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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Seoul E-Land

Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Seoul E-Land K League 2
Asan Mugunghwa head into the weekend's K League 2 Round 4 match with Seoul E-Land off of a midweek loss on penalties in the FA Cup to Yangpyeong FC, looking to regain the form which saw them beat Bucheon last weekend.  Park Dong-hyuk opted for a much younger lineup against the lower division side, but were just not able to make the breakthrough needed to advance.  Mugunghwa can have confidence in playing at home against a side in Seoul E-Land who they beat on three occasions last season by considerable margins, with the final win in October clinching them the league crown.  KLU columnists Branko Belan and Michael Redmond look ahead to the weekend fixture.


Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Seoul E-Land
Venue: Yi Sun-sin Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday March 30th, 2019; 17:00 KST

Last Time Out

Asan Mugunghwa 0-0 Yangpyeong FC (4-5 pen.) FA Cup

Asan let an opportunity to advance in the cup slip through their fingers as they were stymied at home by lower division side Yangpyeong FC, who made the Round of 16 in last year's competition.  Without their regulars in the lineup, the young recruits were not able to break through and find a way to goal.  The first ninety minutes saw no goals between the teams, and extra time presented much of the same.

Asan doesn't seem to have much luck where the penalty lottery is concerned, as they also bowed out of the cup in the same fashion last year to Jeonnam Dragons.  Two misses from the spot were enough to dash their hopes of making another deep run this year.

Bucheon 1995 FC 1-3 Seoul E-Land (a.e.t.) FA Cup

Jung Taek-hun gave the hosts an early lead after only twelve minutes, but E-Land would come storming back, after Wesley Alex found an equalizer on 73 minutes, which would eventually send the match to extra time.

Bucheon would go down to ten men under ten minutes into the second half after Choi Hyun-bin was sent off.  Once the visitors had restored parity, they would take the reigns of the match, scoring a pair in extra time to emerge victorious and move on.  The match also marked the debut of Douglas Coutinho, who scored E-Land's third goal, and the return of Robson Carlos to the side.

Previous Meetings

Asan dominated the head to head series last season.  After the teams played to a scoreless draw in late April, the league champions took all three remaining matches, outscoring E Land by a margin of 10-1, and clinching their title with a 4-0 win at home at the end of October.

If the Ansan Police period in the club's history is factored in, then the overall series does not look as lopsided, as Asan/Ansan have won seven matches to E Land's three, with the teams playing to a draw six times, but Asan have a distinct advantage in the goals department with a 24-13 edge, according to fctables.

Team News

After a shock exit from the cup in midweek, it will be business as usual for Asan, as the regulars are expected to return to action on the weekend.  The expectation is that Park Dong-hyuk will field as strong a side as possible to get some momentum going for the club, as they now have only the league to worry about for the rest of the season.

Ju Se-jong will be available again for the side as he returns from suspension, and the international break as well.  He played a full ninety in the 1-0 win against Bolivia, but was not used in the 2-1 win against Colombia, as Jung Woo-young got the minutes with Bento rotating players in the squad.  Ju will start in all likelihood, but if his fitness level is not up to speed, he may come on from the bench.

There are no other suspensions or major injuries in the side, so all players should be available for selection.

The Adversary

Seoul E-Land will be on the road for a third consecutive game on Saturday, as they make the trip down to their new local area of Asan. Seoul had a Hollywood-style fixture against Bucheon, as it took a header from Alex in the last 15 minutes to take the FA Cup tie into extra time. 

E-Land knew what they were doing though in the grasp of imperfection as they ran out 3-1 winners in the end. The Leopards' new temporary home, Cheonan Civic Stadium, is only a stone's throw away from the Yi Sun-sin stadium, so this technically could be dubbed as a derby. 

Seoul will look to try to rid the humdrum of what is E-Land vs Asan Mugunghwa, as their record against the side is uninspiring to say the least. Seoul managed to get one point out of twelve against the ex-police side in 2018, and were well beaten with more than ten goals conceded in the last three games.

Asan set up well against E-Land, but from what we have season from the capital club is that, they have noticed their errors at the back, and have tried to counteract their situation. Seoul will have a tough task away from home against Asan, but if they can keep them at bay as they did against Daejeon, then anything is possible. E-Land frustrated Citizen in their last league game, and managed to keep a clean sheet.  If Seoul can do that once more, and have a keener eye for goal, then anything could be possible in this tie.

by Michael Redmond

Who to Watch

Wesley Alex knows Asan all too well, as he has found the net against the side on two occasions last year, whilst playing for FC Anyang.  Alex looked slightly off tempo against Daejeon a fortnight ago, and was substituted.  However, against a quick Asan side who are defensively strong, Alex could link up well with new Brazilian Douglas Countinho to break down their wall.

Wesley Alex comes to help the defense against Daejeon in the last round of the K League 2.
Alex has an eye for goal, and his 15 goals last year for Anyang last year proves this.  Leopards gaffer Kim Hyun-soo will be hoping that Alex can show his form once again and get a second or even third goal to his name this season.

by Michael Redmond

Prediction

Asan have shown that they can score goals in bunches already on two occasions this season.  They will also be at home for this one so it should give them another advantage in terms of their preparation and being able to play in front of their own fans for a second week in a row.

E-Land have managed a pair of draws from their first three matches, but have only scored once thus far this season.  Keeping that in mind, it cannot be forgotten how well Asan played at home last season.  Some of the young talent that has featured for Asan this season has looked good, and they may have a chance to showcase their talent once again on Saturday afternoon.  Asan should be able to continue last season's success against their opposition from the capital, and should come away with all three points.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 2-1 Seoul E Land

K League 2 Round 4 Preview: here

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