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Preview: Daejeon Citizen vs Busan IPark

Preview: Daejeon Citizen vs Busan IPark K League 2
A huge clash in the race for promotion from K League 2 sees fourth place Daejeon Citizen host third place Busan IPark. Whilst both teams are seemingly set for a playoff campaign come November regardless of Sunday's result, the outcome of IPark's visit to Purple Arena could have a huge say in which team will get home advantage in the playoffs, or even a place in the Promotion Final. A win for Ko Jongsoo's Citizen side would be enough to leapfrog Busan and put the Purples in the driving seat for third place once again whilst three points for the visitors could give Busan a shot at second place and potential automatic promotion.
(image via K League)

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Suwon FC 3-2 Daejeon Citizen

The Purples' incredible unbeaten run came to an end last Saturday when Ko Jongsoo's men conceded late into stoppage time at Castle Park against Suwon FC. Daejeon twice came from behind to level the scoring, firstly through an Lee Jaeahn own goal on 32 minutes after Kim Daeho had put the hosts in front by guiding home a Baek Sungdong corner with a front post header just seven minutes earlier. Then, after a Ko Myeongseok own goal had given Suwon the lead, Aurelian Chițu pegged Suwon back on 79 minutes, sweeping the ball into the back of the net from close range. Kim Seungseop's deep cross looked to be going out of play, and with the Suwon players caught flat-footed, Tursanov sent the ball back across goal for Chițu to level. However, in stoppage time, Baek Sungdong sealed the points after following up on a rebounded Viana effort from inside the box.

Highlights: here

Busan IPark 3-1 Seoul E-Land

Busan made it three wins on the spin thanks to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Seoul E-Land at the Gudeok Stadium last Sunday. Three goals without reply in the first half had the hosts cruising heading into the interval, Ko Kyungmin, Kim Jingyu, and Park Jungang with goals in the 1st, 28th, and 38th minutes respectively. Former FC Seoul winger, Cho Chanho, pulled a goal back late on but proved to be scant consolation for In Changsoo's side. E-Land remain rooted to the foot of the table, Busan, though, leapfrogged Daejeon and back into third place.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The first encounter between Daejeon and Busan this season ended in a 1-0 win for Busan when Choi Yoongyeom's men visited Purple Arena in March. A Lee Dongjun penalty after 10 minutes being the only goal of the game. However, the last two meetings have proven to be more fruitful for the Purples having picked up four points from six during their last two visits to the south coast. The most recent of which was played at the Gudeok where an Aurelian Chițu goal in the 91st minute sealed a dramatic late win for Citizen. Park Inhyeok had given Daejeon a 50th minute lead only for Ko Kyungmin to level on 76. Chițu's 91st minute strike gave Citizen their first away win over Busan in over 10 years.

Citizen have failed to win the last three meetings with Busan at Purple Arena and have to hark back to April 2016 for their last home win over IPark - a 2-1 victory with goals from Kim Dongchan and Yoo Seungwan, Willian Popp for Busan.

From the 45 meetings Daejeon have just 14 wins to Busan's 21 with the remaining 10 ending as stalemates. Twelve of Daejeon's 14 wins have come at Daejeon World Cup Stadium but only six of Busan's 16 have come on the road.

Team News

Daejeon will have Hwang Inbeom available for selection again after returning from international duty. The midfielder made a late substitute appearance in Korean's 2-1 win over Uruguay in Seoul on Friday before commemorating his first full cap with a goal, netting Korea's second in a 2-2 draw with Panama in Cheonan on Tuesday. However, Park Sooil will be forced to sit out the visit of Busan through suspension. The midfielder turned full back, who is the K League 2 leading assist maker, picked up a third caution for the season during the away reverse to Suwon last Saturday and will force Coach Ko into a personnel change at full back. Park Jaewoo is likely to deputise.

Daejeon Starting XI vs Suwon FC
Busan have no injuries to be concerned with and will have Kim Moonhwan available again after the young wing-back's involvement in the Korean National Team's recent friendly matches. However, IPark do have a number of players who are just a scribble in the referee's notebook from serving a one-match ban, most notably Kim Jingyu, Ko Kyungmin, Jung Hojung, and Rômulo. Another caution to their name would mean missing the home fixture with Ansan Greeners next week.

The Adversary


Three weeks ago it looked as though Busan IPark might be in danger of losing their spot in the playoffs. After five winless matches and some below-par performances, their season seemed to be fizzling out at the vital time. Now, after stringing three wins together and producing some of their best football of the season while the teams around them have dropped points, promotion is back within their sights.

