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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Jeonnam Dragons

Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Jeonnam Dragons K League 2 Round 18
Asan Mugunghwa head into their K League 2 encounter with Jeonnam Dragons this coming Sunday after their signature win of the season, defeating Busan IPark at the Gudeok last weekend.  Jeonnam also got a much needed win over Bucheon 1995, moving them to within two points of seventh in the table.  It can surely be seen as a very important match for both clubs.  Asan got the better end of things when the sides met on opening weekend, walking away with a 3-0 victory.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match. 

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Jeonnam Dragons
Venue: Yi Sun-sin Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday July 7th, 2019; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Busan IPark 2-4 Asan Mugunghwa

Asan scored their biggest win of the season defeating Busan IPark 4-2 away from home last Sunday.  It was a measure of payback for the loss they suffered at the hands of the same club earlier this season, when they fell 5-2 at home.

Things could not have gotten off to a worse start for Asan, as they went behind after only a minute.  Soma Novothny aptly converted Lee Dong-jun's cutback, and instantly it looked as though the second meeting between the two would turn into a carbon copy of the first.  Asan would level the match just before the half hour mark, however, as Ju Se-jong scored his first goal of the season from the penalty spot after Ahn Hyun-beom was felled in the area.

The match would take a drastic turn after the half, as Asan would find three goals in a span of nineteen minutes, including the first two league goals for Yang Tae-ryeol.  Kim Reo also scored for the second match in a row after netting the winner against Daejeon.  Newly minted Korean international Lee Jeong-hyeop scored Busan's second goal of the night, but it was not nearly enough as Asan was able to exact a measure of revenge for the clinic they suffered at the hands of the league's second placed team earlier in the season.

Highlights: here

Jeonnam Dragons 1-0 Bucheon 1995

Jeonnam won a very important match at home getting all three points against Bucheon last time out.  Kim Young-wook scored the lone goal of the match in the 25th minute, getting his foot to a cross just in front of his defender as Jeonnam dominated possession in the first half and was able to take the advantage to the break.

The second half presented very little in the way of chances for either side, and both could not make use of their possession.  Jeonnam seemed content to just control the ball for stretches to preserve their slim lead, but Bucheon never really threatened to level the match at any point until late on in injury time, when Park Jun-hyuk was forced to make a save with just ticks left on the clock, but the Dragons were strong enough defensively to get a result they very badly needed.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The first time these two met at Gwangyang to open the season, Asan won on the strength of three goals while keeping a clean sheet.  Ko Mu-yeol opened the scoring in the seventeenth minute, while Park Min-seo and Oh Se-hun, who were making their professional debuts on the day, also found the net.  Kim Jin-seong was sent off in the second minute of injury time for a second yellow card, but by then, the result had already been confirmed.

The only other time the teams have met was in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup last year, which Jeonnam won on penalties by a count of 4-2 after it had finished 1-1 after 120 minutes.  

Kim Gyeong-min put the Dragons in front on 24 minutes and Lee Myung-joo restored parity on the hour mark, but neither side could find a way through for the remainder of regular or extra time.  Park Dae-han clinched the win denying Kim Dong-jin's spot kick.  

Team News

Asan are quite happy to have the services of Oh Se-hun available to them once again, as last weekend was his first start since returning from the U-20 World Cup in Poland.  They will also try to stretch their win streak to three games, and will have to make it a priority as they pulled level with Suwon FC in the standings on 27 points, but with Gwangju pulling away from the rest of the pack, there will be some pressure to keep up the momentum, knowing that FC Anyang and Ansan Greeners, both of whom they have lost to this season, are hot on their heels.

Yang Tae-ryeol made a splash in a big way scoring a pair of goals against Busan, and was named Player of the Round for K League 2 as a result.  Some of the young talent in the squad is finally starting to come around, and it is giving Park Dong-hyuk a lot more confidence to play them in important matches.

Ju Se-jong's penalty conversion was his first goal of the 2019 campaign having appeared fifteen times, so the hope is that there will be an upturn in his production in the coming matches.

Yang was the only Asan player to get a yellow card last match.  There are no suspensions to concern the manager, so the strongest eleven should take the field from a tactical standpoint.

The big news out of the Jeonnam camp this week is the signing of Bruno Baio.  The 23 year old right footed Brazilian has quite a big frame for a striker, standing at 197 centimeters and tipping at 89 kg, so he could be quite useful as a target in the box.

His major problem is his lack of experience.  He has tallied only 29 appearances in his career thus far, but eleven of those have come this season for Votuporanguense in the Brazilian Paulista A2 league in 2019.  A switch to the K League could be just what he needs to set his career in the right direction.  He may even become the replacement for Bruno Nunes, who has been largely disappointing this season, having scored only twice for the club thus far.

Another recent signing is midfielder Lee Hu-kwon, who made the move from Busan IPark in the transfer window.  He made only five appearances for them this season, and was not in the squad last week.  He can play multiple positions in midfield, and is also capable of playing left back.  The move to Jeonnam should see him get more playing time, with the hope that he can become a valuable contributor once he acclimatizes to his new surroundings.

Goalkeeper Park Jun-hyuk has put together some great performances lately, but unless he gets a bit more help at the front end, the fear is that his efforts will go unnoticed, according to our Ryan Walters.  Jeong Hee-woong went down in some discomfort in the late stages of the match against Bucheon, but the extent of the injury is not known.  Should he be fit enough to play, he should be made available for selection.  There are no suspensions or other injuries of note, so the expectation is that the best in form eleven will take the pitch on Sunday night.

The Adversary


Jeonnam have turned a bit of a corner recently, winning two of their last three matches.  Things have not come easy for the Dragons this season.  With only five wins to their credit so far, only Daejeon Citizen and Seoul E-Land have won less matches, while their fourteen goal output thus far is second-worst only to Daejeon.

The match against Asan is a very important one for them, however, as it is a chance to continue building momentum following last week's win, also knowing that they have matches against Daejeon, Ansan Greeners, and Seoul E-Land coming up in the near future before they face league leaders Gwangju FC on August 3rd.

While they haven't been entirely poor defensively this season, they will need to do a good job of protecting the middle of the park in order to guard against Asan's quick counter-attack.  They did a very good job possessing the ball against Bucheon, but they have to translate that possession into offensive chances and shots on target if they are to get a result from the match.  

Prediction

Asan got the better of the Dragons when they faced off to open the season, and Sunday night should be no different.  The young core of this Asan squad is finally starting to show out, and that bodes well for the rest of the season.

Jeonnam have struggled to find the net on a consistent basis, averaging less than a goal a game with the season already at its midway point.  

Asan has a bit too much talent to let this one slip away, but it may not come easy, as the men in yellow and blue have had mixed results at home in 2019.  Nonetheless, they should have enough to get over the line, and can expect to take all three points at the final whistle.

Predicted Score: Asan Mugunghwa 2-0 Jeonnam Dragons

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