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Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs FC Anyang

Jeonnam Dragons host FC Anyang in round three of K League 2 this Sunday afternoon in Gwangyang. Can the misfiring Dragons emerge from their early season slump with their first points of the season? Or will Anyang become the third team in a row to plunder Dragon Dungeon? Aodan Halligan and Paul Bettridge preview the St Patrick's Day fixture.

Game: Jeonnam Dragons v FC Anyang
Venue: Gwangyang Football Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday 3 pm

Last Time Out

Goalkeeper Lee Ho-seung was the only member of Jeonnam's back five from the opening day defeat to Asan Mugungwha to keep his place for the Dragons' second league game of the season, against Daejeon Citizen in Gwangyang last Sunday. However, Lee's decision to charge out to the penalty spot in the 22nd minute to deal with Yoon Yong-ho's free kick, unsettled the new-look defence and gave the visitors a foothold in the game.

Though the keeper did manage to get a fist to the ball, he also took out two of his own defenders - injuring center-back Nick Ansell in the process - and when the ball was recycled, the home defence was at sixes and sevens, and Lee Ji-sol eventually tapped home, five yards from goal. Ansell was replaced by Lee Ji-nam a few minutes later and thus, for the second game in succession, Dragons' head coach, Fabiano Soares, was forced into replacing one of his defenders midway through the first half.

Daejeon's big number nine, Park In-hyeok, then took center-stage. In the 33rd minute, the six-foot-plus striker outpaced veteran Dragons defender and club captain, Choi Hyo-jin, before advancing into the right-hand side of the penalty box and slipping the ball through Lee Ho-seung's legs.

Park put the Purples three up seven minutes after that with another cracking effort. Picking the ball up in midfield, the striker sprinted toward the penalty box and then glided past Lee Ji-nam, after selling him a few stepovers. Park then shifted the ball onto his left foot and side-footed it into the bottom-right corner.

Fabiano Soares responded by hooking off Han Chan-hee and Kim Young-wook at half time and the home team decided to go long, and bypass midfield in the second half. But, the Dragons had to wait till the 93rd minute to breach the visitors' rearguard - Brazilian striker Bruno Nunes netting his first goal for the club from the left hand side of the penalty box, around eight yards out after being slipped through by Jung Hee-woong. Nevertheless, it was too little too late and Jeonnam suffered another humiliating home defeat.

Full Time: Jeonnam Dragons 1-3 Daejeon Citizen

Highlights: here

The Dragons' opponents this Sunday, FC Anyang, were also on the wrong end of a result last weekend, losing by a solitary goal to Bucheon FC 1995, at Bucheon stadium. The goal came from a set-piece on the stroke of half time. Guk Tae-jeong curled the right-wing corner to the edge of the six-yard box with his left foot, and with Anyang keeper Yang Dong-won caught in no-man's land, Lim Dong-hyok rose highest before glancing his header into the top-right hand corner of the net.

Anyang improved in the second half and their number ten, Alex, almost leveled proceedings on the hour mark after cutting inside Moon Ki-han at the edge of the penalty box. However, his left footed effort, which was heading towards the bottom right corner, was parried away by Choi Cheol-won in the Bucheon goal. The Bucheon keeper made an even better stop just two minutes later to keep the home side ahead - diving to his left to block Manuel Palacios' powerful half volley, from barely six yards out. Both teams had chances after that, but the home side held on and Anyang suffered their first defeat of the season.

Full Time: Bucheon FC 1995 1-0 FC Anyang

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Jeonnam Dragons and FC Anyang have never met in a competitive fixture before as the latter have been in K League 2 since their establishment in 2013. However, with the Dragons now residing in the second division for the first time in their history, the two teams are set to play each other at least four times. And with another three fixtures scheduled between the sides after Sunday's game, both teams will no doubt be keen to lay down a marker on Sunday.

Team News

Jeonnam Dragons will be without several players this weekend. Australian center-half, Nick Ansell, broke his rib in the aforementioned clash with Lee Ho-seung last Sunday, so he's expected to be out for a couple of weeks. Kwak Kwang-seon is still nursing the neck injury he picked up against Asan Mugungwha on March 3rd, and thus is likely to be out for a while too. Meanwhile, Han Chan-hee and Lee You-hyeon will also be absent against Anyang as they've been called up by the national team. Lee Seul-chan remains injury free, but has yet to feature for the Dragons this season.

The Adversary

Anyang come into this match after a disappointing 1-0 loss at the hands of Bucheon. They looked puzzled at how to get through a well organised defence for large portions of that game. Anyang did show signs of life and creativity, but it was often ruined by individual moments. For Anyang to beat Jeonnam, they will need to show a more well rounded performance, and possibly more back up plans than just hope Alex can dribble the ball into the net.

With Jeonnam being as poor as they are it’s still tough to predict Anyang to win. Jeonnam are a former K league 1 side with better players and being the home team will be an advantage, with Anyang continuing their constant run of away games. However, with Jeonnam being in freefall, it’s impossible to predict them winning either. Jeonnam can score goals which might be a problem for an Anyang team, who I believe, will be better at grinding 1-0 or 0-0 results.

With both sides not playing at their best, this has a tightly contested draw written all over it. Anyang are likely to concede a set piece goal, and Jeonnam may well crumble to a late equaliser from one of Anyang’s foreign exports.

Prediction: Jeonnam Dragons 1-1 FC Anyang.

- Paul Bettridge 


Even though it takes time for new coaches to get their ideas across and their teams to gel, Fabiano Soares' Dragons have been nothing short of horrendous so far this season. Indeed, as one of the preseason favorites for promotion, few would have predicted the Dragons to be pointless and rooted to the bottom of the table after two home games. But it's the manner of the defeats that has fans most worried. Jeonnam weren't just beaten by Asan and Daejeon, they were outthought, outfought and outplayed.

Plus, the Dragons' defence has never looked more porous. With more changes in store for Jeonnam's back four this weekend, due to Nick Ansell's injury,  I can't see them keeping out the likes of Alex and Palacios. Therefore, another long day is probably in store.

Jeonnam Dragons 1-4 FC Anyang

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