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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Busan IPark

Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Busan IPark K League 2 Round 21
Ansan Greeners face off against K League 2 high-flyers Busan IPark at the Wa~ Stadium on Saturday night. The Green Wolves will be hoping to maintain their fine form following five victories from their last seven, while the visitors are looking to get back to winning ways, after failing to take advantage of a rare slip-up by leaders, Gwangju FC last weekend. 

Last Time Out

Ansan Greeners 1-0 Jeonnam Dragons

Ansan stayed in contention for a playoff spot with a hard-fought one-nil success over Jeonnam Dragons at home last Sunday. An evenly contested first-half produced few clear-cut chances, the best of which saw Jeong Hee-woong slice wide when well placed, after being teed up by Han Chan-hee. At the other end, South Korea U-20 skipper, Hwang Tae-hyeon forced Park Jun-hyuk into a terrific one-handed save after meeting Jang Hyeok-jin’s cross with a bullet header.

The two sides continued to cancel each other out in a drab second forty-five, but the game did finally come alive in its latter stages, following a few inspired substitutions from both Lim Wan-seop and Fabiano Soares. Ex-Hongik University attacker, Kim Jin-wook came on with time running low, and his twenty-five yard piledriver was expertly kept out by Park Jun-hyuk.

Dragons’ forward, Bruno Baio also caught the eye following his introduction from the bench for the Gwangyang eleven, and a free-kick which he won nearly saw the South Jeolla travellers come away with all three points in the dying embers of the fixture. However, the woodwork came to the rescue for the Greeners, as Kim Young-wook struck the inside of Lee Hee-seong’s right-hand post and Lee Seul-chan could only put the rebound wide with his head. It was a glaring miss that ultimately proved costly for Jeonnam, as Kim Jin-wook set-up fellow substitute, Bang Chan-jun for the simplest of tap-ins deep into stoppage time with virtually the last kick of the game to break the hearts of the away supporters.

Highlights: here

Busan IPark 2-2 Bucheon FC 1995

The Green Wolves’ opponents on Saturday, Busan IPark played out an entertaining score draw at the Gudeok Stadium against Bucheon FC 1995 last weekend. The early phases of the first forty-five brought a couple of golden opportunities for Cho Deok-je’s players, who would have opened the scoring, but for Gam Han-sol’s wonderful goal-line block that denied Lee Dong-jun with the net gaping. Rômulo then tested Choi Cheol-won on the half-hour mark, with a rasping blast from Kim Moon-hwan’s pull-back, which the 1995 keeper was equal to. Song Sun-ho’s XI proved to be threatening on the counter throughout the opening period though, and took the lead through a Nilson penalty after Marlon de Jesús was clumsily bundled over by Seo Yong-deok in the area.

Soma Novothny replaced Seo at half-time, in what turned out to be a masterstroke by Cho. Novothny brought parity shortly after the restart with a classy finish from Lee Jung-hyub’s beautifully weighted pass. The Hungarian striker then turned provider moments later, when he laid off Rômulo, who crashed home a swerving left-footed pearler from the edge of the Bucheon box, to put Busan firmly in the driving seat. The Gyeonggi side’s afternoon went from bad to worse after Gam Han-sol received a second yellow card for blatantly pushing Rômulo from behind.

The Sudogwon visitors then were indebted to Choi Cheol-won for keeping them in the affair, twice thwarting IPark from close-range, denying Lee Dong-jun and Diego Maurício a killer third for the hosts, who were looking to make their man advantage pay. The home team were left to rue such wastefulness however, when Moon Ki-han’s set-piece forced Kim Myung-jun into an own goal at the death to steal a point for 1995.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Ansan and Busan fought out a goalless draw at the Wa~ in late June. The home side’s South American centre-forward, Gustavo Vintecinco came close to making the breakthrough midway through the first-half after striking Kim Hyung-geun’s crossbar, following a well-worked set-piece that saw Park Jun-hui nod Jang Hyeok-jin’s delivery into the Brazilian’s path. The Gyeongsang outfit started the match in a surprisingly lacklustre fashion, but sparked into life in the later moments of the first forty-five, Vintecinco’s compatriot, Rômulo hit the woodwork with a howitzer from the edge of the Green Wolves’ penalty area, after a clever Kim Jin-kyu dummy from Lee Jung-hyub's cut-back.

