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Preview : FC Anyang vs Asan Mugunghwa

Anyang continue a six match unbeaten run in the league that has seen them fly up the table, from mid-table to battling for the playoff spots. However, the visit of Asan will pose a real test of the team's performance. Despite both teams being in opposing form, expect a tense match at Anyang’s newly improved stadium.


Last Time Out 

Last time out, in the league, Anyang were held to a 0-0 result by Ansan Greeners on the launch day of their newly improved stadium. They showed their ability to control the ball, as the game went on, but lacked the cutting edge to take advantage and score a goal. They went close with efforts from Alex early in the second half and a few half chances near the end of the game where Ansan were fading.

Ansan, to their credit, initially caused problems for Anyang. Their attackers, who were on in the first half, made consistent runs through the sides of the often slow Anyang defence. Luckily, their efforts were steered wide or just off target. After those players were taken off at half time, the game was very much in Anyang’s control, but they just couldn’t get the clinical moment in front of goal.

After the midweek game against Changwon City in the FA Cup, Anyang were left demoralized and with a few injuries, after the disappointing 2-1 loss in extra time. With Kovtulyuk, Palacios and Alex all making appearances, and a lot of the regular first team as well, it's not only disappointing for them to have lost to the lower league side, but to have also picked up a few injuries along the way. This might have an impact on the team for the Asan tie.

Previous Meetings

Anyang’s success this season actually stems from a 2-0 result away at Asan Mugunghwa, where Anyang turned 3 games without a win into the start of this streak. With two second half goals being the difference makers to see Anyang claim all three points.

The game wasn’t as easy as it looked for Anyang, and the 2-0 result flattered them. For long periods of the game Asan were in control and had a lot of missed opportunities early on in the game. Anyang rode their luck and to their credit came out victorious.

Team News

Anyang have a few concerns after the double game week, so expect a few starters to have limited game time or possibly only be used as a substitute. Double game weeks means that Anyang need to rely on their bench to provide a lot of energy for their counter attacking system. This could have an effect on the teams flow with new players coming in and adjusting to the style.

Furthermore, Alex, who is sometimes the best creative outlet for the Anyang team is a huge doubt after seemingly picking up an injury in the FA Cup against Changwon City. Whilst he remained on the pitch, he was heavily strapped and is definitely a doubt for the starting eleven.

The Adversary

Asan Mugunghwa drew away to Bucheon 1995 last weekend, as they were unable to break down the home side’s stiff bunker. They come into the match also with the knowledge that Anyang came away with all three points the first time the two teams played each other this season, as Cho Kyu-sung and Alex Lima scored a pair of late goals to win.

Now it is Asan’s turn to go on the road, but, surprisingly, they have not been all that bad away from home this season. They opened the season with a 3-0 win away to Jeonnam Dragons, and currently have a mini two game unbeaten run going. They will know that they need to get a result this weekend as they get ready to face K League 2 leaders Gwangju FC on the 26th of May.

A big concern for the team, for the foreseeable future, is how the attack will function in the absence of Oh Se-hun, who has joined Korea’s U-20 World Cup squad on its way to Poland. The tournament will start in just under two weeks, so the likelihood is that the towering striker, on loan from Ulsan Hyundai this season, will not be able to rejoin the team until at least early to mid-June.

That presents a matter of Ko Mu-yeol being isolated up top as the lone striker. He will need support to either side of him to be most effective, and the hope is that Park Dong-hyuk will be able to compensate.

Concentration will be key defensively against a quick team like Anyang. Asan have been caught out on a number of occasions this season, and they have to limit the scoring threat inside their own area if they want to come away from the match with a positive result. They are already up against it a bit, as their form and confidence has dipped recently. With the table starting to tighten up in the middle there is very little room for error. Should Asan be able to come away with a win it would put them right back in the mix, as they would leapfrog Anyang in the standings, who currently sit fourth.

It seems that Choi Bong-jin will be the number one between the sticks for the time being, as Yang Hyung-mo went through a rough stretch with a string of poor performances. Choi has only conceded one goal in three matches, and would like to add another clean sheet to his resume.

There has been no indication thus far that Ahn Hyun-beom is ready to return to action after sustaining an injury a few weeks ago, and it may be some time before he cracks the lineup again. Asan are struggling for form and missing some key players, so they could have it all to do this weekend. There are no suspensions in the team, so the expectation is that the strongest lineup will take to the pitch, although there could be a few changes to the side that faced Bucheon last Sunday night.

- Branko Belan

Who To Watch 

Chae Gwang-hoon is going to be very important in this match, with the added problem of fitness after the cup going into extra time. The players around him are going to be either inexperienced or lacking fitness for the full ninety minutes. Whilst he too should be suffering, his leadership will not only lead the back line but also provide confidence to those around him.

There is also a case for any of the young players from the Anyang youth academy that might be given the chance this weekend after expected rotations. They will need to create an impact and could see this as a chance to prove themselves as starters.

Park Dong-hyuk, for Asan, will have the potential this week to create a partnership and to develop himself as the back up attacker, because of the absence of players. Look for him to have an impact and try and force his mark on the game. 

Prediction

With both teams not having the best defensive or offensive records right now, it's most likely that this game could end in another tense 0-0. Although the effects of a two game week might have took a toll on Anyang's players, they're still a very well organised defensive team, with a strong midfield and defense. Combined with the fact Asan are missing some of their more direct attacking players, this game could be missing an attacking spark and might go down to the wire.

Prediction: Anyang 0- 0 Asan Mugunghwa

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