0 Suwon FC   

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