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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Seoul E-Land

Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Seoul E-Land K League 2
Ansan Greeners take on Seoul E-Land this Saturday afternoon in a ninth versus tenth affair in the penultimate K League 2 round of the season. The hosts presently hold a five-point lead over In Chang-soo’s side, and a draw or a win from this clash will ensure that Lim Wan-seop’s boys avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out


The Green Wolves played out a goalless draw against third-placed Busan IPark away at the Gudeok Stadium last Sunday. The visitors were indebted to goalkeeper, Lee Hee-seong’s fine performance between the Greeners’ sticks. Having spurned a glorious chance before the end of the first half after slicing well wide from close-range, Kim Moon-hwan’s shot at redemption after the restart was superbly turned away by the inspired Ansan goalie, who produced a stunning low one-handed save to keep out the winger’s angled drive. Hee-seong then bravely blocked at the feet of substitute forward, Han Ji-ho, to deny what looked like being a certain goal. 

The away team’s chances were few and far between; captain, Park Jun-hee’s volley from Jang Hyeok-jin’s cross following a short corner on the hour mark, which was kept out well by the fists of Koo Sang-min, was the best of the lot.

Final score: Busan IPark 0-0 Ansan Greeners

Highlights: here

Seoul E-Land welcomed Asan Mugunghwa to Jamsil last Saturday afternoon, where a win for Asan saw them crowned as K League 2 Champions. The first goal came from an Ahn Seong-bin own goal. For the second week in a row, Seoul found themselves a goal down due to a mistake from a defender. It took Park Dong-hyeok’s team a little over two minutes after the restart to double their lead, as Lee Myeong-joo made it 2-0 in the 47th minute.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts soon after, following a VAR decision when Mugunghwa were awarded a penalty, which Kim Do-hyeok converted in the 63rd minute. VAR played a role again in the 78th minute, as it was first suspected that Kim Ryun-do’s goal to make it 4-0 was offside for the police. After the referee’s take, the away side were given their fourth goal and handed the Challenge title.

By Michael Redmond

Final Score: Seoul E-Land 0-4 Asan Mugunghwa 

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings


E-Land have a 100% record over the Greeners this campaign, having recorded three consecutive victories over their fellow strugglers to date in 2018. In Chang-soo’s men ran out two-nil winners at the Olympic Stadium in the most recent meeting between the two teams in mid-July. Choi Oh-baek opened the scoring early in the second half, side-footing past Lee Hee-seong following a delightful through ball from Kim Jae-woong. The points were sewn up six minutes later by Cho Jae-wan’s dinked finish over Hee-seong after a quick throw-in from Jeon Min-gwang caught the Ansan defence napping. 

The Green Wolves were beaten at the Wa~ by the same scoreline in early June with Argentine, Diego Bielkiewicz inspiring the Leopards to a well-deserved victory. Seoul also won the first encounter of the season in this fixture, coming from a goal down with ten men to win 2-1 with the last kick of the game, courtesy of Cho Jae-wan’s wizardry at the end of April.

Team News

Ansan midfielders, Kim Tae-hyeon and Park Jin-seob are pushing for starting berths after impressing from the bench in the draw with Busan. Kim Hyeon-tae is also in consideration for first-team selection, the ex-Jeonnam Dragons player was demoted to the substitutes’ bench last time out, an unfortunate casualty of Lim Wan-seop's 5-4-1 setup.

For the visitors, In Chang-soo has decided for the last three games that one of the most prolific players for E-Land, Choi Oh-baek, will sit on the bench and come on in the second half. The Seoul gaffer also believes it’s an intelligent decision to drop the two foreign players, in Bielkiewicz and Ivan Herceg, from the squad. Both men have both made their mark throughout the season, and cannot get into the side.

The Leopards boss also believes that putting a player, Jeon Min-gwang, who has played for most of the season at centre-back or left-back, upfront is the way forward for his team in saving any further embarrassment. Picking a team for Seoul E-Land is not possible at the moment, it is becoming almost satirical with regard to the absurdity of Chang-soo’s decision making. Let’s just hope that a more stable eleven will be picked at the Wa~.

By Michael Redmond

The Adversary

Seoul E-Land will travel down to Ansan on the weekend sitting rock bottom of the league. With comical formations, key players being dropped or benched, and fan numbers continuing to dwindle, the Leopards have already checked out of the 2018 season, and may well be looking ahead to some big changes in the new year.

The team has lost 19 games this season, and conceded 52 in just 34 matches. The charm of Seoul beating the big teams and having the underdog status has long but gone now, and they have well and truly been defined as the whipping boys in this year’s campaign.

Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Seoul E-Land K League 2 In Chang-soo
Seoul E-Land have won just nine matches under In Chang-soo in 2018 (image via K League)
There is however some welcome encouragement for Seoul heading into the game against the Green Wolves on the weekend, they are undefeated against Ansan this season. All three previous games ended in victory for the capital club, and E-Land will be looking to replicate this feat if they are to save what little face they have left.

Ironically, a win for Seoul on Saturday will see them better their points tally of last term, but 2017 came with an amazing amount of draws (14). Where Seoul could say they were unlucky in drawing so many games last year, most of 2018's results have been wholly avoidable, and E-Land's football has been bland as a spectacle.

With the Jamsil Sports Complex set for a refurbishment, and no official word on a replacement venue for their 2019 home fixtures as of yet, Seoul E-Land are mounting more and more problems as a club, and a massive transformation will be in order, if they are to seriously look to improve themselves as an established K League 2 identity.

By Michael Redmond

Who To Watch

Shin Il-soo has been an ever-present under Lim Wan-seop; his versatility gives the Greeners boss greater defensive options. Shin has been deployed as both a centre-back and holding midfielder so far, and shone in a centre-half role during the stalemate with IPark at the weekend. Il-soo was a commanding presence throughout and made a number of headed clearances and crucial blocks, most notably from Ko Kyung-min’s goal-bound effort.

Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Seoul E-Land K League 2 Shin Il-soo
Shin Ilsoo after scoring against Bucheon in R13 (image via K League)
The 6’2” colossus offered an attacking threat on Sunday too, his cross-come-shot almost eluded Koo Sang-min’s reach. The 24 year-old also headed narrowly over from Jang Hyeok-jin’s free-kick deep into stoppage time. Manager Lim Wan-seop will be hoping that Il-soo can chip in with a few more goals however. The former E-Land man has just the one goal to his name this term, which came in the score-draw at Bucheon Stadium back in late May.

As for Seoul E-Land, forward, Cho Jae-wan has six goals in K League 2 this season, and has held an Indian sign over the Greeners, having scored on four occasions against them already this term, including a match winning brace in Jamsil in April. In Chang-soo may be tempted to start him in this one given his team’s woes in front of goal.

Prediction

The Leopards have the worst defensive record in the league this year, having conceded on a staggering fifty two occasions, and with six losses in their last seven games, confidence is at rock-bottom amongst the E-Land players. Ansan will fancy their chances of exacting some revenge on In Chang-soo’s team after their last two positive displays against Bucheon 1995 and Busan IPark, Lim Wan-seop now has key duo, Choi Ho-joo and Lee Geon, available for selection and will be hoping his side’s recent good form continues in this basement battle.

Score prediction: Ansan Greeners 2-1 Seoul E-Land

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