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Preview: Busan IPark vs FC Anyang

K League 2 Preview: Busan IPark vs FC Anyang

After narrowly missing out on promotion for the second season in a row, Busan IPark will be itching to get their 2019 campaign off to a winning start. Their season begins on Saturday at home to FC Anyang, with the visitors looking to make their own push for promotion this year after finishing last season in 6th. Both clubs have new managers at the helm this year, and they will both be desperate to hit the ground running.

Last Time Out

Busan IPark's 2018 season finished in disappointment with a 4-2 defeat over two legs in the promotion/relegation playoff final to FC Seoul. After looking like the better team and having taken the lead early on in the first leg, Busan's plans unravelled when defender Kwon Jin-young was sent off before half time. FC Seoul fought back to win the first leg 3-1, and Busan could only manage a 1-1 draw in the second, with Kim Jin-gyu's goal being cancelled out by Seoul's veteran forward Park Chu-young. The result meant that FC Seoul kept their place in Korea's top division, while Busan would be resigned to their fourth consecutive year in the K2.

FC Seoul 1-1 Busan IPark highlights here.

FC Anyang's season also ended in a dispiriting manner. They raced into a two-goal lead away to Daejeon Citizen, with goals from Wesley Alex and an own goal from Yoon Jun-sung, only for Daejeon to fight back with two goals in the last twenty minutes. Strikes from Cho Gwi-beom and Park In-hyeok ensured that Anyang failed to win any of their final three games of the season.

Daejeon Citizen 2-2 FC Anyang highlights here.

Previous Meetings

Busan and Anyang met four times in the league last season, and Busan came out on top with three wins and one draw, and an aggregate score of 11-6. There were plenty of goals and drama in their meetings in 2018, including a thrilling 4-3 win for Busan in July. In their final match-up of the year in September, Anyang took the lead through Kim Jin-rae, but second half goals from Busan's rising stars Kim Moon-hwan and Kim Jin-gyu sent the points back to Busan.

2018 Results:
Busan IPark 3-0 FC Anyang
FC Anyang 2-2 Busan IPark
Busan IPark 4-3 FC Anyang
FC Anyang 1-2 Busan IPark

Team News

New Busan IPark coach Jo Deok-jae has implemented a 4-3-3 system in pre-season friendlies this winter. There could be a debut for Brazilian forward Diego, and starts for Park Jong-woo and Lee Jeong-hyeop, both returning to the club after spells away. New signings Lee Hoo-kwon, Kwon Yong-hyun and Han Sang-woon will also hope to be involved.

At the back, Koo Sang-min is likely to start the season as first-choice keeper, while Kim Chi-woo and Kim Moon-hwan should take up positions at full back.



The Adversary

After a disastrous start to last season, Anyang FC will be hoping for a better start when they face the mighty Busan IPark. Although Anyang have recruited a new manager and a new starting line up in an attempt to start with winning ways, the team will have a rough time with the opening fixture versus the consistent challenger in Busan IPark.

Anyang have a whole host of new foreigner talent in attack with Alex Lima, Manuel Palacios and new star striker Kovtaliuk. The 23-year-old joins from FC Dila for a high fee reportedly, the striker notched up an impressive 31 goals in 52 starts, meaning the kid could be the replacement for Wesley Alex that Anyang were looking for.

Anyang are most likely going to be in a formation of either 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 attacking, however being that they’re playing a team with the calibre of Busan, it might be the former as they will look to counter with their new foreign recruits. It will be a high scoring affair I believe with both sides trying to score, the attacking players being the strong points of both sides. With Anyang most likely to fall apart with the younger players in defence, but with Anyang's unknown quality it could be a great action packed game.

-Written by Anyang columnist Paul Bettridge

Who To Watch


After losing influential foreign players Wesley Alex and Marcos Antonio, Anyang's new Brazilian signing Alex Lima could be key to their hopes this year. He enjoyed a successful debut season in Korea last year with Suwon FC, making 30 appearances and scoring 5 goals, and now the left-footed midfielder could become the fulcrum of this new-look Anyang outfit.

Prediction

Busan had the better of Anyang last year and their squad looks even stronger this time out. Anyang have lost some key players and it might take some time for the new coach to get things rolling, but the opening day of the season always offers up a few surprises and I wouldn't be surprised to see both teams get on the scoresheet.

Predicted Score: Busan IPark 3-1 FC Anyang



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