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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Asan Mugunghwa

Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Asan Mugunghwa K League 2 Round 23
Fifth take on fourth in K League 2 at the Wa~ Stadium on Monday evening, where Ansan Greeners face off against Asan Mugunghwa. Both teams come into the affair on the back of disappointing defeats last weekend, but the hosts will be confident of leapfrogging a much-changed visiting eleven, as a number of influential players have departed the Yi Sun-sin following the conclusion of their national service.

Last Time Out


Ansan Greeners 0-2 Daejeon Citizen

The Greeners fell to a shock two-nil home loss last Saturday at the hands of former Ansan gaffer, Lee Heung-sil’s Daejeon Citizen side. The Purples went in front after eighteen minutes, when Aurelian Chițu converted Matheus Antonio’s low cross, which had left Lee Hee-seong in no man’s land. Lee’s evening went from bad to worse in between the Green Wolves’ sticks after his howler gave the South Chungcheong team a healthy advantage at the break. Ex-Fluminense forward, Antonio showed great composure in tucking away a chest-and-volley effort, after the home goalie had punched An Sang-hyun’s lofted ball into the South American’s path.

Ansan showed more attacking verve following the restart, with Park Jin-seop nodding over when well-placed, after being teed up by substitute, Fauver. Kim Yeon-soo then headed Park Jun-hee’s free-kick straight at Park Jun-won moments later. But it was the Hoseo outfit that came closest to scoring in the second forty-five through Antonio, who was denied a brace by the feet of Hee-seong.

Lim Wan-seop’s men can have no complaints with the scoreline after such an abject performance, the away eleven were certainly good value for their first league victory since April.

Highlights: here

Asan Mugunghwa 0-1 Busan IPark

As for the Greeners' opponents on Monday, Asan were also on the end of a disheartening result, losing by a single goal at the Yi Sun-sin Stadium to high-flying Busan IPark. Mugunghwa did however test Choi Pil-soo on a few occasions in the opening period, with the Busan keeper producing a fine block from Ahn Hyeon-beom on the half-hour mark. This seemed to spark IPark into life though, as ten minutes later Hungarian striker, Soma Novothny planted a superb header past Choi Bong-jin, following a clever one-two with Han Ji-ho, to put the southcoasters a goal to the good at the interval.

The Yeongnam visitors continued to threaten in the second-half, and almost sealed the three points through Park Jong-woo, who forced a terrific two-handed stop from Bong-jin. The Police XI pushed and probed in the latter stages of the encounter, and thought they had found a leveller when Kim Reo tapped-in, after Pil-soo had fumbled Oh Se-hun’s tame effort his way, however a VAR referral ruled the equaliser offside to the elation of Cho Deok-je’s boys, who held on for yet another impressive triumph on the road.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings


Ansan were unfortunate not to have come away from the Yi Sun-sin with maximum points after their score draw with Asan in early May. An evenly contested first-half saw the hosts correctly have a goal chalked off midway through the period, after Lee Han-saem bundled in from a corner kick with the use of his hand, and it was in fact the away team that actually came closest to taking the lead, as Park Jin-seop rattled the Mugunghwa crossbar with a stinging drive on the stroke of half-time. 

The game really came alive halfway after the intermission however, when the Green Wolves’ São Paulo-born playmaker, Fauver put the Sudogwon visitors one-up after combining to wonderful effect with his compatriot, Gustavo Vintecinco to steer a well-placed shot beyond man-of-the-match, Choi Bong-jin, who then prevented the ex-Gyeongnam midfielder from bagging his second of the afternoon shortly afterward. This proved to be a turning point in the bout after Park Dong-hyuk’s players brought parity in a somewhat fortuitous fashion ten minutes from time, when Kim Reo’s low strike found the back of the net after hitting the post and rebounding onto the back of the hapless Hwang In-jae in the Greeners' goal. 

The Gyeonggi travelers almost won the contest at the death, but were again thwarted by the brilliance of Bong-jin, this time pulling off a superb one-handed save to deny Jang Hyeok-jin a certain winner.

Team News


Fauver has staked a claim for a starting berth in this one, the Brazilian’s second-half performance from the bench on Saturday was the only positive that came out of the Daejeon drubbing. Bang Chan-jun is expected to make way, following his dismal display up front against Citizen.

Asan have bid farewell to a number of key first team members following the end of their compulsory military obligations. Lee Han-saem and Im Chang-gyun have both returned to Suwon FC, Koo Moo-yeol has gone back to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Cho Beom-seok is now a Bucheon FC 1995 midfielder again, Kim Seon-min and Kim Dong-jin are once again Daegu FC players, Yang Hyung-mo has left for Suwon Bluewings, likewise Kim Do-hyuk is now back on Incheon United’s books, Choi Bong-jin is a Gwangju FC goalkeeper for a second time, Kim Jun-su has resumed his Jeonnam Dragons’ career, Jeju United’s survival bid has also been boosted by the additions of Kim Ji-un and Ahn Hyeon-beom, and Ju Se-jong and Lee Myung-joo are back at Sangam to help FC Seoul close the gap on Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk at the top of K League 1.

The Adversary


Mugunghwa have racked up ten victories this season; one more than Ansan, including a notable 4-2 success over Busan at the Gudeok in late June. However, the Police squad are now without their talismanic hitman, Koo Moo-yeol. The Jeonbuk attacker has returned to Jeonju following the end of his conscription, and the Chungnam club will be hard-pushed to replace a striker with twelve league goals and three assists to his name in 2019. Moo-yeol’s absence is a major shot in the arm for the Green Wolves, as only Gwangju FC’s Felipe has scored more than Koo in the division this term.

Who To Watch



Hwang In-jae is likely to start in place of Lee Hee-seong in net for the Greeners. Head coach, Lim has regularly rotated between the two keepers since March, and it is probable that Hwang will be given the nod from the off in this tie, considering Lee’s dire showing last time out. Hee-seong has conceded seventeen in thirteen games so far this year, whereas the one-time Seongnam man, In-jae has only shipped in four goals in nine since joining in the winter transfer window. Club skipper, Lee was guilty of gifting Daejeon their killer second at the weekend, following two poor punches that led to Matheus Antonio’s classy finish, firstly from Park Soo-il’s set-piece, and then immediately after from An Sang-hyun’s deep cross. A solid performance from Hwang on Monday may see him dislodge Lee for the remainder of the season.

Prediction

Ansan are desperate to avoid back-to-back slip-ups in the race for a playoff position, and will view this clash as an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways versus a depleted Mugunghwa team. 

Predicted Score: Ansan Greeners 1-0 Asan Mugunghwa

[READ: K League 2 Round 23 Preview]



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