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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Ansan Greeners

Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Ansan Greeners K League 2
Asan can consider themselves to have had a massive stroke of fortune last weekend after they allowed Daejeon to emerge victorious by a score of 2-1, but still hold on to top spot in K2 by virtue of Seoul E-Land's triumph over Seongnam.  Ansan, meanwhile, fell on home turf by a 2-0 count to FC Anyang.  This Sunday's clash will be pivotal for both sides, but for very different reasons.  KLU's Branko Belan and Mike Brandon preview the K League 2 encounter.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Ansan Greeners
Venue: Yisunshin Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday October 14th, 2018; 17:00 KST

Last Time Out

Daejeon Citizen 2-1 Asan Mugunghwa

The first fifteen minutes did not see the league leaders make much of an impact on the match.  By the half hour mark, Asan had their first man in the book, as Ku Dae-yeong was adjudged to have committed a rash challenge.  Asan's play continued to improve in the later stages of the first half, and they went in front through Kim Hyun, who pounced on a poor back pass, found himself one on one with Park Jun-hyuk, and calmly converted the chance with a low shot to the 'keeper's right.

Asan was content to hold onto their advantage for most of the second half, but Min Sang-gi became the second player to be booked for the visitors.  Things progressively got worse for Asan, as Daejeon were awarded a penalty, on what looked to be a bit of a soft call, but Hwang In-beom stepped up and knotted the scoreline at one with under ten minutes to play. 

It was then the goal scorer Kim, who was sent off with a straight red following another unnecessary challenge.  Originally, he was given a yellow, but the match officials in the booth decided to have a second look, and it resulted in Asan being reduced to ten men.  Shohruh Gadoev would capitalize for the hosts with only minutes remaining, and Daejeon would take all three points, keeping a one point edge over Busan IPark in the process.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The sides have met three times this season, and Asan have won all three, having not conceded a goal against the Greeners in the process.  The first matchup in March ended in a 1-0 home victory, with Ko Mu-yeol scoring the only goal of the match in the 48th minute.

When the sides met again in July, this time at the Wa Stadium, Kim Min-gyoon and Lee Myung-joo were on the scoresheet, while Ahn Hyun-beom scored the winner when they squared off in August.

Team News

Park Ju-won played his final match in an Asan uniform last Saturday against his parent club, and it looks highly likely that Yang Hyung-mo will become the new number one for the rest of the season.  

The 27 year old goalkeeper on loan from Suwon Bluewings since the start of the year, has not seen action in the league so far this year, so there is a bit of concern as to how he will respond to the challenge.  

He did make two appearances in the FA Cup, however, first in the Round of 16 against Jeonbuk Hyundai, a 2-1 victory for Asan, and then again in the quarter-finals against Jeonnam Dragons, in what ended a 5-3 penalty shootout win for the K League 1 side.

In other team news, Ju Se-jeong will return from suspension for Asan, while Kim Hyun will serve his, after getting sent off late against Daejeon.

The Adverary

After caretaker manager Lee Youngmin picked up 10 points in five games during his brief spell in charge of the Greeners, it seemed odd for the club to appoint a new manager at this stage.  If it was to give former Ansan youth coach Lim Win-seop a chance to experiment with his players with nothing left to play for, it could be understood, but after the announcement that the Police franchise would be folding at the end of the season and fifth place was now a play-off spot, there were fears that this surprise yet achievable late season target might be knocked off course.

Greener’s fans' fears were proven correct after one of the drabbest Ansan performances in the Line 4 Derby in a long time.  Dropping Song Ju-ho from defence and putting Conneh at the tip of the attack, after some decent performances by Park Kwa-noo, proved costly as Ansan went down 2-0 at the Wa Stadium.  Obviously, this is not Lim’s team of formation, playing a 4-1-4-1 again, and things will take time, which makes the decision to announce the manager now and not at the end of the season, or after the playoffs were out of reach all the stranger.  Lim did get some applause as he came over the fans after the game to show his appreciation, and hopefully he can lead Ansan into a successful 2019.

While the new manager obviously wants to see which players fit into his system, and where work needs to be done over the winter in terms of ins and outs, this will surely only contribute to the police franchise claiming one last title to cap off their history.  Expect Ansan to keep their 4-1-4-1 formation, with right-back Park Ju-hee as captain.

Hwang Seong-min was restored as the Ansan 'keeper after a gaff by Lee Hee-seong against Daejeon in what has seemingly been a rotation this season for these two 'keepers.  Hwang was solid in 2017 so he should now keep the gloves until the end of the season. The big question will be the centre forward, will Raul, who has suffered from injury throughout the season be the number 9 or with Park Kwanoo return to lead the line, or will the manager take one last look at Conneh?  For Asan fans, this at least will be a treat, as it was a great feeling to win the Second Division title as Ansan Mugunghwa, and I can only predict that Ansan will present another three points in their quest.


Prediction

With the final head to head matchup looming against Seongnam next week, Asan need to secure a win in order to regain some of the confidence they lost in the setback against Daejeon.  Being without Kim Hyun will certainly will not help matters, but there is still a lot of quality through the side to get the job done.  

Having a psychological edge over their weekend opponents in the form of not having tasted defeat against them this season will also play a factor, especially with the military side in the friendly confines of their home pitch.

Ansan will hopefully put together a better performance in comparison to last time out, as they have shown on occasion this season that they are capable of getting results, but going up against the best team in the league at the moment may just be too tall an order.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 2-0 Ansan Greeners 

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