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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Jeonnam Dragons

Ansan Greeners welcome Jeonnam Dragons to the Wa~ Stadium on Wednesday evening in an eighth versus ninth clash. The Green Wolves bounced back from defeat away to Busan with a deserved point against leaders Gwangju at home last Saturday, while Fabiano Soares’ Dragons picked up an impressive victory over IPark in Gwangyang. This meeting promises to be a close encounter with only goal difference separating the two sides in the K League 2 table.


Last Time Out

Lim Wan-seop’s players were held to a goalless draw by the early pacesetters Gwangju at the weekend. The Greeners limited the Jeolla travelers to a handful of meaningful chances throughout the ninety, the best of which fell to K2 Golden Boot contender, Felipe, who saw his stinging snap-shot expertly kept out by a sublime low one-handed save from Hwang In-jae. Ansan outperformed Park Jin-sub’s team in the second half and were unfortunate not to have won the contest with two late chances that went begging. The first saw Choi Ho-joo’s volley rattle Yoon Pyeong-gook’s crossbar from close-range after the winger connected well with Jang Hyeok-jin’s knock-down. The former Sangju Sangmu keeper then produced a fine stop to deny Lee In-jae’s piledriver moments later. The away eleven’s day went from bad to worse when they were reduced to ten at the death for Felipe’s headbutt on Park Jin-seop.

Match highlights available on KLeague.com

Jeonnam pulled off a surprising upset against promotion hopefuls Busan over the weekend seeing out a 1-0 win. Kim Geon-woong emerged the hero with his first goal of the 2019 campaign coming off a corner in the 79th minute. It took a VAR call to confirm the ball had indeed cleared the line, but replays quickly showed conclusive evidence it had and the referee gave the goal. Busan then put the Dragon's backline under siege for the final 10 minutes, but were unable to find the back of the net. Perhaps no one will feel more responsible than striker Lee Jeong-hyeop who missed a wide open net in the dying seconds of the match with keeper Park Jun-hyuk well off his line. However, Lee's misfortune is Jeonnam's gain as they picked up just their second clean sheet of the season and put themselves level on points with Ansan and Asan above them in the table. 

Match highlights available on KLeague.com.

Team News

Ansan will be able to call upon the services of their 6’3” centre-forward, Gustavo Vintecinco for this match. The Brazilian returns from suspension following his dismissal for a high boot that caught fellow Brazilian Nilson’s upper thigh in the Bucheon 1995 success. In spite of the suspension, Vintecinco remains the Green Wolves top scorer with two so far.

The Adversary

Jeonnam's first win over Busan in nearly four years quickly turned their four match winless streak into a four match unbeaten streak following three straight draws. Manager Fabiano Soares made the rare shift away from his preferred 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 for this match to try and stall Busan's league leading attack and it worked surprisingly well. Captain Choi Hyo-jin manned the left wing in vintage fashion allowing central midfielders Kim Geong-woong and Han Chan-hee more time and space on the ball when moving forward. The recently returned Kwak Kwang-seon put in a strong shift leading a three man backline and Park Jun-hyuk continues to be a revelation in net for Jeonnam. Look for Soares to keep a steady hand and lean heavily on Kwak and Park again midweek as the defense continues to improve. Quite possibly in the 3-4-3 that worked so well against Busan. That said, he is a manager who likes to switch things up, so a four man back line with Nick Ansell returning to the lineup isn't out of the question. Either way, expect Jeonnam to sit back early and absorb pressure hoping to hit in the second half as they have for most of this season.

- Ryan Walters

Who to Watch

Lee In-jae skippered the Green Wolves in Lee Hee-seong’s absence in the Gwangju stalemate and put in a stellar defensive shift to keep the visiting trio of Felipe, Lee Hee-gyun and Willyan quiet for the majority of the fixture. The Greeners’ centre-half marshaled his side’s backline consummately last time out and has struck up a solid partnership with Kim Yeon-soo at the heart of the Ansan defence. In-jae offers a real attacking threat going forward too, his thirty-yard free-kick forced Yoon Pyeong-gook into a terrific sprawling dive late into Saturday’s tie, and the 26-year-old also tapped in an equalizer at the Bucheon Stadium in mid-April, showing great predatory instincts after reacting first to Choi Cheol-won’s excellent block from Park Jin-seop’s header to bundle home his first goal of the year.

Prediction

The Green Wolves and Dragons have an identical goalscoring record so far this term having both found the net on seven occasions, and are only divided by virtue of Ansan having conceded a goal less than the South Jeolla club. The hosts will be hoping the returning Vintecinco can get them firing again having failed to score in the Busan debacle and the Gwangju affair. Jeonnam have yet to register a triumph on the road this campaign, but will be in high spirits following their shock result over IPark.

Ansan Greeners 1-1 Jeonnam Dragons

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