Coach Choi Yoongyeom has to receive credit for the way he's dealt with a defensive injury crisis that has seen all five of his regular centre-backs out of action in recent weeks. Installing full-backs Kwon Jinyoung and Ku Hyeonjoon into the heart of the defence could have backfired spectacularly, but after a shaky start both have impressed in the recent wins. The change to a back-three system in the last two games (convincing 3-0 and 3-1 wins) also seems to bring the best out of the players at Choi's disposal.

One of Busan's missing pieces this year has been a striker who can score goals (first choice Kim Hyunsung has only scored once in 18 matches), but the midfield has stepped up admirably to help make Busan the league's top scorers. Kim Jingyu (7 goals, 2 assists) has come of age this year, Ko Kyungmin (9 goals, 4 assists) has been as reliable as ever, and Rômulo has been outstanding (7 goals, 8 assists). With the likes of Kim Moonhwan and Han Jiho also chipping in, there are a lot of goals in this team, and with these players Busan will always be in with a chance of winning games.

Busan IPark Starting XI vs Seoul E-Land
Sunday's game will be absolutely vital as the top teams jostle for positions in the frantic race for promotion. Having lost to an injury-time winner when these teams last met, Busan will be out for revenge. In that game, Busan went down to ten men almost immediately after the restart and were unlucky not to come away with a point despite being a man down for essentially the entire second half. With eleven players on the field and the momentum of three wins in their pocket, Busan will be hungry for this one. With Seongnam struggling above them and the possibility of automatic promotion not completely out of sight, there could be no better motivation.

By Tom Marcantonio

Who To Watch

Daejeon Citizen: Aurelian Chițu

Preview: Daejeon Citizen vs Busan IPark K League 2 Aurelian Chițu
Chițu celebrates his winning goal versus Ansan Greeners (image via K League)
Daejeon's leading scorer, Aurelian Chițu, quickly became a key player for the Purples, after joining the Club after round five of the current season. A signing from Romanian Liga 1 side Viitorul. Chițu has 10 goals to his name this term and can boast of a conversion rate of 23%. For comparison, K2 leading scorer Na Sangho of Gwangju has a 24% conversion rate and 15 goals. In terms of shooting accuracy, Chițu takes some beating having hit the target with 62% of his shots, more than Na Sangho with 56%. In the penalty area 25 of Chițu's 31 shots have hit the target, a percentage of 81%, over 20% more than Na Sangho. The 27 year-old also has 53 key passes to his name this term and is expected to play down the centre in a Daejeon front three. Having scored twice against Busan already this term, the Romanian will be one for IPark to be wary of.

Busan IPark: Kim Jingyu

Kim Jingyu has seven goals from 24 starts this term for Busan (image via K League)
Attacking midfielder/winger Kim Jingyu is in his fourth season for Busan IPark having come through the ranks to make his debut during the 2015 season during which he made 14 appearances, scoring one goal - ironically against Daejeon Citizen in a 2-1 IPark win. Since then Kim has made 58 league appearances for IPark with 28 of those coming this term, 24 from the start. The 21 year-old is Busan's second-top scorer behind Ko Kyungmin with seven and has a shooting accuracy percentage of 58% and 80% from inside the area. All seven of Kim's goals this terms have come in games which Busan haven't lost and four of which were away from home.

Prediction

Make no mistake this is a big, big game and one which neither team will be wanting to drop points in given how close they are to each other in the table, not to mention what spoils could be on offer later down the line should they take all three points. Saturday's visit of Busan will be the fourth time Daejeon have met this term but, given how both look set to compete in the playoffs, may not be the last. Taking the K League 2 at face value with Asan Mugunghwa as the leaders and Seongnam in second, whoever wins this match would then be in the driving seat for home advantage should Daejeon and Busan meet again in the semifinals.

However, given Asan's troubles and the uncertainty surrounding their future, it could be Seongnam who are the team to catch for automatic promotion. Busan are five points behind, Daejeon seven but play Seongnam away next week. The winner of this match could then, not only get a bye into the Promotion Final, but may also stake a claim for a shot at automatic promotion. Neither side know how to play defensively and neither team will want to for that matter. If the last two matches are anything to go by then this potential playoff warm up match will be a real cracker - an entertaining game with goals in a home win.

Predicted Score: Daejeon Citizen 3-2 Busan IPark

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