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Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs Ansan Greeners

K League 2 Preview: Bucheon 1995 vs Ansan Greeners

One of this Sunday's three K League 2 matches features two clubs that are outside contenders for promotion. Bucheon FC 1995 sit in 7th place and have accumulated a lot of points recently as they are in their best form since the opening games of the season. 6th placed Ansan Greeners are also in a  good spell, but need to bounce back from last week's defeat as they are only one point above Bucheon in the table.

Last Time Out

On Monday night Bucheon faced Suwon FC away in a match that was of vast importance if Bucheon were to continue their promotion campaign. Bucheon had slipped to a 1-0 defeat on the road to 8th placed Jeonnam Dragons in their previous match, so a win in Suwon was vital for Bucheon to get back on track. The match prove to be a resounding success for Bucheon with them recording a 3-0 victory, their largest of the season. Despite having slightly less of the possession with 47%, Bucheon recorded ten shots on target, which was double that of Suwon. Bucheon got off to a flying start, with Brazilian defensive midfielder Nilson Junior opening the scoring in the 11th minute with a header in the six yard box from a corner, before forward Kim Ryun-do quickly doubled their lead seven minutes later with his sixth goal of the season, also a header from close range. Suwon were able to get back into the game and prevent any further damage before half-time, but any hopes of a comeback were finished when Bucheon defender Lim Dong-hyuk scored in the 52nd minute with a right-footed short after a scramble in the penalty area following another corner. Nilson Junior was named man of the match and all three of the Bucheon goalscorers were named in the K League 2 team of Round 11, level with Busan IPark in having the most players from one club in the team. Overall, it was arguably Bucheon's best performance all season and shows that they are a side with serious aspirations to challenge for promotion this season.

You can view highlights here.

Ansan Greeners are another team in the hunt for promotion and this case has been made stronger due to their impressive form in June, in which they registered three wins and a draw in four matches. This impressive run came to an end last Saturday with a 1-0 away defeat to unbeaten league leaders Gwangju FC. The only goal came in the 44th minute from Gwangju midfielder Yeo Bong-hun, who scored his first goal of the season with his only previous one for Gwangju coming back in 2017, cutting inside to curl a left-footed shot past the keeper from inside the penalty area. Despite the defeat Ansan can take some positives from the match. They were able to keep Felipe, the league's top scorer, at bay and losing by only one goal to Gwangju is better than a lot of teams have managed. Gwangju are in top form and including this result they have won five games in a row, including a 4-1 home win against Bucheon. Ansan should not be disheartened from the result and should still come into Sunday's game with a lot of confidence.

You can view highlights here.

Previous Meetings

Since Ansan Greeners were founded in 2017 the two sides have played each other ten times. They have been largely inseparable with Bucheon scoring 15 goals compared to Ansan's 14, and the teams recording four wins each. Bucheon dominated the fixture in its early days with three wins and one draw in 2017, while the momentum swung the other way in 2018 with one draw and three wins for Ansan. Regardless of these results Bucheon has placed higher in both seasons, though it was a lot closer last year as the clubs were only separated on goal difference.

Bucheon and Ansan have already played twice this season and have come away with one win each, the first time this has happened in the same season. If history is to be repeated then Ansan should be the slightly more confident side as they are away from home. In both of this season's matches the away side has emerged victorious, with Ansan winning 2-1 in April and Bucheon winning 1-0 in May. Also, across all previous ten matches Bucheon have only won once at home and both draws have occurred when Bucheon are the home team. This means that on only one occasion have Ansan visited Bucheon and not come away with points and that was back in 2017. Ansan may have a more positive outlook coming into the match, but Bucheon are only one point behind Ansan in the league and will be looking to fight to regain their pride on home turf. 

Team News

This will be the first home game Bucheon have played since the departure of Brazilian forward Rodrigo Maranhao, who was released from his contract last week. This should not affect Bucheon too much as he only made nine appearances all season, playing the full 90 minutes once, scoring zero goals and recording one assist all season. Maranhao is currently without a club, but after spending the previous three years in Asia with clubs in Korea, Japan and Thailand it could be a safe bet that he will remain in the region.

Bucheon have not been too busy since the opening of the transfer window, but they have acquired one player on loan. Lee Si-heon is a 21 year-old attacking midfielder who has been signed on a short-term deal until the end of the season from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. He never played for the K League 1 giants since joining them in January 2019 from Chung-Ang University and this move is designed to give him more playing time. He made his debut in the win against Suwon by coming on as a substitute with ten minutes left. Considering the importance of the Ansan game, it is unlikely that he will make the starting eleven but will probably make another appearance from the bench. Bucheon have a full squad at their disposal, so the coach will probably not take the risk of putting Lee in the game from the beginning.

If he can break into the team as a goalscorer then that will be incredibly useful for Bucheon, who only have Kim Ryun-do to call upon as a proven regular provider of goals. If Bucheon continue to line-up as a 4-5-1 as they did against Suwon, then there could at least be room in the midfield starting line-up for Lee eventually. For Sunday's match Bucheon will probably name an unchanged side, though there is always the possibility that their line-up could change to a 3-5-2, which has proven popular at the club this season.

The Adversary

Ansan have not made any signings in the summer transfer window as of yet, though they have had one player departure. 24 year-old attacker Kim Jong-seok has joined National League side Gimhae City after falling out of favour with the Greeners. The former Pohang Steelers player, who played for a total of 65 minutes in the K League 1 in 2017, made 17 appearances for Ansan last season but has only played once this season. His lack of playing time means that overall his departure will not effect Ansan's performances, though they may want to look for a replacement in the form of a more reliable back-up attacker.

Ansan lined up with a 4-2-3-1 formation against Gwangju and considering the good result despite defeat they will probably line up the same way on Sunday. Brazilians Vintecino and Fauver will no doubt start together as they look to recover their goal scoring form. Hwang In-jae will most likely be the starting goalkeeper as out of the eight games he has played this season, five of them have come in the last five games meaning that he has been all but confirmed as the favoured keeper ahead of Lee Hee-seong.

What To Watch

The deciding factor of the match will be Ansan's strong defence and whether Bucheon can break through it. Ansan have conceded 18 goals in the league this season, which is bested only by top of the table Gwangju. Whenever Ansan have lost it has only been by one goal, with the exception being their 3-0 loss away to Busan back in April. Ansan's strength at the back has come from consistency and their lack of changes in defence. Centre-back partnership Lee In-jae and Kim Yeon-soo have played in every game this season and are the foundation of it all. As long as they are in team Ansan will be difficult to break down. This is the difficult task that Bucheon face themselves with. They have had many problems with their attackers this season and do not have one forward with enough quality to break down Ansan on their own. Bucheon's strengths lie in the midfield so those members of the team will have to come forward to threaten Ansan. If they can swarm the Ansan penalty area at every opportunity, then a goal may occur, but don't expect a goal to happen through a defensive mishap. It will come through hard work, and probably from a set-piece as Suwon found out.

Prediction

Looking at the the two clubs and their form, this match would normally have a draw written all over it. However, considering the history between the two sides it seems that the game is destined to have a winner. Normally this would be the away side, Ansan, but Bucheon are coming in to the tie off the back of their best win of the season and may have just found the perfect formula for their team. It will be close, but Bucheon should edge it.

Bucheon FC 1995 1-0 Ansan Greeners



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