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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Bucheon FC 1995

Preview: Gwangju FC vs Bucheon FC 1995
K League 2 football returns to Gwangju for the first time in four weeks with Bucheon FC 1995 hoping they can be the ones to disrupt the Yellows' blistering start to the season. While eyes may be on one of their own in Eom Won-sang performing well at the U20 World Cup, Park Jin-seop's side have a title race to commence after regaining top spot last time out. 

Last Time Out

FC Anyang 0-1 Gwangju FC

With star man Felipe settled back into his number nine role after a struggle with injuries, Gwangju showed their pressing intentions clear from the off and looked very lively in the opening stages. The Brazilian striker flashed a header past the post for the visitors before Anyang finally stirred on the half-hour mark with Cho Kyu-sung firing wide. Lee Eu-ddeum, Gwangju's set piece taker extraordinaire, stunned all 3000 inside the Anyang Stadium and presumably himself on 63 minutes as his 40-yard free kick sailed over the head of embarrassed Anyang keeper Choi Pil-soo. What appeared to be an over-hit cross crept just under the bar and claimed all three points for Park Jin-seop's men.

Highlights: here

Bucheon FC 1995 1-1 Daejeon Citizen

Lodged together in the lower reaches of the table, perhaps it's no surprise that these two played out a draw. The hosts suffered a nightmare start as An Tae-hyun allowed the Purples winger Kim Seung-sub too much time to pick out Park In-yeok who headed home inside the first 60 seconds. Left back An redeemed himself slight to deny Daejeon's Park a sure second before Kim Ryun-do grabbed Bucheon's equaliser just before the interval. Jang Baek-gyu's free kick wide on the right did not seem ideal at first, but Kim ran across the front of his marker, arched his neck and flicked in a fine headed goal off the far post. Ecuadorian striker Marlon de Jesus came off the bench looking for his first goal for the club but was denied a late winner by a stretching Park Jae-woo in the Daejeon net.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The pair met as recently as May with Yeo-reum bagging a 94th-minute winner for Gwangju. In particularly heartbreaking fashion after Bucheon had clung on for an hour with 10 men, a low cross deflected to the unmarked Yellow's captain to keep his calm and slot home inside the near post. Fixtures between the two in the 2018 season were evenly contested and notable for Bucheon netting twice inside two minutes in Jeollanamdo last March. Another win for the Reds followed thanks to Jin Chang-soo before a run of three games unbeaten for Gwangju to the present day.

Yeo Reum in action, Gwangju's captain scored the winner the last time these two met.


The Adversary

After an international break in which none of their players received any call-ups at senior or youth level, a well-rested and full-strength Bucheon FC 1995 side should be raring to get back into action to continue their recent improvement. While it does not compare to Gwangju's form, Bucheon have recorded only one defeat in their past five games. Admittedly, Bucheon have only won one in the same period, but combining that with important draws has resulted in them achieving one of their most productive periods since the beginning of the season. Gwangju are tough opposition, but Bucheon are looking like a side that are on the verge of hitting a groove.

One thing that will ease the worries of Bucheon as they prepare to face Gwangju is that they appear to have solved their attacking problem. For most of the season all of Bucheon's goals came from defence and midfield, but winger Kim Ryun-do has been successfully converted into a striker and has five goals to his name, more than double the next best for the Reds. In many of the matches where he has played as a forward, Kim has been partnered with another attacker, usually Marlon de Jesus. However, Kim has played as a lone striker on occasion, including in the previous match against Daejeon in which he scored. This performance led to him being the only Bucheon player to be selected in that week's team of the week. His success in this position could signal a permanent return to Bucheon's use of the 4-5-1 formation, which has been preferred for the majority of the campaign but did look like it could be scrapped due to some good results when trying out a 3-5-2 system.

Kim Ryun-do looking on as Guk Tae-jeong gets sent off against Gwangju in May.
There is still a question in regards to who will be in goal. Choi Cheol-won has been the starting keeper for the majority of Bucheon's campaign and has had a mixed bag of performances. This resulted in him being dropped for two matches in favour of Lee Yeong-chang, who oversaw a victory and a defeat. Choi returned and has performed well since, but the way Lee impressed in his debut game will no doubt be lingering in the back of the coach's mind. Overall, Bucheon appear to be set in their ways and will probably not experiment against Gwangju. It will be a tough test, but Bucheon may be able to salvage something if they play to their full potential.

Who To Watch

The conversion of Kim Ryun-do into an out-and-out striker has been successful and has turned him into one of Bucheon's most deadly assets. The five goals that he has scored this season brings him level with his highest total for a single season, which he achieved in 2015. 27 year-old Kim has spent his entire professional career at Bucheon since arriving from Kwangwoon University, with the exception of his loan spell at police side Asan Mugunghwa during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

While he did not play a lot during his time away, he did earn a K League 2 winners medal last year and in a sign of things to come he scored two goals in his last two games on the season, one which a winner against Bucheon. He has more than made up for this transgression by proving himself to be a good luck charm for Bucheon, as they remain undefeated in every match he has scored in. Bucheon may be the underdogs against Gwangju, however if Kim is in good form they have every reason to believe they can avoid defeat.

Prediction

The international break came at a good time for Gwangju allowing key players to recuperate. Felipe, Yeo Bong-hun and Doo Hyun-suk now have full training under their belts with winger Lee Hee-gun recovered from his stint with Korea U22s. I feel that a rejuvenated side may be too strong for Bucheon despite their late resurgence. Gwangju boss Park Jin-seop once again has to choose two of three in-form centre backs and with others set to return to the starting eleven perhaps this chopping and changing could be something for Bucheon to exploit.

Predicted Scored: Gwangju FC 2-0 Bucheon FC 1995

See also: K League 2 Round 15 Preview

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