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Preview: Seoul E-Land vs FC Anyang

K League 2 Preview: Seoul E-Land vs FC Anyang

After 23 rounds in the K League 2, Seoul E-Land fans have now finally seen their Leopards rise from the lowest position in the league. After three impressive wins in a row, Seoul sits 9th, just one point above Daejeon Citizen. Their next challenge, however, will be their biggest yet: an FC Anyang side sat comfortably in the playoffs, and haven't lost in eight games. Can Seoul continue their great run and claim another scalp in the league?



Last Time Out

Seoul picked up their third win of the season last week, as they saw off Bucheon 1995 in their first game back at home in Jamsil. This week, they welcomed Suwon, a side looking to pull some form back again and push for the playoffs. It only took Suwon 12 minutes into the game to spoil the festivities, however, as Egbuchunam lobbed Kim Young-kwang from close range and put Suwon ahead. Seoul had to now come from behind to get something out of the game. The Leopards flew out of the traps once the kick-off resumed and levelled within six minutes of the restart. Some excellent balance and composure from Won Ki-jong on the wing dragged the ball forward. A then well-placed pass to Kim Mink-yun saw the captain slot the ball home,  making it 1-1 going into the break.

The second half restarted with more of the same from Seoul over the last few weeks. Seoul hanging in on their luck and sometimes invited Suwon to come forward and take some chances. There has been a few times over recent games which saw oppositions one on one with Seoul, this game was no different. The Leopards did, however, create more chances than last week, they just once again failed to place it into the back of the net. Fortunes would change however for the Capital men, as in the 87th minute and a corner kick. Kim Mink-yun again in the fray of things, crossed in a corner to Lee Tae-ho, who fantastically headed the ball into the inside of the net, Seoul stole all three points from the tie, and their third successive win.

Full Time: Seoul E-Land 2-1 Suwon FC





FC Anyang also played at home in the last round. They had last year's K League 1 side Jeonnam Dragons to contend with, who are having a less than a stellar season to say the least. It really showed in the game too, as Anyang found themselves 1-0 up within 21 minutes of the game. Kim Sang-won with the free-kick saw Jeonnam goalkeeper, Park Jun-hyuk too focused on the wall, and not on his near post. A low traveling shot saw the ball etch past him, and Anyang were 1-0 up. FC Anyang continued to dominate throughout the game, with shot after shot. They finally doubled their lead seven minutes before half time. A well placed through ball to Palacios saw him place the ball past the keeper, they were running riot. They continued to push and did not settle on their lengthy lead. Some calamity defending from Jeonnam on the stroke of halftime saw Alex one on one with Park Jun-hyun again, he did not miss. An in-form Anyang found themselves 3-0 up against a shocking Jeonnam side.

Jeonnam had a mountain to climb in the second half, and they started off well. In the 66th minute, Kim Geon-ung, with a super first time strike from outside the box made the scoreline 3-1 with 25 minutes left to play. That hope would last a matter of three minutes however, as terrible defending again from Jeonnam lead a full flurry of Anyang frontmen in their box. A pass across goal and a well-slotted shot saw Anyang 4-1 up, courtesy of Chae Gwang-hoon. Anyang's day was slightly soured however, then in the 75th minute, VAR was introduced. The referee decided that Cho Kyu-sung intentionally kicked Jeonnam player Cho Hyo-jin in a 50/50, and was given his marching orders.

Jeonnam pressed on after the red card, and in the 85th minute, a clumsy clearance from Kim won-min saw Cho Kyu-sung once again fouled. An unprofessional style of clearing the ball resulted in the referee again going to VAR. Jeonnam was awarded the penalty, Kim Young-uk made it 4-2. A lot of defensive errors cost Jeonnam in this game, yet Anyang also went through some uncomfortable spells.

Full Time: FC Anyang 4-2 Jeonnam Dragons



Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met, saw Seoul travel down to Anyang, a week after their new home stands were erected. In saying that Anyang looked to continue to give their fans something to cheer about. The Purple men lost to Asan Mugunhwa the week prior and needed some points. It was Seoul however, who drew first. Kwon Gi-pyo with the strike in the 29th minute made it 1-0. The Pohang Steelers loanee put the Leopards ahead when they needed it most. A mistake, however, occurred again on the stroke of half time for Seoul. A Kim Sang-won strike saw the ball bounce off Kim Young-kwang, and into the net. It was to go down as an own goal.

Seoul E-Land found themselves once again on the receiving end of poor fortune, conceding so late on in the half. They then again did not come out to the second half in full spirits. Anyang had most of the possession, but here is when it really showed what state Seoul was in a few months back. In the 87th minute,  Kim Min-won was brought down by Kim Gyeon-Joon. It was heartbreak for the Leopards as Cho Kyu-sung converted and left Seoul defeated once more.

Full Time: FC Anyang 2-1 Seoul E-Land

Team News

The manager Woo Sung-yong has really grown a liking to his line up in recent weeks. The only change made in the last three games for Seoul saw Yoon Sung-yeol replace Lee Jae-hoon on the left-wing. Pass, pass, pass, has been the name of the game in the capital, and the club are starting to show some great fluidity. They do look shaky at the back still, it must be said. They let too many players from the opposing side in dangerous positions. They really rely on them not having the strength or confidence to carry the ball forward, until a suitable shooting position.

Kim Mink-yun and Lee Tae-ho celebrate a 2-1 victory over Suwon FC in round 23 of the 2019 K League 2.

Seoul continues to use Alex as an impact sub, and he really adds extra energy when he comes on. The Brazilian is always threatening to a tired defense, and it was his header, that lead to the corner, and Lee Tae-ho's goal on the weekend. Duarte has also been good in recent weeks. He plays a slightly different game to everyone else, as he is the man tasked with pushing the ball forward when in the opposition's box. He is allowed to be a bit more greedy on the ball, looking for a shooting chance, or that perfect pass.

The question now will be is if the gaffer will keep with a winning formation. We saw that Anyang punish poor defenses, and Seoul are quite famous for that this year. Three at the back has been working wonders for the side recently, and it will be interesting to see if they keep the same structure.

The Adversary

FC Anyang have been phenomenal this year, compared to the previous few seasons. Cho Kyu-sung, Alex, and Palacios have been the success upfront. Bagging ten, nine, and eight goals respectively. They are the second-highest goal scorers in the league with 43 and rely more on attack than defense.

FC Anyang will be a bit sparse in regards to their line up this weekend, however. As mentioned earlier,  Cho Kyu-sung will be unavailable in the tie, due to the straight red he received in the game against Jeonnam. Yet the purple men will also be without Kim Won-min and Yu Jong-hyun, after both players also picked up cautions. Maybe it'll be safe to say that Anyang will have to take a different approach in the game against Seoul. With three big players out, and giving Seoul's form, there will be a lot of thought in their line up this weekend.

Prediction

The Seoul E-Land bus appears now to be up and running now, with Woo Sung-yong firmly at the wheel. Yet they have the task of playing against a very strong and powerful Anyang. A team which have been clinical in their finishing this year. If Seoul can not step it up a gear against Anyang, they could be in for a long day.

Although, in saying that. The fans have turned Jamsil into a fortress in recent weeks, and momentum is really growing for the side, both on and off the field. Sunday night will see an interesting game of a great attack, against an all-hands-on-deck defense.

Seoul E-Land 1-1 FC Anyang

[READ: K League 2 Round 24 Preview]

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