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Preview: Busan IPark vs Bucheon 1995

After losing ground on the K2 leaders last weekend, Busan IPark will be looking to solidify their position in the playoff places this Sunday. Their visitors to the Gudeok Stadium are Bucheon 1995, who got off to a flying start this season but have since endured a hugely disappointing campaign.

Last Time Out

Busan's chances at automatic promotion took a heavy blow last weekend with a home defeat to Daejeon Citizen. Busan started brightly with some neat interplay and quick passing, and left-back Kim Chi-woo went close to opening the scoring with a rasping shot from distance that went narrowly wide. Kim Hyun-sung then missed a golden opportunity for the hosts, heading wide from six yards after Daejeon keeper Park Joon-hyuk parried Ko Kyung-min's effort.

Daejeon steadily grew into the game, however, and they dominated for long spells before the break, with Shin Hak-yeong forcing Busan's Koo Sang-min into a good low save as they pushed for the opener. The game then turned in their favour when Busan midfielder Lee Jae-kwon was sent off less than a minute after the restart for a tackle in the centre circle that the referee deemed dangerous. Five minutes later Daejeon took the lead, Park In-hyeok rising above Kim Chi-woo to head home Kim Seung-seop's deep cross from the left wing.

Keeper Koo Sang-min kept Busan in the game with an outstanding close-range save to deny Park In-hyeok his second goal, and the home team scored an unlikely equaliser when Ko Kyung-min finished well after Romulo's quickly-taken free-kick with fifteen minutes to play. Daejeon had the final say, however, with Park Dae-hoon's excellent low cross into the six-yard box converted by Aurelian Chitu.

The match finished 2-1 to Daejeon, and you can watch the highlights here.

Bucheon 1995, meanwhile, continued their torrid run of form with a 3-1 defeat away to Anyang. Anyang's Lee Sang-yong opened the scoring after twenty minutes, and Bucheon's task became all the more difficult when Song Hong-min was sent off his second yellow card on the half-hour mark. Anyang doubled their lead through Kim Won-min before the break, and a third followed on 76 minutes through Jung Jae-hee. Bucheon's Gong Min-hyun did score a late consolation for the visitors, but it was too little too late.

You can watch the highlights of that game here.

Previous Meetings

Bucheon have had the best of the meetings between these teams this year. They have won two of the three league games, with the other game ending in a draw. Busan's only win against Bucheon in 2018 came in the third round of the FA Cup back in April.

Results in 2018:
Busan IPark 2-1 Bucheon 1995 (FA Cup)
Bucheon 1995 1-0 Busan IPark
Bucheon 1995 0-0 Busan IPark
Busan IPark 1-2 Bucheon 1995

Team News

Busan can finally welcome back Kim Moon-hwan after his return from national team duty. Kim was the regular right-back for the U-23 team that triumphed at the Asian Games, and the 23 year-old's month got even better recently when he made his debut for the senior national team. Kim appeared as a late substitute in Korea's friendlies against Costa Rica and Chile, and the versatile speedster will hope to go straight back into the Busan XI this weekend.

Elsewhere, Busan will be without vice-captain Lee Jae-kwon after his straight red card last weekend, so Kim Jin-gyu could drop back into central midfield next to Romulo, with Arsenio Valpoort, Lee Dong-joon or Kim Moon-hwan taking his place in one of the wing roles. Alternatively, veteran holding midfielder Song Chang-ho could come back into the side after returning from injury last weekend.

Kim Hyun-sung and Choi Seung-in have been sharing striker duties in recent games, but Sherjill MacDonald is also an option. The Dutch 33 year-old, a former West Brom player, has hardly featured since his summer move because of injury, but he returned last weekend as a substitute and is likely to be involved again.

The Adversary

Bucheon 1995 started the season as one of the favourites for automatic promotion, especially after a lightning start that saw them win their first five games of the year. They have only managed four wins since that golden March, however, and they have now lost nine of their last twelve matches. They now sit in seventh place, eight points off the playoff spots and only two points above Ansan Greeners at the foot of the table.

Goals have dried up in recent weeks (they've scored four in their last eight games), and only Anyang have conceded more goals this year. Much was expected of former Busan forward Willian Popp this season, and he was prolific in the early stages, scoring in each of his first five appearances, but only two have come since then and he has missed Bucheon's last four games.

Who To Watch 

In each of the previous meetings between these sides this year, one of Bucheon's standout performers was Nilson Junior. The defensive midfielder played 60 times for Busan over two spells between 2014 and 2016, and he will be looking to frustrate his former teammates once again this weekend. The big Brazilian reads the game well and usually occupies the hole in front of the defence, snuffing out attacks in dangerous areas. On Sunday he will come up against Busan's goal-poaching attacking midfielder Ko Kyung-min, and the outcome of their battle will go a long way to deciding Sunday's result.


Bucheon have had the better of these encounters this year but they are on a rotten run and Busan will be eager to bounce back from a damaging defeat last weekend. The home side have more to play for and I expect them to get back on track on Sunday.

Busan IPark 3-1 Bucheon 1995

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