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FA Cup Preview: Busan IPark vs Cheonan City

Korean FA Cup preview: Busan IPark vs Cheonan City

Busan IPark kick off their FA Cup campaign on Wednesday with a visit from National League side Cheonan City. After a mixed start to their league campaign, the home side will be eager to avoid a potential banana skin and get through to the next round unscathed.

Last Time Out

Before the international break Busan IPark continued their recovery from the opening day drubbing by FC Anyang, following up their win at Suwon FC with a hard-fought draw away at league leaders Gwangju FC. After a tight first half, Busan took the lead four minutes after the restart when Lee Dong-joon was tripped inside the box, and Brazilian midfielder Rômulo converted the resulting penalty. The away team failed to make the most of their dominance, however, with Lee Dong-joon and Kim Jin-gyu missing gilt-edged chances to extend the lead.

They were punished just after the hour mark as Gwangju's Brazilian forward Felipe capitalised on a mistake by Kim Myung-joon. The Busan defender failed to clear a dangerous ball across the six yard box, and Felipe was on hand to poke in the equaliser. Both sides had chances to win the match, but in the end a draw was a fair result.

You can watch the highlights of Busan vs Gwangju here.

Cheonan City, meanwhile, were in action in the National League at the weekend. Having won their opening game of the season at home to Mokpo City, Cheonan fell to their first defeat of the year away at Gangneung City. The 2-0 loss means that Cheonan sit in fourth place in the table after two matches played.

Team News

Busan IPark coach Jo Deok-jae is likely to rotate his squad for the visit of Cheonan, with Saturday's league match against Bucheon 1995 in mind. Right back Kim Moon-hwan is away with the national team and is likely to feature again in Tuesday's match against Colombia, so will be unavailable for Wednesday's game.

Key players like Rômulo, Park Jong-woo, and Han Ji-ho are likely to be rested for the weekend. That could mean starts for the likes of Diego Maurício, Lee Hoo-kwon, Lee Jong-min, and Seo Yong-deok. Koo Sang-min is likely to start in goal, having lost his place to Kim Hyung-geun in recent league matches.

The Adversary

Cheonan City have been in the National League, the third tier of Korean football, since their founding in 2007. They had a good year in 2018, finishing in third place in the league table, before losing 6-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals of the playoffs against Gimhae City.

Last year Cheonan also enjoyed a good run in the FA Cup, seeing off Jeonju University and Gangneung City before taking K1 side Suwon Bluewings to extra time in the third round. Suwon needed a hat-trick from Dejan Damjanovic, including two in extra time, to see off the National League side 4-2.

Despite having a largely young squad, Cheonan have a handful of players with experience at the top level of Korean football. Among them are midfielder Ko Cha-won, who spent several years in the K1 with Jeonnam Dragons and Suwon Bluewings, and forward Song Je-heon, who had spells at Daegu, Jeonbuk, and Incheon United.

Who To Watch


Busan IPark are likely to hand a first start to Brazilian forward Diego Maurício, who has so far only featured from the bench since his move from Gangwon FC. Strong, fast and direct, Diego will be itching to show what he can do against lower league opposition. Wednesday's game will be a great opportunity for the striker to open his Busan IPark account.

Prediction

Suwon Bluewings found out last year that this Cheonan side are no pushovers, so Busan should underestimate their visitors at their peril. Cheonan have some experienced players in their squad, and this could be a tighter match than many are expecting. However, Busan have a number of talented squad players who will be eager to show what they can do, and I think the home side will edge it.

Predicted Score: Busan IPark 2-1 Cheonan City



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