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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Asan Mugunghwa

Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Asan Mugunghwa
Struggling Ansan Greeners face promotion chasing Asan Mugunghwa on Saturday afternoon at the Wa Stadium for round five of the 2019 K League 2 campaign. Asan will be looking to put pressure on table topping Gwangju, while the hosts are still seeking a first win of 2019.

Last Time Out

Ansan Greeners 1-1 FC Anyang

It ended all square in the first Line 4 Derby of the season last weekend. Defender Kim Yeon-soo gave the Green Wolves a first half lead, before Mykola Kovtalyuk would restore parity with twenty minutes to go. There were many positives for an Ansan side desperate for a win, and an attacking line-up found its rewards as Ansan led at the break. Choi Ho-joo made his first start of the season, as Ansan returned to full strength having been dumped out of the cup in mid-week to fourth tier Hwaseong.

However, poor defending, a consistent theme for Ansan this season cost them a chance to earn a moral boosting derby win. Late cameos from the lively pair in Dorta and Ishida will also give Lim a pleasant headache as there are now a range of attacking options available to the Green Wolves, from pace and skill in the aforementioned pair to the finesse of Choi Ho-joo and towering strength of Vintecinco.

The result does mean that Lim Wan-seop has just one win in 11 matches in charge of the Greeners, and things need to change soon. The Greeners can look to three questionable VAR decisions this season that led to goals being chalked off, however points need to be put on the board to prevent a repeat of the last season's meltdown.

Highlights: here

Asan Mugunghwa 3-1 Seoul E-Land

Asan Mugunghwa controlled the match for long stretches right from the outset, but they were not able to break down the E-Land back line for most of the first half. The visitors had to make a substitution midway through as Kim Dong-chul came on to replace Ahn Ji-ho, and from that point on, Asan really started to assert themselves in the offensive half of the pitch.

They would go in front from the spot, when an Asan player was fouled on the edge of the box, but at first, there was some consternation as to where the foul occurred. However, the referee eventually pointed to the spot, and Oh Se-hun stepped up to convert, sending the home side one up into the break.

The introduction of Douglas Coutinho was meant to swing things a bit more in E-Land’s favour following the re-start, but instead, he was foiled on two separate occasions by Yang Hyung-mo. Ko Mu-yeol would make it two for Asan from the spot once again, as Kim Dong-chul was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area following another referee’s decision aided by VAR.

Wesley Alex would pull one back for E-Land minutes later, after Kim Dong-hyuk handled the ball just inside the area. E-Land would then have another goal called back for offside. Park Min-seo would seal the result with a third goal just six minutes from time, as he had time and space to send Ahn Hyun-beom’s cutback high into the net past Kim Young-kwang, and Asan now sit second in the table with nine points, one off the summit heading into the latest round of matches.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The two sides last met each other in October last season with Asan coming away with a 2-0 victory. Asan visited the Wa stadium three times last summer, with the two sides being drawn in the cup, with an extra time winner adding to their two other victories in Ansan. Asan won all five encounters in 2018, scoring seven goals in doing so, to Ansan's haul of zero.

Team News

Expect captain Lee Hee-seong to continue between the sticks, behind a more cautious defensive line up of Lee In-jae, Lee Chang-hoon, Kim Yeon-soo, fresh off of featuring in the K League 2 team of the week, with Kim Jin-rae and Park Jun-hee as wing backs in case Asan open up for Ansan to counter.

Jang Hyuk-jin and Park Jin-seop will likely complete the midfield, alongside the industrious Kwak Seong-uk but with Asan expected to dominate, Lim may opt for the pace of Ishida up top. Austrian winger Dorta made his first start in the cup, and featured again against Anyang, so he may make a first league appearance here to offer more pace and trickery going forward than the slower paced Vintecenco and Choi Ho-joo. Fauver is recovering from injury and would be unlikely to start.

The Adversary

Asan have now won back to back matches for the first time this season following their 3-1 success over Seoul E-Land last weekend. It seems the loss to Gwangju in round two has given them a jolt, and the goals are again starting to come in bunches following their opening round win against Jeonnam. It is already the third time that Asan have netted three times in a match this season, but, things may not be as easy this coming Saturday as they travel away to face Ansan at the Wa Stadium, a team which challenged them more than others in K League 2 last season. Ko Mu-yeol continues his scoring run to open the season, as he surpassed his entire 2018 total last week when he scored Asan’s second. Oh Se-hun and Park Min-seo also tallied and have continued to impress with their performances of late.

Now that the team has built up a bit of momentum, they will need to solidify their results as they have matches against Busan IPark and Daejeon Citizen in the near future to look forward to, so, despite it still being a bit early in the season, the defending champions would like to cement themselves at or near the top of the table as much as possible before the end of the spring.

With many of the younger players getting opportunities to play early in the season, there is still no mistaking that Lee Myung-joo and Lee Han-saem have played very productive roles in getting their new teammates acclimatised to life in the K League 2. The former in particular will have to figure prominently in a leading role for their development, as he will be leaving the club in the fall to return to FC Seoul upon the completion of his military service.

Ju Se-jong did not play in last week’s match against Seoul E-Land, as he returned from international duty with South Korea, where he started and played a full ninety minutes against Bolivia, and played well in a holding role in midfield, but did not play against Colombia as Jung Woo-young was slotted into the rotation.

With his suspension over, the hope is that he will be back in the starting lineup for Asan as they take to the pitch on Saturday. Park Dong-hyuk does not have any concerns with regards to suspensions, and so all players should be warranted for selection.
- Branko Belan


Asan are clear favourites on paper, however, Ansan would be 4th without the controversial VAR decisions this season, and there are signs that they are due a result. If they can sort out their defending, especially at set pieces, they might just get something from this.

Ansan Greeners 1-1 Asan Mugunghwa

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