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Preview: FC Anyang vs Ansan Greeners

Anyang march onto to their first home game after a 10 game opening of all away trips, which sees Anyang finally christen their new stands with a match against their local rivals. The ten games on the road were remarkably better than last years first 10 games and Anyang now, surprisingly, sit 3rd in the table. This is all thanks to the great run of form which has Anyang unbeaten in four, despite their collapse against Bucheon last week. Will Anyang open the new season off at home with yet another victory?

Last Time Out 

As mentioned, Anyang have been on an incredible streak of good results. However, that nearly came to an end after the scare at Bucheon. Anyang had started the game off at a fast pace, and scored within 12 minutes from a Kovtulyuk deflection. Although the first half wasn't as smooth as it should have been for Anyang, with a long VAR check on a Bucheon goal, which was eventually ruled as offside by the slightest of margins. Despite this riding of luck, Anyang continued to push on and netted a second goal via Cho Kyu-sung, who was sublime throughout the whole match.

With a two goal advantage and only five minutes to go before the full time whistle, it was pretty much an easy victory from there, or so it should have been. Within five minutes the Anyang defense and midfield had fallen apart and so did the clean sheet. Within moments a clear victory had turned into a tense draw.

Ansan are in a very similar position to Anyang in the last five games, with only one loss to a high flying second place Busan. Ansan's last game was a competitive 1-1 with Asan Mugunghwa which saw Ansan concede an unfortunate own goal in the 86th minute. 

Despite their issues with VAR and unlucky decisions in the first quarter of the season, it is safe to say that Ansan have found some form and will be a tough opponent. Especially after their demolition job over Jeonnam Dragons with spectacular goals. This Ansan side have showcased a lot of ability and with recent defensive stability shown in their consistent draws or victories, they could be one to watch for a mid season run. 

Previous Meetings

Anyang and Ansan Greeners last met in week 4, with an away tie for Anyang. The match ended in a tight 1-1 result. Ansan were leading in the first half thanks to a strike from Kim Yeon-soo. The second half was a more open expansive game with both teams having chances to score, but it was Anyang who were fortunate with a goal from Kovtulyuk. With both sides pushing for a victory it was a wonder why it only ended 1-1.

The last encounter showcased both teams strategic approach, with Anyang displaying their now constant overlapping and counter attacking system to full effect. Whereas Ansan were much more free flowing in their attacks and that showed with having more possession and shots than Anyang. It leads me to believe that Anyang and Ansan will be yet another tight fixture in which clashing systems cause either a stalemate or a slight edge for which ever team is fitter.

Team News

This Anyang team have accumulated quite a few yellow cards to their defensive players and although no one should be banned for this game there is a high possibility that the manager will rotate his squad. On the other hand, being that this is the home opener for Anyang, they will most likely want to start their strongest line up giving them the best chance for victory. Both teams should be fully prepared and rested for this encounter in game week 10.

Adversary

Lim Wan-seop’s side have only been beaten once in seven since being dumped out of the FA Cup by K3 outfit, Hwaseong FC at the end of March. They can, however, count themselves unlucky not to have come away from the Yi Sun-sin stadium with all three points from last Saturday’s score draw with Asan. An evenly contested first-half saw the hosts correctly have a goal ruled out midway through the period, after Lee Han-saem bundled in from a corner kick with the use of his hand. And it was the away team that actually came closest to taking the lead, as Park Jin-seop rattled the Mugunghwa crossbar with a stinging drive on the stroke of half-time. 



The game really sprang into life halfway through the second forty-five however, when Ansan’s Brazilian play maker Fauver put the Sudogwon visitors in front. Fauver combined to wonderful effect with his compatriot Gustavo Vintecinco to steer a well-placed shot beyond man-of-the-match, Choi Bong-jin. The goalkeeper then prevented the ex-Gyeongnam midfielder from bagging his second of the afternoon with a terrific block moments later. 

This proved to be a turning point in the encounter after Park Dong-hyuk’s men brought parity in a somewhat fortuitous fashion ten minutes from time. Kim Reo’s low strike found the back of the net after hitting the post and rebounding onto the back of the hapless Hwang In-jae between the Greeners’ sticks. The Gyeonggi travelers almost won the contest at the death, but were again thwarted by the brilliance of Bong-jin, this time pulling off a superb one-handed save to deny Jang Hyeok-jin a certain winner. The Green Wolves will need to be a lot more clinical in front of goal to secure a victory in the second ‘Line 4 Derby’ of the season in what promises to be a tight affair against their old foe on Sunday evening. 

- James Walsh

Who To Watch

From an Anyang perspective the only player to watch is Cho Kyu-sung. The attacker has been in immense form, with goals and assists. He is not only the focal point for Anyang, but also the most valuable player. Another player to watch is Alex, to see whether he can contribute in attacking areas of the pitch and also provide a better defensive shift after his mistake recently.

For Ansan it is obviously Gustavo Vintecinco who has four goals in six appearances for the club. The Brazilian striker has been instrumental in getting points for Ansan this season. Kim Jin-rae (my pick for Anyang's young player of the season in 2018), now suiting up for Ansan, is also going to be playing and he will no doubt show his class again. This might be an attacking game so also keep an eye out for goalkeepers to be important for the final result.

Prediction

A 2-2 tightly contested match between two rivals. 

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