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Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Asan Mugunghwa

K League 2 Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Asan Mugunghwa

We are quickly coming towards the end of the 2018 season in the K League 2. A season that has been quite memorable for a number of teams in the division. One team who will quickly brush this year under the rug, however, will be last placed side, Seoul E-Land.

Not even a wedding for Seoul E-Land's Lee Hyun-sung could entice The Leopards to a victory over FC Anyang last week in the K League 2. With only three games left of the 2018 calendar for them, they next face another tough opponent in league leaders Asan Mugunghwa. A win for the away side will see them claim the 2018 K League 2 title, can Seoul E-Land spoil the party?

(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Seoul E-Land faced FC Anyang in Jamsil on Sunday afternoon, an occasion marked by a first for many football fans, as they were invited to a wedding post game on the field of play. E-Land may look to use the publicity stunt as an excuse for being distracted though as in the 35th minute of the first half, Ahn Ji-ho headed the ball into his own net. It was a first half of mostly chances for E-Land, and the misfortuned goal came severely against the run of play.

FC Anyang held out, however, and in the second half, kept a strong defense. There were chances for both sides going into the latter stages of the tie, and even a sending off for Seoul’s Kim Chang-wook couldn’t help Anyang improve their score. The Korean midfielder received a second yellow card in the 57th minute and was given his marching orders, in what only could be seen as a 50/50 challenge. Maybe the referee was bitter over not receiving a wedding invite.

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(image via www.facebook.com/seouleland)

Full Time: Seoul E-Land 1- 0 FC Anyang

Asan continued their march towards the title in the evening kick-off on Sunday. They played a Seongnam, a team sat in second place, looking to bring the league down to the wire.

Both teams played defensively in the tie and it wasn’t until the 87th minute, that Cho Sung-jun scored for the police, and to more thank likely hand them the title.

A win for Asan against Seoul on Saturday will, as mentioned before give them the trophy, and it will start the speculation for what will happen to the other teams in the playoff position.

Full Time: Asan Mugunhwa 1-0 Seongnam FC.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two teams met was two months ago in August. Seoul made the journey down to Asan in the hope to continue picking up points on the road. They managed a 2-2 draw against Gwangju in the round previous.

The game was all Asan from the get-go, but their goal in the 41st minute was due to a penalty conceived by Kim Young-kwang. A controversial penalty to say the least as it was clear to see that Glory was first to the ball and no real foul was committed. Ko Mu-yeol converted the ball home to give the home side the lead.

Seoul fought back, however, and caught Asan sleeping from the restart. Ko Cha-won equalized for The Leopards in the 45th minute.

With two goals in quick succession, Seoul were happy to go into the lead level. Yet Asan were not finished with their dominance an were able to make the score 2-1 only a minute later. Cho Sung-jun scoring for the police.

The final nail in the coffin came in the second half when Lee Myeong-ju scored in the 61st minute. Asan claimed all three points for the second time in a row against Seoul, and they will be favored to do so again on Saturday.

Final Score: Asan Mugunhwa 1-3 Seoul E-Land.

Team News

There are not many things harder in life than to try to attempt to predict the starting line up for Seoul E-Land in recent weeks. Just when In Chang-soo is set with a preferred line up, he completely switched it up and changes the formation.

This week, we saw Jeon Min-gwang upfront for The Leopards. Jeon has played most of the season in either left back or center back position, and the change puzzled most fans for the fixture.

Joo Min-kyu and Bielkiewicz had slight knocks and were unavailable for the game against Anyang, the gaffer will hope to see their return on the weekend.

One figure we won't see, however, will be Kim Chang-wook. As mentioned earlier, the Korean picked up two yellow cards in the fixture and will be suspended for the tie.

It will be interesting to see who the boss will actually bring back into the side this week, with some comical choices in the last round, we may see a more grounded formation going into the tie.

The Adversary



Asan come into Saturday’s match with Seoul E-Land knowing that even a draw would be enough to clinch the K League 2 title following their late win over Seongnam last weekend. Jo Seung-joon, who returned from suspension for the first versus second tilt, headed home the winner with only three minutes left of regular time to seal three points and widen Asan’s margin at the summit to seven.

Coach Park Dong-hyuk as well as the players knew the significance of getting a result against their main title contenders, and it was a tight and difficult affair, but both sides left everything on the pitch.

Asan were a constant threat moving forward thanks to the pace of Ahn Hyun-beom and Jo Seong-joon, but the Seongnam back four held their line well, at least until the 87th minute when the deadlock was finally broken following a corner. Seongnam couldn’t create much moving forward because of Asan’s ability to close to the ball and also because of their movement and distribution, especially in the middle third.

Despite protests from former players because of the decision to halt recruitment, the club is set to disband at the end of the season. A decision had previously been passed by the government last year to abolish the auxiliary police by 2023, but that sports teams would feel an immediate impact.

“It’s just painful that the club that I played for during my military duty is going to be disbanded,” current Suwon midfielder Yeom Ki-hun was quoted as saying recently. He played for Mugunghwa between 2012 and 2013.

“The reason why I can still play in the K League is the existence of the police club,” he added.

Akin to the current situation, several players recently left the club, including Kim

Hyun, who returned to Jeju United after playing a starring role with the military side in recent months. This is a precedent for the league – it has never happened before that a team which was set for automatic promotion to the top flight should be dissolved at the end of the season. Asan have played some of the best football in Korea this year, and it will dig deep for players, especially those in the youth system who are now facing uncertain futures.

There is one omission for Asan when it comes to matters of how they will line up on Saturday afternoon. Kim Dong-jin picked up his third yellow card of the season in the match against Seongnam, thus he will not be available for selection. It is highly likely that Park Dong-hyuk will continue to go with the 4-3-3 with which he has had a great deal of success in important matches this season. If all goes according to plan, the club will hoist the trophy at home on November 4th, the final home match for the 2016 K League 2 champions at the Yi Sun-shin Stadium, when they host Anyang.

Prediction

It will be interesting to see if Seoul E-Land can pick up a single point from now until the end of the season. Asan only needs a win to claim the title and will be licking their lips at the idea of facing the bottom of the league.

I just hope the Asan have mercy on E-Land in their quest to the title, as the way both teams are playing at the moment, this could be a landslide.

My prediction: Seoul E-Land 0-3 Asan Mugunghwa

Branko’s Score Prediction: Seoul E-Land 1-2 Asan Mugunghwa

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