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Preview: Busan IPark vs Bucheon 1995

Preview: Busan IPark vs Bucheon 1995

Busan IPark return to the Gudeok Stadium this Saturday evening as they continue their K League 2 title challenge against unpredictable mid table outfit Bucheon FC 1995. The visitors are well placed to make a run for the playoffs in an open division, but have been plagued by inconsistent form this campaign. Can they pull off a shock result, or can Busan close the gap at the top to four points?


 Source: Soccerway

Last Time Out

Suwon FC 0-1 Busan IPark

Busan picked up a vital three points on the road after a gutsy, hard fought victory in Suwon. The away side thought they had gone ahead in the eighth minute after Romulo’s speculative free kick from 40 yards hit the bar and ricocheted back into the six yard box. Lee Dong-jun reacted quickest to set up Alekandar Šušnjar to side foot into an empty net. However, the goal was not allowed to stand after a farcically long VAR review, the Australian judged to be marginally offside. 

The visitors went on to dominate possession, twice going close through Park Jong-woo and Romulo, before the Brazilian broke the deadlock with a trademark piece of trickery. With Suwon FC set up to contest a whipped in cross from the free kick, Busan’s midfield maestro spotted keeper Park Hyung-soon off his line and wickedly curled a ball at pace into the bottom right corner.

Defending a one goal lead, Busan elected to sit back and invite a wave of Suwon attacks over the final 15 minutes. North Korean international An Byong-jun galvanised home support with his trickery, beating RB Kim Moon-hwan on several occasions when one on one with the National Team defender, yet his movement was criminally unsupported by teammates that failed to provide a passing outlet.

Choi Pil-soo played an important role for the away side, producing a wonderful reaction save from Hwang Byung-kwon’s header, as he kept a maiden clean sheet on only his second appearance for Busan. The away side remain seven points behind leaders Gwangju in second, whilst Suwon FC slip out of the playoff spots and are now fifth.

Highlights: here

Bucheon 1995 1-2 Ansan Greeners

Ansan moved clear of Bucheon in the race for a playoff spot, taking advantage of defensive errors to come from behind at Bucheon Stadium. FC 1995 scored with the first attack of the game, as Gam Han-sol’s cross to the back post was expertly headed into the bottom right corner by Ecuadorian striker Marlon de Jesus. Ansan almost equalized immediately through Kim Jin-wuk, showing great initiative to catch goalkeeper Choi Cheol-won off his line, but his side footed shot struck the post from 20 yards out. 

Both sides traded spells of possession and speculative long-range efforts in the first half, but neither side could create an attack of substance until an equaliser came on the stroke of half time. The visitors’ introduction of Gustavo Vintecinco paid immediate dividends, as his first-time volley from 15 yards caught keeper Lee Hee-seong by surprise, spilling the ball directly into the path of Park Jin-sub to bundle home.

In the second half, Bucheon looked more likely to score as the impressive Marlon shot wide twice from promising positions, yet Ansan were clinical as they punished the home side with a move directly from the training ground. Jang Hyeok-jin’s floated free kick was well headed down by Kim Yeon-soo into the path of Park Jin-sub, who couldn’t miss from two yards out to steal all three points. Ansan move up to sixth, one point off the final playoff spot currently occupied by Asan Mugunghwa. Bucheon remain seventh, five points adrift of Asan.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The last time Bucheon travelled to the Gudeok was in Week 4, a game notable for Romulo’s hat trick of penalties - the only time the feat has been achieved in Korean professional football. Each penalty came as a result of rash defending, as Bucheon were unable to cope with the rapid passing and speed of Busan’s attackers within the 18-yard box, spearheaded by youngster Lee Dong-jun. Bucheon salvaged a point through goals from An Tae-hyun, Song Hong-min and a 92nd minute thunderbolt from Nilson Junior, and the match finished 3-3.

Bucheon hosted Busan in Week 12 and were convincingly beaten 3-1. Lee Heong-hyeop’s brace put the away side in control before substitute Kim Jin-gyu made the game safe late on.

Overall, the sides have a relatively even record. In 15 games between the teams, Busan have six, wins, Bucheon have five wins, whilst four games finished in a draw.

Team News

Busan IPark 
Lee Jeong-hyeop is likely to return for IPark after missing their away win at Suwon FC, and is likely to replace Hungarian target man Soma Novothny, who has been prolific in the final third this season despite his relative lack of game time. Winger Diego Mauricio and midfielder Kim Jin-gyu returned from injury against Suwon, and both are available for selection after a spell on the sidelines. Han Ji-ho may be preferred to Kwon Yong-hyun on the wing. No players are unavailable for selection through suspension, although Alekandar Šušnjar is one yellow card away from picking up his third one game ban of the season.

Busan IPark's Han Ji-ho

Bucheon 1995 
Bucheon remain without influential midfielder Moon Ki-han who is still sidelined with injury, however will be able to call upon the services of defender Nilson Junior, who was sorely missed as Bucheon gave up three soft goals in their last loss against Busan. Since the start of 2018, Bucheon have conceded an average of one goal a game against Busan when Nilson has featured in the side.

Marlon de Jesus is certain to lead the line for Bucheon after overcoming a rocky start to his K League career. The Ecuadorian has finally found his shooting boots, with three goals in the past five games after going scoreless in his first ten appearances. He was unlucky not to add to his team’s solitary goal against Ansan, the striker possessing great spatial awareness to generate shooting opportunities despite being tightly marked by a compact Greeners defence.

Bucheon’s Marlon de Jesus

What to Watch

Busan goalkeeper Choi Pil-soo has provided a calming presence since making his debut against E-Land. For the first time this season, Busan finally have a presence between the sticks competent in the air and commanding in the 18-yard box, and the defense appears to be building trust and confidence in the new number one. 

A major positive of Busan’s season has been the willingness of new manager Cho Duk-jae to try new systems and players to attempt to fix flaws in the team’s game. The latest change has seen the side revert back to a 4-3-3 system, with the introduction of former Anyang midfielder Seo Yong-duk as a dynamic box to box midfielder, complimenting the more defensive talents of Park Jun-woo in the middle of the park.

Romulo has moved forward into the central attacking midfield role where he was so effective as a playmaker last season, finishing second in league wide MVP voting behind current Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Hwang In-beom. Look for full back Kim Moon-hwan to play with more attacking license, regularly making runs into the box and beyond Lee Dong-jun in the final third, as Busan take advantage of the attacking instincts that saw him play as an advanced winger in his breakout 2017 season. 

A challenge for Busan will be their utilisation of Soma Novothny, who led the line well in the absence of Lee Jeong-hyeop against Suwon. His less mobile stature has however led to the Hungarian being easily isolated, so Busan will need to find a way to involve him more into their build-up play when he is on the pitch. 

Bucheon will need to iron out individual defensive mistakes if they are to have any chance of taking any points from the game, having been plagued by them in their first two games in Busan - especially considering how dangerous Novothny has looked in the box when the ball has dropped to his feet. They may decide that attack is the best form of defense, relying upon the guile of Kim Ryun-do to create scoring opportunities.

Busan IPark’s Choi Pil-soo


Busan are under pressure to keep pace with league leaders Gwangju, and so are more likely to make mistakes the longer they go without scoring on Saturday. However, against a Bucheon side that has easily been pressed into making defensive errors, Busan should have enough to break down their opponents and take all three points.

Predicted ScoreBusan IPark 2-0 Bucheon 1995

K League 2 Round 20 Previewhere

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