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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Gwangju FC

Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Gwangju FC K League 2 Round 13
Asan Mugunghwa got back into the win column with a 1-0 victory over FC Anyang on the weekend thanks to a 74th minute headed winner from Lee Han-saem.  Gwangju also came away with three points from their match against Seoul E-Land to remain unbeaten in K League 2 after twelve rounds, but still only hold a two point advantage over Busan IPark in second.  Gwangju won by a lopsided 4-0 margin the first time these two met this season back in round two.  Will Asan be able to build on their momentum or will Gwangju get the better of them yet again?  KLU's Branko Belan and Peter Hampshire look ahead to Sunday's match.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Gwangju FC
Venue: Yi Sun-sin Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday May 26th, 2019; 15:00 KST

Last Time Out

FC Anyang 0-1 Asan Mugunghwa

Asan secured a much needed win away to Anyang, leapfrogging to fourth in the table in the process.  It was Anyang, though, who had the majority of possession in dangerous areas in the first half, but failed to make it count.  Asan could have gone in front just before the break, but Ko Mu-yeol's effort was kept out by Yang Dong-won.  It remained goalless at halftime.

Things got physical in the second half, as both teams got banged up quite a bit.  The score line would finally change in the 74th minute, when Lee Han-saem headed in a free kick from Ju Se-jong, which Yang got a hand to, but it wasn't enough to keep the ball out.  Despite their efforts to draw level and take a share of the points, Anyang were unable to do so, and Asan got a very important win to put them back into the upper half of the second division table.

Highlights: here

Gwangju FC 3-1 Seoul E-Land

Gwangju continued their consistent league form with a convincing victory at home to Seoul E-Land on Monday night.  E-Land had a good spell of possession before they conceded their first on 29 minutes, when Lee Eud-deum took a long pass on the left flank from Rustamjon Ashurmatov and hit a low cross into the box, which Kim Jung-hwan struck low and hard into the corner of the net.

Ten minutes later, it would be Willyan Barbosa who got on the score sheet.  Lee once again played provider on the left, sending another low ball into the box, and Barbosa hit it first time past the outstretched arms of Kim Young-kwang.

E-Land would pull one back in the second half through Douglas Coutinho in the 76th minute, but the hosts would add a third through Yeo Re-um with just under ten minutes left.  There was no change in the result afterwards, and Gwangju handily extended their unbeaten run in the league to twelve.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The teams met in the second week of the season, and Gwangju won handily at home by a final of 4-0.  A hat-trick from Felipe and a single from Kim Jin-hwan did the damage as Asan was reduced to ten men for most of the second half following a straight red to Ju Se-jong for a reckless challenge on 52 minutes.

Things were much more even last season, as both teams won a match apiece in the head to head, while two matches finished in draws.  Asan will hope to get three points and secure back to back wins for the first time this season.

Team News

Asan have been experimenting lately with new tactics as a result of injuries in the squad, and their match against Anyang saw them shift their midfield formation into a diamond, with Cho Beom-seok in a holding role and Ko Mu-yeol sitting in behind Park Min-seo and Kim Min-woo, who started up top.  It seemed to pay off, as Asan got the win in the end, but they still have some things to sort out defensively.

Park Dong-hyuk said recently that there is a degree of desparation for the team to win, adding that the new players who have been worked into the squad in the past few weeks have shown promise, and can be of help to the team in the future.

The win against Anyang will do some good to improve the atmosphere amongst the players, and Park added that if they pour all of their effort into preparation, that results would come naturally.  The last win, then, can hopefully serve as a stepping stone for better things to come.  There are no suspensions in the side, so the strongest possible eleven will start and there is not expected to be a change in tactics based on last weekend's result.

Gwangju have yet to lose in the league this season, but still only have a slim lead atop the standings.  They do, however, have the best scorer in the league in their ranks, as Felipe will look to add to his goal tally.  He is the only player in both divisions to have hit double figures, and will be looking forward to facing Asan a second time, as he was a constant threat in front of goal the last time they met.  Gwangju also have no suspensions going into the match, and will likely field a similar lineup to the one which outclassed Asan in Round Two.

The Adversary

Gwangju boss Park Jin-seop has big decisions to make at centre-back this weekend as Lee Han-do returns from suspension.  The Yellow’s have failed to keep a clean sheet during his two-game league absence but do still possess a history-making unbeaten run at the summit of K League 2.  Rustam Ashurmatov and Kim Jin-hwan were part of a back-line that looked uncharacteristically shaky in the opening exchanges against Seoul E-Land.  Scoring against the run-of-play, Gwangju certainly needed Kim Jeong-hwan’s curling strike on the half-hour mark to gain some control.  A 3-1 score line flattered the hosts in truth, who will have to improve in terms of performance should they get a positive result in Asan.

Facing a tricky run of fixtures that sees Gwangju face three of the top five away from home in their next four games, the next month will represent a true character test of the Yellow’s title credibility.  Expected to return on Sunday, manager Park will be hoping star man Felipe can get a string of games back under his belt.  While they have collected maximum points in his absence, performance levels of those around him suffer without a domineering central figure to play off.

Brazilian winger Willyan Barbosa grabbed his first goal for the club on Monday night with a lovely controlled finish after good interplay down the left.  Becoming increasingly influential, the 25-year-old benefits from having an experienced pair of central midfielders behind him comprising of Yeo-reum and Park Jeong-soo.  While Gwangju didn't really impress against E-Land, one player who did grab the game by the scruff of the neck was Choi Jun-hyeok, who has become more of a goal threat in recent games breaking late into the box.

(by Peter Hampshire)


Despite being at home, Asan have not looked great on their own pitch, and, results have been perhaps a bit short of expectation to this point in the season.  Gwangju are still unbeaten coming into this one, and have already beaten their opponents this season, and that by a resounding margin.

It would be a lot to ask for Asan to get three points against a side that has traditionally given them problems over the years, but a draw is not out of the question as long as the back line can stick to its assignments.  They are also somewhat short-handed up front, and goals have been very hard to come by in recent weeks.  If they can limit Gwangju's chances in front of goal, then a share of the spoils is not out of the question.

Predicted Score: Asan Mugunghwa 1-1 Gwangju FC    

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