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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Suwon FC



Asan Mugunghwa will be looking to rebound following a loss to Jeonnam Dragons last Monday while Suwon FC come into the match winless in their last four.  Last year's champions missed a golden opportunity to jump up into third spot, but it is evident that the new crop of players will need another match or two to work out the kinks.  Can they get back in the win column, or will Suwon put themselves back in contention for a playoff spot?  KLU's Branko Belan previews the Monday night fixture.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Suwon FC
Venue: Yi Sun Shin Stadium
Kickoff: Monday August 26th, 2019; 20:00 KST

Last Time Out

Jeonnam Dragons 2-0 Asan Mugunghwa

Asan squandered a chance to move up in the standings as they were undone by Jeonnam in Gwangyang last Monday night.  The first half did not see a lot of action from either side, but it was the hosts who had the much better chances.  Bruno Baio was a constant threat for the Dragons, and could have put them in front midway through the first half, but his close range effort was headed off the line after a deflection by Min Jun-yeong.

He would get his redemption just past the half hour mark as his shot from the left side of the box seemed to handcuff Lee Ki-hyun, and finished in the bottom of the net at the far post.  Jeonnam would take the advantage to the break with Asan not offering much of a response.

The second half showed once again that it just wasn't going to be Asan's night.  They couldn't find a way to break through Jeonnam's back line on a consistent basis, and were ultimately floored when Jung Jae-hee added a second on 84 minutes to seal the result.  With the win, the season series is now all square with both sides winning once and one match ending in a draw.

Highlights: here

Suwon FC 2-3 Ansan Greeners

Suwon drifted a bit further from the lead pack falling at home to a surging Ansan Greeners side last weekend.  Ansan jumped out to a quick first half lead thanks to strikes from Gustavo Vintecinco and Masatoshi Ishida after only 23 minutes.  Chisom Egbuchunam pulled one back for the hosts just before the end of the first half to cut the deficit.

He would be on target again three minutes before the hour mark to level the match, but Suwon couldn't manage to stem the Green Wolves' tide as Jang Hyeok-jin put Ansan ahead for good on 70 minutes.  The goal was somewhat controversial, as it was difficult to conclude from the replay whether or not the ball had fully crossed the line after Jeon Su-hyeon looked to have kept it out, but the goal was eventually allowed to stand.  Ansan continued to pour forward in search of a third rather unsuccessfully, but a few late forays forward from Suwon amounted to nothing and the visitors took all three points at the final whistle.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Suwon have won both meetings between the clubs this season, with the last match finishing 2-0 in mid-June.  An Byung-jun scored at the end of either half for his brace, while Asan looked stalled offensively for the majority of the match.

Asan still has the overall edge in the series, having won all four matches last season, but this season has been a different story thus far.  Asan will have to stem the tide against their opponents to stay within touching distance of the leaders.

Team News

There has now officially been a changing of the guard at the club, with Park Se-jik taking over captain's duties from the soon-to-be departed Lee Myung-joo, while Jang Sun-hyuk will assume the role of assistant captain in place of Lee Han-saem, who was one of twelve players to return to his parent club following the completion of his military service earlier this month.

In terms of formation, Asan still have a good look to be competitive with any team in the league.  Last time out, they lined up with four in the back, a diamond in midfield, and two up top, but were thwarted by a resolute Jeonnam side which looked stubborn to fall to defeat.  With Ju Se-jong anchoring the middle of the park, Park Se-jik and Song Hwan-yeong occupying the wings, and Lee Myung-joo in the AM role in behind Oh Se-hun and Kim Do-yeob, on paper it looks like an offensive unit that could do a lot of damage.

However, at 21, Song is still quite young and unproven.  He has only made five appearances this season and has played less than ten percent of the team's total minutes.  Couple those stats with the fact that he doesn't really have any big match experience as a result, and it is difficult to see how he can be an impact player for Asan down the stretch.

In other news, recently it was floated in the media that Asan Mugunghwa will cease operations at the end of the season.  To this end, a booth will be set up outside the stadium on Monday night so that Asan citizens will be able to sign a petition for the establishment of a citizen club, so that football can remain in the city next year and beyond.  There is simply too much young talent that has been uncovered in the past two years alone for the club to just ride off into the sunset.

For Suwon, there are no suspensions, although Kim Ji-min, who came on as a substitute at the start of the second half against Ansan earned a yellow card and may be kept on the bench.  Otherwise, save for a change or two in defence, much of the starting eleven will likely be retained from the last round. 

The Adversary

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Despite a brace from Chisom Egbuchunam, Suwon FC still came up short against Ansan.


Suwon FC are currently in sixth spot in the table, but were as high as third at one point this season.  Their major problem has been inconsistency.  They are currently going through a patch of not having won in their past four outings.  While their fightback against Ansan was admirable, they once again fell just short of taking points from the match.

One bright spot for them this season has been the play of their Nigerian attacking winger Chisom Egbuchunam, who has found the net a total of eleven times after his brace against the Green Wolves.  Having been involved in more than a third of the team's total goals this season, he is a vital piece of their attack moving forward.  Asan will have to be strong defensively to close him down - he has good movement in the box and his quick reflexes could cause the rather inexperienced back line a lot of problems.

That said, Suwon have looked vulnerable defensively for stretches this season when they have not played well.  Asan is the type of team with quickness in attack that can exploit holes in Suwon's defensive structure if the start the match well the same way Ansan did last week.

Prediction

Asan will want to win the match for the simple fact of getting back in the win column but also to get their first win against Suwon this season.  The growing pains were apparent against Jeonnam last week, but Park Dong-hyuk is a smart manager who will know how to spur his men on to get the result needed from this match.

Suwon hasn't been in the finest of fettle lately, and, even though they have won both matches this season against Asan, they cannot depend on their Nigerian sensation to bring them a result single-handedly.  It will likely be a tight encounter, but Asan need a win to leverage their home form which has been suspect at best this season.  It may be left late, but Asan should be able to secure a victory from this one.

Predicted Score: Asan Mugunghwa 2-1 Suwon FC 

[READ: K League 2 Round 25 Preview.]

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