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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Daejeon Citizen

Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2 Round 16
Asan Mugunghwa will look to rebound after a second consecutive loss to Suwon FC last weekend which left them rooted in fourth spot but now with a six point gap outside the top three.  Daejeon meanwhile have struggled this season after making the playoffs in K League 2 last season.  The last time these two clubs met, Asan managed to come away with all three points.  KLU's Branko Belan previews the match.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Daejeon Citizen
Venue: Yi Sun-sin Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday June 22nd, 2019; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Suwon FC 2-0 Asan Mugunghwa

Asan were a bit out of sorts against Suwon last week in the absence of their young striker Oh Se-hun who was busy making history with the Korean U-20 World Cup squad in reaching the final where they eventually fell to Ukraine by a count of 3-1.  Although Asan enjoyed a lion's share of possession for much of the first half, they could not make it count, as several chances in front of goal were squandered.

It would come back to cost them dearly, as An Byong-jun headed in from close range just two minutes before halftime giving the hosts the advantage against the run of play.  The second half presented much of the same story, but Asan could have gone level just before the end of the match, but Ko Mu-yeol put his effort wide of the net despite getting Suwon 'keeper Park Hyeong-soon guessing the wrong way.

That allowed An to pounce for a second a minute before time following a well worked move by the third-placed side, and he just had to tap the ball into the net after a pinpoint pass into his feet from the right.

Highlights: here

Daejeon Citizen 1-3 Ansan Greeners

Daejeon's season to forget continued last weekend with another loss at home, this time by a final of 3-1 to Ansan, who came from behind for the win.  Lee Ho-bin gave Daejeon an early lead before Ansan found an equalizer through Gustavo Vintecinco in the 72nd minute.

Just when it looked like both teams would come away with at least a point, the Green Wolves struck twice in injury time, as Chang Hyuk-jin and Bang Chan-jun each found the net late on to make the score line look a little more handsome for the away side.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Asan and Daejeon have met once this season, with the men in yellow and blue picking up an away win back at the beginning of May.  Ko Mu-yeol scored in the ninth minute and it held up to the end, as Choi Bong-jin picked up the clean sheet.

Last season, Daejeon was a bit of a thorn in the side for Asan, snapping the champions' unbeaten run last fall after they had not lost since May.  In fact, Daejeon had been responsible for both of those defeats, but Saturday could yet present a different story.  Asan however, have not been very good at home this season, and it may be a chance for Daejeon to pick up points and create some distance between themselves and the bottom of the table as they look to make progress upward.

Team News

Saturday will mark the return of Oh Se-hun to the Asan squad after his excellent performance for the U-20 Korean national team at the World Cup in Poland.  He scored a pair of headed goals against Argentina in the last group stage match and Japan in the Round of 16, and struck the decisive penalty against Senegal in the quarters.

There is no question he is in good form at the moment, but will it carry over as he returns to K League action?  For all intents and purposes, it should, as it was his performance in the league which earned him a call-up to the World Cup side.

Last time out, Asan were not short on chances.  They moved the ball well and their creators did well to control the tempo of the match.  Cho Beom-seok is starting to grow into the role of a defensive midfielder very nicely and he will only continue to improve  with more minutes and experience.  

The problem with the output last week was a lack of finishing.  Ko Mu-yeol doesn't seem to have the same chemistry up front with some of the other players the way he does with Oh.  He has also fared better this season as a winger rather than as an out-and-out forward.  With the two reunited on the weekend, it should change their fortunes in front of goal.  There are no suspensions in the team, so the best eleven should take the pitch.

Our Paul Neat spoke to Daejeon central midfielder Shin Hak-young last week and concluded that he should be in contention according to the player himself for the match on Saturday, but that nothing was conclusive.  Shin himself said he was targeting the Asan match for his return, so there is a chance he will be available.

Lee Ji-sol and Kim Se-yun also return from U-20 duty for Daejeon.  Lee has already played quite a bit this season, so he should fit right back into the squad.  Left back Jeon Sang-hoon is a doubt because of injury, however, so Park Soo-il will most likely get the start.  

There is good news for Daejeon in that striker Park In-hyeok and central midfielder Park Su-chang both return from suspension after serving one match bans for three yellows after both were booked in the 1-1 draw with Bucheon at the beginning of May.

The Adversary


Daejeon are a team that has been mired in turmoil this season with a lot happening off the pitch which has had a direct impact on what has happened on it.  They have not won since defeating Bucheon at home on April 22nd, making them winless in their last eight with only two draws and six losses over that span, scoring only four and conceding seventeen.

Their road form this season has been fair, with two wins, three draws and two losses, but those two wins came at the beginning of the season against Ansan and Jeonnam.  The beginning of the season seems quite far off now.  They did however pose some problems for Asan on a number of occasions last season, and gave them a match and then some last time the two sides met.  Despite Asan coming away with all three points from the match, Daejeon were much the better team for long stretches, and could make things difficult for their hosts once again come Saturday night.

Prediction

Asan have struggled at home this season, and their finishing seemingly deserted them last week against Suwon, so they will be in need of a result if they want to keep up the chase for the top three.  They have however, fallen a bit into the rear view mirror as a result of last week's outcome, so they will be hard pressed to turn things around in order to get a second win against Daejeon.

With some key players coming back into the side for the visitors, some from international duty and some from suspension, Daejeon have a realistic chance in this match.  If they can match their performance from the last time they played Asan, it would not be a surprise if they came away with all three points.

Both teams are desperate for a result, but it may be hard to split them based on the previous match this season and when looking back on 2018.  A score draw is likely the most realistic outcome in this one.

Predicted Score: Asan Mugunghwa 1-1 Daejeon Citizen


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