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Preview: Busan IPark vs Gwangju FC

Preview: Busan IPark vs Gwangju FC K League 2
With two games of the K League 2 season to play, Busan IPark need to win their remaining games and hope that Seongnam drop points to stand any chance of automatic promotion. Their visitors to the Gudeok Stadium on Sunday afternoon are fifth-placed Gwangju FC, who are still in the mix for the playoffs and have it all to play for. 
(image via K League)

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Busan IPark missed the chance to keep automatic promotion in their own hands after being held at home to Ansan Greeners last weekend. In a tepid first half, Jang Hyuk-jin had the visitors' best effort with an early rasping drive from 30 yards that sailed narrowly wide. Busan saw more of the ball than the Green Wolves but struggled to turn their possession into clear-cut chances, and Kim Moon-hwan sent their best opportunity high and wide before half time.

The second half was more open, but it wasn't until the hour mark that a shot on target was recorded, a comfortable punch for Busan's Koo Sang-min denying Ansan captain Park Jun-hee. Ansan custodian Lee Hee-seong was then called into action twice in quick succession, making smart saves to deny Kim Moon-hwan and Han Ji-ho. Ansan looked the side more likely to win the game in stoppage time, but Lee Geon's left-footed drive was well saved by Koo Sang-min and Sin Il-soo headed narrowly over, so the match finished 0-0.

Busan IPark 0-0 Ansan Greeners highlights.

Gwangju FC, meanwhile, recorded a 2-1 home victory over FC Anyang on Sunday afternoon. Gwangju took the lead through Brazilian forward Felipe, who stepped up to slot home a penalty after he was adjudged to have been brought down in the area by Anyang's Choi Ho-jung.

Anyang won their own penalty after a foul by experienced midfielder Yeo Reum, and Wesley Alex calmly stroked home the equaliser with twenty minutes left to play. Gwangju had the final say, however, with Felipe heading home from Robson Carlos's perfect cross in the 82nd minute to keep the points in Gwangju.

Gwangju FC 2-1 FC Anyang highlights.

Previous Meetings

The previous meetings between these sides this season have been tight affairs. Gwangju won the first game at the Gudeok back in April, with international striker Na Sang-ho scoring the only goal of the game. The two meetings in Gwangju both ended in draws, the latter of which was a 3-3 thriller at the start of September.

In that game, Gwangju had a two goal lead at half time after goals from Choi Joon-hyeok and Kim Dong-hyun, but a penalty from Romulo and two goals from substitute Lee Dong-joon turned the match on its head. Gwangju rescued a point, however, with a late Felipe goal ensuring honours finished even.

Results in 2018:
Busan IPark 0-1 Gwangju FC
Gwangju FC 1-1 Busan IPark
Gwangju FC 3-3 Busan IPark

Team News

Busan IPark are unbeaten in five and are likely to stick to the 3-4-3 formation of recent games. With no new injuries or suspensions to speak of, the side could remain unchanged from last weekend, although Choi Yoon-gyeom may decide to recall winger Han Ji-ho, right-back Park Joon-gang, and striker Choi Seung-in.

Preview: Busan IPark vs Gwangju FC K League 2

Gwangju FC will be without two players due to suspension. Yeo Bong-hoon and Brazilian forward Felipe both picked up yellow cards last weekend and will be unavailable. The loss of Felipe will be a bitter blow for the visitors; the giant striker has scored seven goals since his summer move from Brazilian Serie B side Vila Nova.

The Adversary

With league leaders Asan Mugunghwa's fate to be decided in the coming fortnight, Gwangju’s hopes of clutching a rare fifth-place play-off spot were boosted by last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Anyang. Close to 2400 spectators at Gwangju's World Cup stadium witnessed increasingly influential playmaker Felipe head home a late winner and see his side leapfrog their opposition in the table. Should they fail to record a second consecutive victory, a feat that has eluded them since July, Park Jin-seop's men know that Anyang and Suwon lurk within touching distance to deny them an immediate return to the top tier.

Na Sang-ho’s hot streak this term has continued of late, being named alongside Felipe in the second division’s ‘Best 11’ of the week. Bagging six in two games on their travels and considering the despair prevalent at full time in Busan’s last Gudeok outing, The Yellows should be confident they can take advantage of IPark’s stuttering home form.

by Gwangju FC columnist Peter Hampshire

Who To Watch

Busan IPark: Kim Myung-joon

Preview: Busan IPark vs Gwangju FC K League 2 Kim Myung-joon
Kim Myung-joon in action against Daejeon Citizen (image via K League)
It's no surprise that Busan haven't conceded in the two games since Kim Myung-joon's return from injury two weeks ago. The 24 year-old centre-back has been one of Busan's most consistent players this term, showing maturity beyond his years. After being a squad player at the club for three years, Kim is now one of the first names on the team sheet and Busan will need him to be at his best as they enter the most important phase of the season.

Gwangju FC: Na Sang-ho

Preview: Busan IPark vs Gwangju FC K League 2 Na Sang-ho
Na Sang-ho is K League 2's leading scorer in 2018 with 15 (image via K League)
Gwangju FC forward Na Sang-ho is having a stellar year. He currently sits atop the K2 scoring charts with 15 goals, which means he has scored exactly one third of his team's goals this season. His exploits for Gwangju earned him international recognition this summer, and his contribution to the Korean U23 success at the Asian Games earned him a gold medal and military exemption. Gwangju will do well to hold onto their star man this winter.

Prediction

Busan haven't beaten Gwangju in three attempts this year and their performance against Ansan last weekend was less than convincing. Gwangju have a real match-winner in their team in Na Sang-ho, and with both teams still with a lot to play for, this could be a tight one.

Busan IPark 1-1 Gwangju FC



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