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Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs Ansan Greeners

K League 2 Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs Ansan Greeners FC

This Saturday in the K League 2 sees a match between two sides that were almost inseparable in 2018. 4th place Bucheon FC 1995 are aiming to continue their positive start to the season by extending their unbeaten home league record. Meanwhile, lowly Ansan Greeners will be hoping they can build upon last weekend's victory against Asan Mugunghwa, their first win of the season.

Last Time Out

Bucheon ended March by taking part in one of the most entertaining games of the season so far, a 3-3 away draw against fellow promotion chasers Busan IPark. After securing this very important point, Bucheon were hoping to return to winning ways back on their home turf last weekend. Playing against Jeonnam Dragons for the first time in their history, Bucheon came into the match as the favourites due to the visitors' poor form. However, a 1-1 draw was all that they could come away with. Midfielder Song Hong-min put the hosts in front in the 15th minute with what could prove to be a contender for goal of the season, a powerful 30-yard strike into the top corner of the Jeonnam goal. The lead proved to be short-lived, though, as the Dragons equalised in the 21st minute with a penalty from Kim Young-wook, given due to a poorly timed tackle close to the six-yard box. While this was a positive result, Bucheon will undoubtedly feel that they were the better team, and will no doubt be feeling bitter after losing points due to giving away a penalty, their fourth consecutive goal conceded in such a manner.

Ansan pulled off a remarkable one-nil victory over promotion-chasing Asan Mugunghwa last weekend. Gustavo Vintecinco’s looping header from Gwak Seong-wook’s ball moments after the restart proved to be the winner. Ishida Masatoshi had previously hit the post for Lim Wan-seop’s men following a terrific last-ditch tackle from Lee Han-saim. Green Wolves skipper, Lee Hee-seong came out on top of his personal duel with Ju Se-jong to earn his team their first three points of their 2019 Challenge campaign and lift the Greeners of the foot of the table.

Previous Meetings

Last year Bucheon and Ansan finished the season in 8th and 9th place respectively. Not only were both sides level on 39 points each, but they also both achieved a goal difference of -13. They were only separated by goals scored, as Bucheon managed to find the net 37 times in the season, compared to Ansan's tally of 32. While the two clubs have shown contrasting fortunes so far this season, last year's close finish does indicate that the sides could be closer in quality than meets the eye, and Ansan could prove a tricky side for Ansan to overcome. Further evidence of this can be shown in last season's matches between the two sides, with Bucheon only achieving one draw and suffering three defeats against their Gyeonggi Province rivals.

The Green Wolves ended a run of ten straight defeats with a dramatic, late 2-1 away success over this Saturday’s opponents at the Bucheon Stadium in early September. The hosts took the lead midway through the first-half, after Bucheon winger, Jin Chang-soo closed down Park Jun-hee’s attempted clearance and calmly slotted past Hwang Seong-min to put 1995 a goal to the good. Defender, Kim Hyeon-tae’s hooked effort brought parity, and the visitors’ midfielder, Park Jin-seob completed the turnaround two minutes from time, with a low, curling strike that evaded Choi Cheol-won’s reach. This was followed by a 3-1 Ansan home victory in October in which a second-half Choi Ho-joo brace was the difference, giving them the win after Park Jun-hee put them in the lead and William Popp equalised for Bucheon.

The two clubs had previously played out a one-all draw at the same ground at the end of May. The Greeners went one up after centre-back Shin Il-soo nodded in at the far post. 1995 equalised on the hour mark, via a fluke cross from Lee Hyun-seung. The first match of the season between the two sides was a 3-1 victory at home for Ansan in April that almost mirrored their later home win in October. After Lee Kwang-jae put Bucheon in front in the 10th minute, Ansan equalised through Seku Conneh on the stroke of half-time. The victory was sealed by Choi Ho-joo scoring two second-half two goals, foreshadowing his other home performance against Bucheon later in the season.

Team News

Despite the fact that there are no injuries or suspensions for the Bucheon team there are still some problems that need to be solved. One of them is discipline at the back, as six of the last seven goals that Bucheon have conceded have been from penalties. While some have come from contentious decisions and Bucheon may well blame bad luck, this is a problem that needs to be sorted. The Bucheon defenders have to be more careful and this could lead to the coach making wholesale changes at the back if this continues further into the season. However, as the last two matches have been draws and the defenders have otherwise performed well, they could be safe for now.

Another consistent problem has been the lack of goals from up front, but due to the goalscoring form of the midfielders and defenders in the team this may not be much of an issue. In fact, the coach seems to be content with building his squad around his midfield talents instead and he started last week's game with a 4-1-4-1 formation. While seemingly a defensive way to structure a team, it in fact utilises the clubs's most potent goal-scoring threat by giving the midfielders and defenders freedom to move into different positions and cover each other. It allowed the team, for example, to play something more akin to a 3-4-3 formation when attacking, while then easily being able to fall back and reset when in defence. While all clubs would like to have a prolific centre-forward scoring in every game, if Bucheon continue to accept and adapt to the reality that their midfielders are their biggest strength, then this season may continue to bring them success.

The Adversary

It may well appear that Ansan have started the new K League 2 season in a somewhat unconvincing fashion on paper, however, their points tally thus far does not give a true reflection of the majority of their performances, which have been bright and encouraging in the main. Greeners' gaffer, Lim Wan-seop got a much-needed result last time out and will be hoping to build on that positive display in this encounter as he looks for his first win on the road in charge of the Green Wolves. Ansan will also welcome back their talismanic playmaker, Jang Hyeok-jin for this contest. The ex-Gangwon player missed the Asan fixture through suspension.

Who To Watch


Newly-appointed Ansan captain, Lee Hee-seong had a fine afternoon between the Greeners’ sticks in the Asan home triumph. The former Ulsan keeper did superbly well to keep out Ju Se-jong on a couple of occasions, the first; a low one-handed stop from a dangerous bending free-kick before the break, the second; a fine double-handed save from the Korean international’s arced shot. Lee also has a penalty save to his name this term after denying Daejeon’s Aurelian Chițu from the spot earlier in the season. Lim Wan-seop clearly has a lot of faith in the Green Wolves goalie and will more than likely need his number one to be at his best again in this affair.

All Ansan reporting in this article by Greeners correspondent James Walsh

Prediction

Bucheon are the stronger side on paper, but Ansan have proven on the pitch to be a nuisance for the hosts. While both clubs have had positive results recently, their form has not exactly set the league alight. When all factors are taken into account, it seems like this will be too even of a match to declare an outright winner. Ansan will frustrate Bucheon and Bucheon's drawing streak will likely continue.

Predicted Score: Bucheon FC 1995 1-1 Ansan Greeners

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