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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs FC Anyang


Newly crowned K League 2 champions Asan Mugunghwa face FC Anyang in what could be their final home match at Yi Sun-shin stadium on Sunday afternoon.  A resounding 4-0 victory over Seoul E-Land last weekend gave them top honors with two rounds left to play.  With their future yet to be decided, a win at home should be their main focus.  KLU's Branko Belan previews the upcoming fixture.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs FC Anyang
Venue: Yi Sun-shin Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday November 4th, 2018; 17:00 KST

Last Time Out

Seoul E-Land 0-4 Asan Mugunghwa

Asan came into last weekend's match knowing they needed only a draw to secure the K League 2 title.  They did much more than that, sealing the win with three goals in the second half, adding further misery to what has been a lackluster season for the bottom side.

Asan would hit the front on fourteen minutes when Kim Do-hyuk floated a cross into the area from a free kick on the right flank, and An Sung-bin's unlucky touch steered the ball into his own net.  Chances would be few and far between for both sides the rest of the way in the opening half, as Asan maintained their one goal advantage going into the break.

After the re-start, Asan would move up into another gear.  They doubled their advantage after only two minutes, when Lee Myung-joo capitalized on a loose ball in the area and powered it home from close range after E-Land 'keeper Kim Young-kwang failed to corral an Ahn Hyun-beom free kick.  

Their third would come via a penalty, after Jo Seong-joon was fouled in the area.  Initially, no call was made, but the decision went to VAR, and the referee pointed to the spot.  Kim Do-hyuk would convert easily, hitting the ball into the roof of the net, putting the result beyond any doubt.

Kim Ryun-do would add a fourth in the 78th minute as he was played into space with a through pass from Cho Beom-seok, then went round the 'keeper and slotted the ball into a gaping net.  The goal was called off for offside at first, but VAR was consulted a second time and the marker was allowed to stand.

The final whistle brought jubilation to the military side, as they clinched the title they had fought so hard all season to obtain.  There will be an official trophy presentation after the match on Sunday to commemorate what has been a season for everyone involved with the club to remember.

Highlights: here  

Previous Meetings

The season series between the two clubs has been even, with both winning once at home by identical 3-0 margins, while the first time they faced each other in March ended in a 1-1 draw.  Han Eui-kwon for Asan and Jeong Hee-woong for Anyang were the goal scorers for their respective clubs.

When they met for the second time in May, Asan walked away 3-0 winners on the strength of an Ahn Hyun-beom brace inside the final ten minutes, while Anyang won by the same score in their third meeting in September, with Choi Jae-hoon, Alex, and Eun Song-soo getting on the score sheet for the club now fighting for their playoff lives after a slow first half this calendar year.

Team News

Asan's future will be decided next Monday when the league will convene for a board meeting where they hope to find a solution to the decision taken by the Police Agency to curtail recruitment for next season, according to Yonhap.  With twelve players set to leave at the end of February next year, the club will not have enough players to meet the quota necessary to compete in the league.

The club has until November 11th to present a recruitment plan.  Failure to do so will mean that Asan will not earn automatic promotion to K League 1, afforded to the league champions.

There was speculation even very early in the season, as Hwang In-beom was quoted as saying in April that the players would most likely "not play in the playoffs" this year.  There is still hope, however, now that they have won the league, that a solution to the crisis can be found.

In other team news, there are no suspensions for Asan, although both Kim Min-kyun and Kim Ryun-do picked up yellow cards against Seoul E-Land, so they may not see game action on Sunday afternoon.

The Adversary



Anyang have had a much better second half of the season after getting out of the gates slowly.  They currently sit in sixth spot in the league, and come in having won three of their past four matches.  They will have to keep up their momentum if they do not want to end up on the outside looking in, as Suwon FC and Bucheon 1995 are still hot on their heels.

Failure to get a result could be catastrophic for them, but, things could still very much go in their favor, as Suwon host Seongnam, who are leading the rest of the pack at current on 59 points, while Bucheon make an unfavorable trip away to Daejeon.  They also can take confidence in the fact that they already have one emphatic win over Asan this season.  With a lot at stake, they will not simply run out onto the pitch to get beaten.  Coming into the match following a 2-1 loss will give them the motivation they need to bounce back and get a result.

Prediction

Asan have won three matches in a row, scoring seven goals and conceding none over that short span, and, despite having won the title already, would surely like to get a bit of revenge for the loss they suffered at the hands of their Sunday opponents the last time the two sides met.

Anyang, meanwhile, had their three match winning streak snapped against Gwangju last weekend, but still have a shot at the playoffs, especially if the league decision regarding Asan does not go in the champions' favor.

The deciding factor, however, will be home field, which falls to Asan.  The champions have only fallen twice at home this season, 2-1 to Gwangju at the end of April, and then 1-0 to Daejeon in mid-May, which sparked their extended unbeaten run to put them in position for the league crown.  Asan also have their fans to play for and a trophy to hoist, so anything less than three points would taint the occasion, thus, it is expected that their good form will carry them to yet another victory.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 2-0 FC Anyang 

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