Cho Deok-je’s men started the second period with greater energy and vigour, and bossed proceedings after the resumption. Former Ansan player, Han Ji-ho forced an excellent two-handed stop from Hwang In-jae with a curling free-kick, as IPark began to turn the screw twenty minutes from time. But the Greeners’ backline, expertly marshalled by stand-in skipper, Lee In-jae, managed to absorb Busan’s relentless pressure, and Lim Wan-seop’s boys almost snatched the unlikeliest of triumphs, when Bang Chan-jun headed Jang Hyeok-jin’s corner against the post from close-range.

The Yeongnam club’s response was instant however, as South Korean international, Kim Moon-hwan drew a fine block from Hwang in between the Greeners’ sticks, the ex-Seongnam goalie then pulled off a remarkable save from Bang Chan-jun’s unintentional backwards defensive header from Rômulo’s corner, somehow clawing the ball onto his near post.

The bout ended in a controversial manner, when Hwang was initially given a straight red card in the last minute of stoppage time for an apparent foul on Lee Dong-jun, after the forward latched onto Han Sang-woon’s slide rule pass and was seemingly felled. However, a VAR referral overruled the dismissal, as replays showed that the onrushing Ansan goalkeeper made contact with the ball as opposed to the man. The Gyeonggi eleven kept the southcoasters at bay for the remainder and were good value for their hard-earned point against a true title contender.

Team News

Bang Chan-jun staked a claim for a starting berth following his last-gasp decider last Sunday. The 25-year-old attacker has been used primarily as an impact substitute, and proved to be a problematic nuisance for the IPark defenders following his introduction in the Wa~ stalemate. The ex-Suwon Bluewings’ man scored late winners in the Bucheon and Daejeon away conquests too, and offers a direct and pacey option for Lim, something which the Green Wolves desperately lacked last year.

Busan’s 6’1” target man, Soma Novothny is also vying to start from the off in this one. The one-time Napoli centre-forward has averaged a goal every two games this year, and stole the show in the last half of the Bucheon draw on Saturday with a goal and an assist.

The Adversary


Busan are having a fine season under Cho Deok-je and have been impressive on their travels, racking up six away wins in 2019. IPark have only lost one game on the road thus far, which was a single goal defeat to Jeonnam at the end of May. The port city side are also the highest scorers in the division, having netted on an incredible forty-four occasions to date this campaign. Ansan will need to be at their defensive best to keep out Lee Jung-hyub in particular, the ex-Horangi striker has eleven goals and two assists to his name this year, and got his team’s first in Busan’s three-nil drubbing of the Green Wolves at the Gudeok in April.

What To Watch


Kim Yeon-soo has been in fantastic form for the Greeners in the year of the Pig. The former E-Land centre-back has played every league game this term, and has been central to Ansan’s much improved performances at the back. Lim Wan-seop’s team boast the second best rearguard in K League 2 having only shipped in nineteen goals so far, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. Kim has struck up a real solid partnership with his fellow centre-half, Lee In-jae, and has proved threatening in the offensive third too, which was evidenced by his headed opener versus FC Anyang in late March, and also by his role in Kim Gyeong-min’s own goal in the away demolition of Jeonnam at the start of June, as well as his assist for Park Jin-seop’s late winner at the Bucheon Stadium earlier this month.

Prediction

Ansan played superbly in the last clash between these two teams and will need to put in another stellar shift in this encounter. Kim Yeon-soo and Lee In-jae are sure to be in for a tough evening’s work, if as expected, Novothny gets the nod up front from the beginning in this contest. The Greeners are in great spirits though, and will fancy their chances of getting something from Saturday’s battle.

Predicted Score: Ansan Greeners 1-1 Busan IPark

[READ: K League 2 Round 21 Preview.]

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