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Preview: FC Anyang vs Busan IPark

K League 2 Preview: FC Anyang vs Busan IPark

FC Anyang have only one victory out of their last five league games, but despite this concern they've played reasonably well, losing only to both Asan Mugungwha and Gwangju who are both in the top five. However, with a home match versus another high-flying opponent in Busan IPark, this will really show whether Anyang are contenders or pretenders.

Last Time Out

FC Anyang played against a very strong and disciplined Gwangju team, with Anyang succumbing to a 1-0 loss after a Gwangju goal in the 63rd minute by Lee Eu-ddeum. Anyang pushed for an equalizer but the misfiring attacking players and the lack of key players taking part in the match meant Anyang didn't have enough to break the defense. Gwangju had a lot of counter-attacking chances with the majority of them being expertly saved by Choi Pil-soo in the Anyang goal.

The game really kicked into life in the second half with Anyang having to send more men forward in an attempt to salvage something out of the game. However, Gwangju defended well and on another day, with a keeper in poorer form, could have had a more clear victory. The positives for Anyang in the 1-0 loss were that they only conceded one goal and the attacking mentality they were able to generate when needed. Although it didn't see any results, it's a good sign heading into another tough game. Gwangju take all the points and the praise for a well-earned on the road victory. They will be a force this season and could yet still go undefeated.

Previous Meetings

The last time Anyang played Busan was in game week one. It was Anyang's greatest victory of the season and arguably still one of their best performances thus far. However, a big factor for Anyang's heavy victory was the surprise element of the new recruits. With Palacios scoring once and Alex getting a brace, Busan had very little information before the match to warn them of those players having such an impact. Now, with a lot of match reports and the benefit of hindsight, it should be a different game for Busan, especially with the still injured Alex unlikely to take part.

Team News

Anyang and Busan both benefit from a relaxed schedule due to the break of international fixtures, and the added day of rest for this game being a Monday fixture. Busan have rallied back after that initial loss and now find themselves 2nd in the league after only losing one game in 11. With Busan having some players away on international duty or fitness concerns, this could be the perfect opportunity for Anyang to repeat their great 4-1 victory earlier in the season.

Alex will most likely be missing for Anyang and Fox, who is still yet to make his debut for Anyang in the defense, is expected to continue to be sidelined. Busan will be able to boast most of their squad that has got them into a very solid position in the league. Without many injuries and bans it should be a tight contest. They will have some problems with young players being away for international duty but despite this, they should be mostly fully fit.

Adversary

A lot has changed for Busan since their 4-1 humiliation on the 2nd March. The left side of the defence that day were cut open like a hot knife to butter, and Noh Haeng-seok and Ku Hyun-jin haven’t featured for IPark now since Gameweek six. The now established combination of Alexander Šušnjar and Kim Chi-woo will provide a far more formidable test for the Gyeonggi provincial side to attempt to unlock. Coach Cho Duk-jae has experimented with different formations since IPark's difficult start to the season, setting up the team based upon the strengths of the opposition. Given Anyang’s solid defensive record in recent games but lack of potency up front, Busan may well set up as a 4-4-2, with target man Soma Novothny getting the nod ahead of on-form attacking midfielder Kim Jin-kyu.

Almost the entire squad remains available for selection, with only reserve right wing-back Lee Sang-jun absent as a member of the Korea Republic U20 side targeting World Cup glory against Ukraine. Summer signing Jung Sung-min may make his first appearance of the season, after being named on the bench for the first time against Suwon. The veteran striker was the top scorer for Seongnam in their promotion-winning 2018 campaign with 10 goals, however, finds himself behind Hungarian Novothny, who has 4 goals in just 465 minutes of action, and the almost undroppable Lee Jeong-hyeop in the pecking order for a main striker’s spot.

- Todd Wilde

Who To Watch

From an Anyang perspective Kim Won-min is the player to keep an eye on. The club favorite has had a very bit part showing so far this season, but Anyang's number 77 has been vital in helping the club fortunes. With late cameos in nearly every game, Kim Won-min has had a hand in a lot of game turnarounds this year. With his pace and freshness off the bench, if this game is going to be a 0-0 heading into the latter stages, then expect him to be the late difference maker for Anyang.

For Busan, the two joint top goal scorers in Lee Jeong-Hyeop and Rômulo will no doubt have a pivotal role in this game. The Brazilian star Rômulo has looked brilliant in recent games and might be able to continue this fine form into this game despite the break. Having also showed his passion for Korea from the stands this week with his dictation of crowd performances, watch for the Brazilian to kick on and attempt to manage the tempo on the pitch this Monday.

Prediction

A tight affair with both teams boasting solid defenses, but Busan feature more attacking threats in their line up. With the extra rest, it's possible Anyang have made a game plan for the near undefeated Busan but it's unlikely they can stop them in this great form.

Predicted Score: FC Anyang 1-2 Busan IPark.

[See also: K League 2 Round 15 Preview]

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