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Preview: Seongnam FC vs Busan IPark

Preview: Seongnam FC vs Busan IPark K League 2
Seongnam FC enter the weekend's match against Busan IPark with a poor record for the season with one draw and two losses. However, that shouldn't phase the home team as Seongnam have already clinched the 2nd spot in the table. With both teams locked into the K League 2 playoff positions, the only thing on the line in this match is pride.

Last Time Out

After a rather dominating performance against promotion hopefuls Daejeon Citizen at home, Seongnam FC entered Suwon stadium with a chance to lock up the second spot on the K League 2 table. Suwon FC on the other hand were looking to put on a good show for their fans as it was their last home match of the season.

The match was quiet through the first half with neither side able to maintain possession nor create chances. It was mostly characterized by sloppy possesion and inability to commit players forward.  The second half began much like the first but Seongnam finally struck in the 70th minute when Eder Luiz sent one in off a counter-attack. This seemed to wake up Suwon and in the latter stages of the match they began to finally push forward and create chances. Their best chance came off a powerful strike towards the far post but Goalkeeper Jeon Jong-hyeok dove to his left and was just able to get a hand on it. 

The 1-0 victory solidified the second spot in the table for Seongnam FC. The small but dedicated supporters group at the stadium celebrated proudly, however, it is still unknown if Seongnam will be promoted or have to fight their way through the playoffs due to the ongoing situation with Asan Mugunghwa.

Previous Meetings

Busan IPark have played well against Seongnam FC this season conceding only one penalty kick goal in their first game, which resulted in a 1-1 draw.  Busan then took the next two matches 1-0 and 2-0 scoring late goals in both matches.

Team News

Busan IPark enter this match with a total of five players suspended after a rough match against Gwangju. Attackers Ko Kyung-min, and Choi Seung-in, midfielder Kim Jin-gyu, and defenders Lee Chung-woong and Ku Hyeon-jun will all be out of action for this game. Ku Hyeon-Jun is suspended due to a red card he earned on a very rough tackle. These suspensions will force Busan to shake-up their lineup. However, since this game will have no bearing on the table, it is likely they would have done so anyway. 

Seongnam enter this match guaranteed to finish 2nd in the table just behind Asan Munghwa who currently have a seven point lead. This creates an odd situation as Asan are the police team and the police have announced that they will be ending their sports programs. The K League is currently still deciding how to handle to situation but until then it is impossible to know if Seongnam will be bumped into promotion position or if Asan will stay in some capacity and be promoted.

The Adversary

There's currently a great deal of confusion about the playoff situation in the K League 2, but it shouldn't affect Busan IPark that much this weekend. Whatever happens on Sunday they will finish in third, and it's no more or less than they deserve. Despite playing some good football this season, scoring plenty of goals and being solid enough defensively, they have dropped far too many points by conceding late on in games.

Last weekend's draw at home to Gwangju was a perfect example. In the final minute of stoppage time Busan were 2-1 up with only nine men of the pitch after Ku Hyeon-joon had been sent off and Kim Myeong-joon was receiving treatment on the sidelines. Instead of playing it safe and trying to see the game out, Busan committed too many players forward for a possible counter attack, and were then caught out as Gwangju went right back down the other end to score with the last kick of the game.

Although at the moment it's unclear whether Busan will be entering the playoffs from the first round or the second, I don't think it will affect their attitude going into this game. It's important to go into the playoffs with some momentum, and getting a result at Seongnam would be the perfect start, so I think Choi Yoon-gyeom will play his strongest possible team.

He will have to do without a few of his regulars due to suspensions, however. Ku Hyeon-joon's red card means he is automatically unavailable, and accumulated yellows for Ko Kyung-min, Choi Seung-in, Lee Chung-woong and Kim Jin-gyu means that they will also miss out. This is the perfect opportunity for a few fringe players to step in and stake their claim for a starting place in the big games coming up, but it will make the task to get something from Seongnam that much harder.


Prediction

Both Seongnam FC and Busan IPark have nothing to play for beyond pride this weekend as they are set in the 2nd and 3rd positions respectively in the table. Expect both teams to make some changes in their lineups to keep some players fresh for the playoffs (or potential playoffs in Seongnam’s case). I think one can reasonably expect a draw here.

Predicted Score: Seongnam FC 1-1 Busan IPark



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