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Preview: Busan IPark vs Bucheon 1995

K League 2 Preview: Busan IPark vs Bucheon 1995

After crashing out of the FA Cup to lower league opposition in midweek, Busan IPark turn their attention back to the K League 2 this Saturday. Their visitors at the Gudeok Stadium are Bucheon 1995, who won their first two games of the season but come into this match on the back of two defeats.

Last Time Out

Busan IPark hosted National League side Cheonan City in the FA Cup on Wednesday afternoon, but what should have been a routine victory turned into a result to forget. Busan used the game to give minutes to several fringe players, making ten changes from the league draw at Gwangju and handing full debuts to Lee Hoo-kwon, Han Sang-woon, Seo Yong-deok, Hwang Joon-ho, Diego Maurício, and Soma Novothny.

Unfortunately for coach Jo Deok-jae, the new players failed to gel on their first starts for the club, and an 84th minute goal from Yoon Jung-min was enough to send Cheonan through to the next round and leave Busan to focus on the league.

Bucheon 1995 were also in action in the cup on Wednesday, hosting fellow K2 side Seoul E-Land. Bucheon started the match well, taking the lead in the 14th minute with a goal from Jung Taek-hoon. However, the match was taken into extra time due to a 73rd minute equalizer by Seoul E-Land’s Alex, and Bucheon’s defence crumbled, conceding one goal in each half of extra time. Bucheon’s misery was also added to by defender Choi Hyun-bin receiving the club’s first red card of the season. The final score was 3-1 to E-Land after 120 minutes, ending Bucheon's 100% home record this season.

Previous Meetings

Last year these sides met five times, including in the FA Cup early on in the season. Busan came out on top in that encounter, but Bucheon dominated proceedings in the league, recording two wins and two draws. The last of those meetings came in September at the Gudeok. Kim Jun-yub gave Bucheon an early lead, but national team right back Kim Moon-hwan equalised for Busan with 20 minutes left to play to ensure that the spoils were shared.

Results in 2018:
Busan 2-1 Bucheon (FA Cup)
Bucheon 1-0 Busan
Bucheon 0-0 Busan
Busan 1-2 Bucheon
Busan 1-1 Bucheon

Team News

Coach Jo Deok-jae is likely to make wholesale changes from the side that were knocked out of the FA Cup in midweek, meaning returns for key players such as Rômulo, Kim Jin-gyu, Park Jong-woo, and captain Han Ji-ho. Kim Hyung-geun will return in goal, and veteran left back Kim Chi-woo is back in contention after making his first appearance of the season on Wednesday. Kim Moon-hwan could come straight back in at right back despite playing 90 minutes in Korea's wins against Bolivia and Colombia.

Jo's biggest decision could be who to start with up front. Lee Jung-hyeop returned to the squad in midweek after missing the last two league games, while new Hungarian signing Soma Novothny will be hoping to make his K League debut. Choi Seung-in started the last two league games but was substituted at half-time in both, and Brazilian Diego is yet to open his account for the club.

The Adversary

Bucheon FC 1995 return to league action after the international break not in the best of form. After starting the season well with two 1-0 home victories, they have now last their last two games in a row. The first was away in the league, losing to Asan Mugunghwa 3-2, a result that saw them slip to 4th in the table. The second of the recent defeats was on Wednesday night to Seoul E-Land in the Korean FA Cup.

While the cup exit is clearly a negative result for the team from Gyeonggi, they should not be too disheartened. This was not their first team playing, with midfielder Gam Han-sol being the only member of the starting eleven who has played in every other game so far this season. The fact that so many players that are used to being on the bench can slot into the first team this well and take the match to extra time is something to applaud. This will no doubt give the coach hope that should he decide to experiment with the starting eleven in future weeks, all his players can be called upon to bring in good performances.

Also, by resting key players Bucheon should be able to field a full strength team against Busan IPark this weekend. This will definitely be needed as the mentality of the Busan side is unclear. While Bucheon lost in extra time to a fellow K League 2 side, Busan lost 0-1 at home in normal time against Cheonan City of the National League. Cup upsets generally produce one of two effects on teams. Their confidence can be completely destroyed, leaving them open to further defeats. Alternatively, they can be inspired to come out fighting and shake off the defeat as soon as possible, making them more dangerous opponents. The result of this match is likely to hinge on how the two clubs approach the game after their mutual midweek cup disappointments, which could be the catalyst for a very interesting encounter.

-by Bucheon 1995 columnist George Slade

Who To Watch

For Busan, 22 year-old winger Lee Dong-joon has been one of the few bright spots in an underwhelming start to the season. Blessed with blistering pace and always willing to run at defenders, Lee played a key role in each of the last two league games, scoring the winner against Suwon FC and then winning a penalty in the draw at Gwangju. Busan will need all of his pace and trickery against this stubborn Bucheon side.

For the away team, very few players are as important as defensive midfielder Nilson Junior. An ever-present so far this season and now entering his third year with the club, Nilson is one of the reasons Busan were only able to score two goals in their four league meetings with Bucheon last year. Sitting in front of the defence, Nilson frustrates opposition attackers and limits the space and time of creative midfielders. A former Busan player himself, he'll be eager to put in another strong showing on his return to his old club.


Bucheon frustrated Busan in the league last year and they've made a solid start to the season with two wins out of three. Busan will be stinging from their midweek cup exit and will be desperate to secure their first home points of the campaign, but Bucheon will be a difficult proposition.

Predicted Score: Busan IPark 1-1 Bucheon 1995

K League 2 Round 4 Preview: here

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