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Preview: Busan IPark v Asan Mugunghwa

K League 2 Preview: Busan IPark vs Asan Mugunghwa

Two teams with three wins from their last five games face off in the K League 2 this Sunday, as 2nd placed Busan IPark host last season's K League 2 champions Asan Mugunghwa. Both sides require a win to keep pace in their respective battles for a league title and playoff spot, as they look set to clash in stormy South Coast conditions.


Last Time Out

Ansan Greeners 0-0 Busan IPark

Busan travelled to Gyeonggi Province last Saturday to play out an entertaining 0-0 draw with unfancied mid table side Ansan Greeners. Whilst this will feel like two dropped points for a Busan side that had most of the possession, it is Ansan who should feel most aggrieved at being unable to find the net having had the game's best chances.

Busan failed to consistently generate openings behind a tight and compact Ansan defence, relying on the speed and guile of Lee Dong-jun to create the few chances they had. His roaming run early in the first half set up Lee Jeong-hyeop to shoot narrowly wide, before he himself shot twice directly at the keeper after creating space within the 18 yard box. Other than a cracking Han Ji-ho freekick which was well saved, Busan never looked like scoring late into the game.

Ansan's Gustavo Vintecinco had a terrible day at the office, squandering three golden chances to secure a win which the Greeners would have richly deserved. The tempo was set in the second minute, when Busan's keeper Kim Hyung-keun flapped at a speculative cross from the right wing, setting up Vintecinco 15 yards out. Unfortunately, Ansan's number nine left his shooting boots at home, missing the open goal wide right.

Ansan targeted IPark with crosses from set pieces designed to free their target man, and the Brazilian did well to find space, first from a corner where Park Jun-hui nodded the ball back for Vintecento to hoof over from 10 yards, before he hit the post from a free header just five minutes from time.

Highlights: here

Asan Mugunghwa 1-0 Daejeon Citizen

Asan edged a drab encounter with strugglers Daejeon Citizen 1-0, in a game where the pre-match pyrotechnics was arguably the most exciting talking point of the match.

Asan scored off their only meaningful attack, in a display of ruthless direct football that won't win any awards but does showcase some outstanding individual skill. Kang Soon-hyeok's aerial through ball from his own half found Kim Reo on the left wing, who did extraordinarily well to control the ball first time before wrong footing then blazing past the hapless Lee Jeong-mun. With the keeper to beat from a tight angle, Kim showed poise and composure of a player well beyond his 22 years to find the top corner and celebrate his first goal as a senior professional.

Neither team was able to create chances in the second half as the game laboured on, however Mugunghwa can count themselves lucky after a late scare. Daejeon Park In-Hyeok's ran unchallenged to meet a through ball into the box, but powered a free header wide from eight yards out with the goal gaping and goalkeeper stranded. Asan held on to claim all three points.


Previous Meetings

Asan Mugunghwa previously hosted Busan IPark in Gameweek 6, in a remarkable game which came to kickstart Busan's season. In front of Korea National Team coach Paulo Bento, Asan imploded to concede five goals against an unstoppable IPark side. Lee Jeong-hyeop marked his return to the side with a brace inside the first 10 minutes, though his man of the match performance was equally owed to his wonderful link up play that helped Romulo, Diego and Kwon Yong-hyun get onto the scoresheet.

There were signs of Asan's attacking threat from a wonderful counter attacking goal finished by Ko Moo-yeol, but the dismissal of defenders Kim Jun-su and Lee Han-saim gave them no chance of recovery. The truth is Busan should have won by a much higher margin, with Kim Jin-gyu and Kwon Yong-hyun both missing golden chances before Lee Myung-joo's last minute consolation.

Overall, Busan has won seven of the 14 games played between the sides, whilst Asan have picked up two victories.

Team News

Busan IPark

Kim Myeong-jun is suspended after receiving a late yellow card against Ansan. Aleksander Šušnjar will take his place at CB after returning from his own one match ban. The Australian will play alongside Korea U23 international Hwang Jun-ho. Park Jong-woo is likely to be preferred to Lee Hu-kwon as holding midfielder after his return from suspension. Busan have missed his partnership with Romulo in the past two games, whom provide an urgency and creativity from the middle of the park that has been missing when either player has been out of the side.

Coach Cho Duk-jae will be hoping goalkeeper Kim Hyeung-Keun continues his upturn in form, as last season's first choice Kim Hyung-Keun left the club last week to start his military service. This leaves 21 year old Kim Jeong-ho as the only other recognised goalkeeper at the club. 

At the other end of the pitch, Cho has tinkered with his front four much in recent weeks, as Busan's goals have somewhat dried up in the last 4 games. Though top scorer Lee Jeong-hyeop and Lee Dong-jun are assured of their places, the two other attacking positions are very much up for grabs. Expect Hungarian striker Soma Novothny to be given an extended role against Asan after averaging a goal every 98 minutes this season, particularly given his physical presence allows IPark a Plan B from their traditional free flowing football in predicted monsoon conditions.

Busan IPark's Soma Novothny (right)

Asan Mugunghwa

Veteran defender Lee Han-saim is a doubt for Asan after sitting out their win against Daejeon, which means IPark's attacking stars are unlikely to meet the defender that was sent off for two reckless challenges in the 5-2 rollover back in April. A potentially much larger blow will be the absence of influential Korean international Lee Myung-joo, suspended after receiving his third yellow card of the season. Kim Reo is likely to be rewarded for his winner against Daejeon with a third professional career start.

Oh Se-hun is likely to start after being introduced off the bench against Daejeon. His performances at the U20 World Cup gave Korea an impetus up front as he formed a good relationship with Valencia winger Lee Kang-in, resulting in a headed goal against Argentina and a late winner against Korea's nemesis Japan. The striker has three goals in an Asan side which hasn't been known for its prolificacy this season, and it is hoped he will take his form that saw Korea reach the U20 World Cup Final into the K League 2.

Asan Mugunghwa's Oh Se-hun


There are likely to be monsoon conditions at the Gudeok Stadium this Sunday, which is likely to affect a Busan side which has become accustomed to playing possession based passing football on the deck. Asan meanwhile have looked comfortable playing a direct style of football this season and have looked hard to break down in recent matches, conceding just three goals in the past eight games. Busan can ill afford to lose more ground to Gwangju, yet it is Asan that look most likely to pick up points in their quest to reach the playoffs.

Predicted ScoreBusan IPark 0-1 Asan Mugunghwa

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