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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Seoul E-Land

Asan Mugunghwa went down to a heavy defeat last time out at FC Anyang in K League 2 by a final of 4-1 after completely falling apart defensively in the latter stages of the second half.  Seoul E-Land did not do much better, coming up short against league leaders Gwangju FC.  Asan are still in the hunt for a playoff spot, but have very little margin for error, as Suwon FC are only one point behind them in the standings.  Seoul E-Land are now five points adrift at the bottom of the table.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to an important match for both clubs.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Seoul E-Land
Venue: Yi Sun Shin Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday July 21st, 2019; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

FC Anyang 4-1 Asan Mugunghwa

Asan missed a great opportunity for points against Anyang last weekend, as they were dispatched with relative ease after Ju Se-jong had equalized for them on the hour mark.

Lee Myung-joo put his team in trouble with under ten minutes to go in the first half when he was sent off for receiving his second yellow of the match.  Asan did manage to level the score, but a quick blitz from Anyang thanks to goals from Kim Sang-won, his second of the match on sixty-six minutes and Cho Kyu-sung four minutes later put them ahead to stay for good.  Manuel Palacios added a fourth four minutes from time to seal what was a terrible night for the defending champions.

Highlights: here  

Seoul E-Land 0-2 Gwangju FC

Seoul E-Land could not get the job done at home against league leaders Gwangju FC, who all but look assured now for automatic promotion to the top flight for next season as they continue their unbeaten run in the second division at nineteen games and counting.

Possession was dead even between the two, but Gwangju had the edge in both total shots and shots on target, which made a big difference in the end.  A goal in each half, the first from Willyan midway through the first period, and then Kim Jung-hwan just past the hour mark were enough to settle the result.  In the end, it showed why both teams are at opposite ends of the table at the moment.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Asan had a lot of success against E-Land last season, and that has carried over to the current campaign, as the defending champions have won both meetings between the clubs earlier this year by a score of 3-1 at the end of March and 2-0 at the beginning of June.  

In the first match, Oh Se-hun made it 1-0 for the hosts on the day five minutes before the end of the first half, while Park Min-seo and Ko Mu-yeol added markers in the second half.  Wesley Alex, who has been one of the bright lights for the Seoul-based club this season, scored the lone goal for the Leopards.

Goals from Lee Myung-joo and Song Hwan-yeong were enough for three points the second time around.  Asan have never lost to E-Land, and would like to keep that streak intact as they continue their pursuit of the post-season with the campaign now at the midway mark.

Team News

Lee Myung-joo will be missing for Asan after double yellows resulting in a sending off against Anyang.  They will also be without Kim Dong-jin who picked up his third yellow of the season.  There is also concern over Lee Han-saem, who has not been in the squad in each of the last four matches, although there has not been any word of an injury.

His form has been less than what was expected from Park Dong-hyuk, and that has resulted in some of the younger players getting more playing time recently.  He may have to be called back into the side as Asan looked a bit thin at the back last week.  It is interesting to note that he has played all ninety minutes in every match he has been involved in this season.  They were badly exposed in the second half and need to have a better look in the back with key matches coming up next month against Busan IPark, Ansan Greeners, Jeonnam Dragons and Suwon FC.  They finish out the month of July against Daejeon Citizen, who have always proven to be a tricky opponent for them regardless of where the clubs are in the standings.

For Seoul E-Land, it was a weekend where Seoul E-Land truly threw caution into the wind.  Having one of the worst goal differences in the league (-19) while also conceding the most so far (36).  Gaffer Woo Sung-yong went with an attacking 3-4-3 formation, further depleting a tired and weak defense.  A rarity was seen, with all three Brazilians -  Duarte, Alex, and Coutinho up top.  It's something that may not be recreated in the game against Asan, as this has only been seen a handful of times so far this year.

The midfield is once again where issues also lie.  There is no leadership or creativity, and ball possession is mostly lost in these areas.  There is no standout character in the middle of the park.  Captain Lee Hyun-sung is even out of favor these days in the starting eleven.

Seoul have been making use of their new signing Choi Jong-hoan however, having featured in both matches against Busan and Gwangju.  The boss plays him on the right-hand side, switching between the defensive and wing position.  Another welcome addition, we may also see Lee Tae-ho in the side for the game down in Asan.  The new signing failed to make an appearance for Gangwon this year, but his presence will be welcomed.

Overall, Seoul cannot afford to play with three at the back, when playing such powerful attacking teams.  We saw Gwangju's William in the last round tear past the defense multiple times.  If Seoul continue to mock their opponents with such a poor line up in defense, then they are only adding fuel to the fire, in what has been a terrible season for the Leopards, according to our Michael Redmond.

The Adversary

Seoul E-Land have not tasted victory in a long time.

Things have once again gone south for Seoul E-Land this season.  They are currently in last place in the league, and the move to new surroundings has not worked out to their liking as they had hoped.  Their signature win of the season came against Anyang all the way back in April, and despite having some really good offensive talent in the lineup this season, their woes defensively have cost them too many points to put them higher in the table at this point.

With some of the other sides lower in the division gaining points in recent weeks, E-Land have to look for something positive out of this match.  But, with seemingly very little to choose from in terms of a consistent starting eleven, it will be difficult for them to get the result they desperately need to give hope to a campaign which to this point has been bleak at best.

Currently winless in thirteen, they have only two draws over that span, with one coming against Jeonnam on April 22nd and the other coming against Daejeon Citizen on May 11th.  They have scored only five goals in their last eight league matches, and have conceded seventeen, all losses, while being kept off the score sheet in half of them.  It is dire straits for the club at the moment, and it will take a major miracle for them to turn things in a positive direction.


Both teams need a result from the match, but for very different reasons.  Despite their home form being less than impressive, Asan have to stay ahead of the other teams in the middle of the pack as the playoff race will really start to take shape in the next little while with the second half of the season ready to get underway.

Seoul E-Land will have to re-visit their tactics and re-configure things a bit if they are going to be competitive in this match.  Should they decide to play with only three in the back, it could be a very long night for them.  However, they can still have a chance considering that Asan were very poor defensively in their last outing.  Many factors will have to be taken into account, but the away trip to Asan may be a bit too much for them to overcome considering how their overall form has let them down in the past two months.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 3-1 Seoul E-Land

K League 2 Round 20 Previewhere

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