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Preview: Busan IPark vs Ansan Greeners

K League 2 Preview: Busan IPark vs Ansan Greeners

After back-to-back victories against two of their promotion rivals, Busan IPark now sit just one point behind K League 2 leaders Gwangju. Their visitors to the Gudeok Stadium this Sunday are Ansan Greeners, another team coming into the game bang on form, and could prove a difficult test for the home side this weekend.

Last Time Out

Busan IPark played out a hugely entertaining game away at Asan Mugunghwa last Saturday. They got off to a lightning start with striker Lee Jung-hyeop scoring twice within the opening 10 minutes, firstly converting Kim Moon-hwan's cross from close range, and then following up on his own saved penalty after Lee Dong-joon was brought down. The military team responded well, with Ko Mu-yeol scoring just three minutes later after a devastating counterattack. Asan enjoyed a good spell of possession as they began to chase the game, but a red card for Kim Jun-su just after the half hour mark proved to be the game's pivotal moment. The defender hauled down Lee Dong-joon as he ran through on goal, and Busan restored their two goal lead shortly afterwards, Rômulo converting from the spot after Lee was brought down once again.

Asan's day went from bad to worse when they had a second player sent off just after the break, Lee Han-saem this time for a second booking after the scampering Lee Dong-joon drew another foul. With a two man advantage it became a question of simply how many Busan would score, and they duly added two more goals through substitutes Kwon Yong-hyun and Diego Maurício. Asan never threatened to get back into the game, but they scored a late consolation through Lee Myung-joo after a defence-splitting pass from national team midfielder Ju Se-jong.

Asan Mugunghwa 2-5 Busan IPark highlights here.

Ansan Greeners, meanwhile, were in action last Saturday and they recorded victory away to Bucheon 1995. Bucheon had looked to be on their way to three points after Kim Jae-woo gave them the lead on 38 minutes with a low drive, but a spirited late fightback from the Green Wolves turned the game on its head, with goals from Lee In-jae and Bang Chan-jun sending the Greeners up to sixth in the table.

Bucheon 1-2 Ansan Greeners highlights here.

Previous Meetings

Busan IPark and Ansan Greeners have met only eight times previously, Ansan having been founded only two years ago, and the home side boast an impressive record against the Green Wolves. Busan have won six of the eight meetings, while the other two matches ended in draws. In those matches, Busan scored fifteen goals and conceded only three.

The Green Wolves played out a goalless stalemate against IPark at the Gudeok Stadium in October in the most recent encounter between these two clubs. The visitors were indebted to goalkeeper Lee Hee-seong’s fine performance between the Greeners’ sticks. Having spurned a glorious chance before the end of the first-half after slicing well wide from close-range, Kim Moon-hwan’s shot at redemption after the restart was superbly turned away by the inspired Ansan goalie, who produced a stunning low one-handed save to thwart the winger’s powerful shot. Hee-seong then bravely blocked at the feet of substitute forward, Han Ji-ho, to deny what looked like being a certain opener. The Gyeonggi travellers’ chances were few and far between, Park Jun-hee’s volley from Jang Hyeok-jin’s cross following a short corner on the hour mark, which was kept out well by the fists of Koo Sang-min, was the best of the lot.

The result was especially significant for Busan. With only a few games of the season remaining, Busan had held their fate in their own hands as they battled it out with Seongnam for the automatic promotion spot. After this draw, Seongnam went on to achieve automatic promotion and Busan went on to lose in the playoff final to FC Seoul.

Team News

Busan IPark lineup versus Asan Mugunghwa, K League 2 Round 6

There are question marks over the fitness of key players Lee Jung-hyeop and Kim Moon-hwan after both went off with injuries in Busan's win last weekend. If they are deemed unfit, Soma Novothny could return to lead the attack, and 19 year-old Lee Sang-joon (who was recently called into the Korean squad for the U20 World Cup) could deputise at right back after an impressive showing against Daejeon two weeks ago.

Coach Jo Deok-jae is unlikely to shuffle his pack too much after last weekend's resounding win, but Diego Maurício is pushing to make his first league start for the club after being a goalscoring substitute in each of the last two games.

The Adversary

Ansan appear to have turned a corner under manager, Lim Wan-seop. Back-to-back wins against Asan Mugunghwa and Bucheon 1995 have catapulted the Green Wolves up to sixth position in the league and the Greeners look set to give Busan a tough test this weekend.

The Green Wolves showed great character in their comeback win at the Bucheon Stadium last Saturday. 1995 took the lead late into the first forty-five after Kim Jae-woo’s angled drive from former Ansan attacking midfielder, Moon Ki-han’s through-ball beat Hee-seong at his near post. The Greeners brought parity five minutes from time when Lee In-jae tapped in an equaliser, the centre-half reacted first to Choi Cheol-won’s terrific stop from Park Jin-seop’s header to bundle home his first goal of the year. The away eleven were reduced to ten moments later when Gustavo Vintecinco’s high boot connected with compatriot, Nilson’s upper thigh. Lim Wan-seop’s side were not to be denied however, as striker, Bang Chan-jun came off the bench to complete the turnaround in stoppage time with a fine side-foot finish from Hyeok-jin’s pass to send the away support into raptures.

The Green Wolves are in high spirits and will have taken a lot of confidence from their two draws on the road in this fixture last season. While Vintecinco’s suspension is a major blow, Ansan will feel that Ishida Masatoshi is more than capable of filling the Brazilian’s void, and another point on Sunday would represent a great result for the Sudogwon team.

-by Ansan Greeners columnist James Walsh.

Who To Watch


For Busan IPark, few players have made better starts to the season than Lee Dong-joon. In six games, the jet-heeled winger has scored two goals, recorded one assist, and won a remarkable four penalties. Last weekend he almost single-handedly dismantled the Asan Mugunghwa defence, his quick feet drawing fouls for two penalties and, in separate incidents, two red cards for the military men. Primarily a substitute in his first two years with the club, 22 year-old Lee now appears to be near-undroppable.


For Ansan Greeners, midfielder Jang Hyeok-jin will be key to unlocking this fragile Busan IPark defence. The 29 year-old playmaker was instrumental in both of the Green Wolves' goals last weekend, taking his tally to 23 assists in 72 appearances for the club. Jang has almost 200 league games under his belt and if Ansan are to prevail this weekend then their number 7 is likely to be at the centre of it.

Prediction

Busan IPark are the league's top scorers and with a plethora of attacking talent they will provide a stern test for the visiting defence. For all their attacking flair, however, Busan always look capable of shipping goals, conceding an average of two per game, and Ansan will fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet despite the loss of Vintecinco through suspension. The Green Wolves have yet to record victory over Busan, however, and this might not be the best time to play them. Expect goals for both teams.

Busan IPark 2-2 Ansan Greeners



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