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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Ansan Greeners

Preview: Gwangju FC vs Ansan Greeners K League 2 Round 18
Park Jinseop's Gwangju FC host Ansan Greeners in fine fettle after coming through another test victorious with a 1-0 win over Daejeon Citizen. Saturday's opponents Ansan travel south with plenty of belief themselves on the back of some stellar performances on the road. Bagging six goals and claiming six points in their last two on the road, the Green Wolves will require that firepower to be on song should they breach the K League 2's meanest defence.

Last Time Out

Daejeon Citizen 0-1 Gwangju FC

Leaders Gwangju survived a number of scares on a wet and wild evening in Daejeon, which saw some of Korea's U-20 stars return, such as Eom Wonsang off the bench for the visitors. While Park Inhyeok caused the Yellow's back-line all sorts of trouble and even clipped an effort onto the bar in the first half, Gwangju keeper Yoon Pyeonggook wasn't too troubled considering how much possession was dominated by the hosts. The decisive moment came on 14 minutes with Felipe striking from range. Citizen's Kim Seungsub spurned an opportunity from 10 yards just 30 seconds before a long ball found the head of the Brazilian striker. Felipe nodded down to Kim Jeonghwan in space on the right who cut inside and laid the ball back to the number nine to unleash a fierce drive into the top-left corner from 20 yards.

Highlights: here

Ansan Greeners 1-0 Seoul E-Land

Ansan took an early lead at home to bottom club E-Land in comical fashion last Saturday with the Leopard's Lee Byungwook heading past his own keeper on just seven minutes. With their fans presumably settling down for a goal fest, Ansan could not add to their single goal, despite an incredibly audacious attempt from Kim Jinwuk on the right wing. Gustavo Vintecinco later followed suit trying to score from his own half before Park Jinsub missed a glaring opportunity from just eight yards after the break. Visitors E-Land rarely broke forward with Ansan boss Lim Wanseop left frustrated at a lack of clinical edge.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

One of few sides to shut out Gwangju's potent attack this season, Ansan held the Yellow's to a goalless draw at the Wa Stadium in late April. A feisty affair saw talisman Felipe sent off in second-half stoppage time, losing his cool and headbutting Park Jinsub to pick up a lengthy ban.


Looking back to Ansan's last visit to Jeollanamdo provides little comfort for the Green Wolves. As Gwangju pushed towards the play-offs, captain Yeo Reum started a four-goal demolition in a day to forget for Lim Wanseop's side. Clearly not satisfied with an under-par performance, boss Lim made early substitutions but another red card in this fixture put pay to hopes of a comeback.

Jang Hyeokjin struck the winner in a five-goal thriller earlier in the 2018 season, having been heavily involved in a further home victory over Gwangju last June. Showing that they have the potential to hold Gwangju to a stalemate this weekend, the pair also played out another goalless draw at the Guus Hiddink Stadium last season.

[READ: Daejeon Citizen appoint Lee Heungsil as new manager]

The Adversary

Taking 10 points from a possible 12 in their last four outings, Ansan are starting to turn around a sluggish start to the season and sit just three points from the play-off places in sixth. Keeping consecutive clean sheets including one against the division's free-scoring side Busan IPark, Ansan boss Lim also has the know-how in terms of frustrating Gwangju's front-line as shown in April's encounter.

Instrumental in games against Gwangju in the past season, Jang Hyeokjin may look to target Gwangju right back Park Junsu, who is still settling back into the side having only appeared four times this season. Winger Jang looked lively against E-Land and deservedly grabbed a spot in the KLeague 2 team of the week.

In order to make a mark on the top half of the table, Ansan could do with the help of their midfielders weighing in on the goal front. With their third top scorer being defender Lee Injae, they perhaps rely too heavily on Vintecinco to come up with the goods. Winter signing Masatoshi Ishida is yet to bag his first for the club, while journeyman striker Choe Hoju only has one goal to his name in 13.

What To Watch

Gwangju have impressively survived a ludicrous amount of forced defensive changes this season. Conceding just eight goals this KLeague 2 season will be particularly pleasing for Park Jinseop considering the reshuffling at centre back. While Lee Euddeum has settled in as a consistent performer at left back, Rustam Ashurmatov is absent on Saturday through suspension while Kim Taeyoun started just his first league game of the season in the win at Daejeon. Returning from injury, the 32-year-old surprisingly took the captain's armband from Yeo Reum last weekend but put in a solid performance to reassure fans he still has what it takes. Lee Han-do was absent from the squad in Daejeon yet is expected to fight it out with Kim Jinhwan to partner Kim Taeyoun. You would think that such constant levels of re-organisation would have to take its toll eventually.

Striker Felipe, who broke Gwangju's goal scoring record last weekend, went on to sign a three-year contract extension in the week. Somewhat of a coup to retain their star man on such a lengthy contract, the Yellow's now have a much better chance of keeping him into next season or gaining a higher fee should they cash in. After his suspension, Felipe looks happy in his role as target man and could not fulfill the stereotype of "good feet for a big man" more if he tried. The fact that he attracts so much attention from opposition defences opens up space down the wings for quick-footed wingers such as Doo Hyunseok and Kim Jeonghwan.

Prediction

A meeting of the league's two best defences, on paper this contest could be a low-scoring affair with a bit of quality winning it for either side. Both will be eager to continue their good form and Ansan should fancy their chances of getting on the score sheet with the amount of chopping and changing at the back for Gwangju. I believe this will take a similar pattern to Gwangju's last outing against Daejeon, with Felipe being the difference and the Yellows content with sitting back and trusting their solid rearguard to keep another clean sheet.

Predicted Score: Gwangju FC 1-0 Ansan Greeners

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