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Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Ansan Greeners

K League 2 Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Ansan Greeners

The 2019 K League season kicked off in style again last week, with some notable upsets amongst the two divisions. One common result, for casual fans, however, was Seoul E-Land falling 2-0 at home to Gwangju FC.  In a fixture which saw over 4,000 in attendance in Jamsil, higher than any other attendance there last year, Seoul managed to leave the home faithful disappointed. The Leopards need to pick themselves up now and move forward. They welcome Ansan Greeners to the Olympic stadium this Saturday, for which will be their last home game in Seoul until August.

Last Time Out

Seoul E-Land went with youth in their opening game, giving the nod to a partnership of Won Ki-jon and Kim Gyeong-joon upfront. Brazillian Robson Carlos Duarte also started on the wing, with Alex on the bench. E-Land decided to play Park Sung-woo at right back, a decision boss Kim Hyun-soo probably will forget.

The defender looked lost at the back of the field and could keep up with Gwangju striker Felipe. It took the Brazilian only four minutes to once again hurt Seoul and make it 1-0 for Gwangju. Seoul was on the ropes, and further defensive errors only five minutes later, saw Yeo-reum make it 2-0. It began to look like the same old same old for E-Land.

Things went from bad to worse for Seoul in the second half, as Duarte was given a red card in the 48th minute, reducing the Leopards to just 10 men. Seoul could not get back into the game, although looked more promising when Wesley Alex came on.

Full Time: Seoul E-Land 0-2 Gwangju FC.

Previous Meetings

Seoul E-Land had Ansan Greener's number in the 2018 season. They remained undefeated in all four of their games against the Green Wolves, with three wins and one draw.

The first game saw a last-minute strike from now Gangwon player Cha Jae-wan, which resulted in a 2-1 win for the Leopards. The next two games were 2-0 victories for Seoul once again, first at home, then away. The last game was a stalemate between the two, with the season already done and dusted by the date of the last fixture.

Both teams will go into Saturday still looking for their first points of the season and, if their form was anything to go by, Seoul should be in the driving seat.

Team News

Seoul E-Land were without their captain Ahn Ji-ho in the back line during the previous game. The experienced defender may come back into the side for this match.

The back line struggled to keep Gwangju at bay on the weekend, constantly out of position and giving Gwangju's attack a lot of space to push the ball forward into dangerous attacks. With that being said, it will come as no surprise if the defense is rejigged for the game on Saturday.

One notable absence for this second round game will be Duarte. As mentioned previously, he was handed a straight red card, and a two-game ban, following his lash out on Park Jung-soo. The decision will probably lead to Wesley Alex getting a start in the side, as he did slightly change the dynamic of the game when brought on against Gwangju.

Another positive from the game on Sunday was the creativity of Masuda in the middle of the park. Even though the Japanese veteran looked promising, he only played 45 minutes in the first game and will likely feature on Saturday.

The Adversary

Greeners fans are still scratching their heads as to what exactly happened on Sunday, as VAR ruled out two goals and also led to a red card for debutant Vintecinco. The Brazilian had looked dangerous, scoring on his debut and going close on several occasions. However an alleged kick, which the 5,000+ in the Wa on Sunday struggled to identify on replays, was the reason for the second goal being chalked off, and he will be out for this and the next match with the suspension. The other imports in Masa and Fauvel did not have quite the same impact, but expect them to feature again as Choi Ho-joo looks likely to start up top for the Green Wolves.

The loss of Lee Geon late in the transfer window left some big questions for Ansan's left side, with Jang Hyeok-jin being moved out left, and left back Kim Jin-rae stepping into a poor Ansan defensive display, offering static defending for both goals. However, a more pressing line in the second half did allow for Ansan's resurgence. Substitute Park Jin-seop was one of the victims of the VAR confusion, having a goal chalked off, and he added some real drive to Ansan's midfield so he could/should start against the former Ansan sponsors. Lee Hee-seong marked his first game as captain with a penalty save but will need to marshal his defence to much greater effect to avoid conceding the soft goals that saw Daejeon claim a 2-1 win on the opening day.

Yoon yong-ho scores for Daejeon Citizen against Ansan Greeners in round 1 of the 2019 K League 2 season.
Sunday was a big chance for Lim Win-seop to lay down a marker for his new Ansan side, but it is difficult to make a judgement given the overturning of two goals. Surely Ansan will have the bit between their teeth to avenge a lost three points here, after a particularly encouraging second-half performance. Realistically if Ansan want to make progress in their third season as the Greeners, then they need to be climbing the table, and the means finishing higher than E-land. It may seem premature, but Sunday will demonstrate whether this team is ready to show it can challenge in the K League 2.

By Mike Brandon.

Prediction

It is tough to predict Seoul E-Land. Many had nothing but promise for them in the previous game given how they had worked in the transfer window and the promises of their board in the offseason. They started round one, however, even flatter and uninspiring as they did back in 2018.

It will be hard for a team to build morale, from conceding two goals in the first ten minutes of the season, yet they will also know that Ansan Greeners lost in their first fixture.

The game could be entertaining as both teams should fancy their chances against one another. The two teams that finished 9th and 10th in the league last time around will be trying to prevent a repeat of their poor season last year.

With that being said though, the game could go either way but the two teams may just wind up playing the game with caution to get a point on the board. It is a tough one to call.

Predicted Score: Seoul E-Land 0-0 Ansan Greeners

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