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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs FC Anyang


K League 2 high-fliers Ansan Greeners and FC Anyang meet at the Wa~ Stadium on Sunday evening in what promises to be an intriguing third versus fourth clash. A victory in this latest ‘Line 4 derby’ could go a long way to determining which of these Gyeonggi foes finishes in a playoff position come the end of the season.

Last Time Out

Ansan Greeners 2-1 Gwangju FC

Ansan produced a terrific late comeback to stun leaders, Gwangju FC at the Wa~ a fortnight ago. The South Jeolla front-runners came close to making the breakthrough in the opening stages of the affair, after Felipe’s searching low cross was intercepted by Choi Myeong-hee with Eom Won-sang lurking. The hosts failed to heed this early warning, as ten minutes later, Felipe’s flick-on was met by the intelligent run of Eom who closed down Greeners’ keeper, Hwang In-jae’s attempted clearance and slotted into an empty net to put the Challenge pacesetters into the lead. The Green Wolves were poor in the first forty-five, but should have brought parity five minutes prior to the break, when Park Jin-seop blazed high and wide from a corner kick after Yoon Pyeong-gook failed to deal with Gustavo Vintecinco’s header.

The second period was an entirely different story though. Lim Wan-seop’s team talk at the interval had the desired effect, as the home eleven were entirely transformed from the restart, and should have been level a minute into the half, when Jang Hyeok-jin shot straight at Yoon from Hwang Tae-hyeon’s clever ball. Gwak Seong-wook then hit the post with an audacious half-volley following Vintecinco’s chested lay-off. Park Jun-su responded for the Honam travelers, with a rasping drive that was kept out by Hwang. The Gojan canines’ riposte was instant, with the woodwork coming to Gwangju’s aid once more, with Vintecinco crashing a header against the crossbar moments later, Jang’s effort on the rebound was blocked by the feet of Yoon. The Greeners continued to turn the screw, and centre-back, Lee In-jae blasted over from six yards out from Choi’s lofted pass on the hour-mark.

The Green Wolves’ gutsy endeavor finally paid off twenty minutes from time. Substitute forward, Ishida Masatoshi smashed home a penalty to tie the game, after being bundled over by Choi Jun-hyeok. The momentum was now firmly with Lim’s pack, and things went from bad to worse for Park Jin-sup’s side, after the division’s leading goalscorer, Felipe received a straight red for kicking a water bottle at the fourth official. The man advantage really put the wind in Ansan’s sails, with Masatoshi nodding wide from another fine Choi delivery when well placed, the Japanese was not to be denied a winner however, curling home from the edge of the penalty zone at the death via a deflection off Uzbek defender, Rustamzhon Ashurmatov to send the home faithful into raptures.

FC Anyang 0-0 Daejeon Citizen
As for the Green Wolves’ opponents this weekend, FC Anyang endured a frustrating night versus lowly Daejeon Citizen two weeks back in a drab stalemate at the Anyang Sports Complex. Bottom-of-the-table Daejeon made the brighter start, and almost went one-up courtesy of Park Su-chang’s set-piece that landed on the top of Yang Dong-won’s net. This early scare seemed to spark the Violets into life and the hosts would have broken the deadlock, but for a tremendous last-ditch tackle from Lee Jung-moon on Cho Kyu-sung inside the Citizen box. Lee Heung-sil’s Purples showed glimpses of promising attacking quality throughout, and Park Su-chang went close again with a classy swivel-and-shot into the side netting. Although it was the Gyeonggi XI that were unfortunate not to go into the recess a goal to the good, with Alex and Cho Kyu-sung both missing the mark after being teed up in the offensive third, and Park Ju-won ensured that the visitors’ slate remained clean on the stroke of half-time, thwarting Lee Jeong-bin from point-blank range.

In stark contrast, the second forty-five was dearth of clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, and it was in fact the Hoseo outfit that should have gone in front, but Matheus Antonio could not find a way past Yang in between the Anyang sticks. Kim Hyeong-yeol’s players almost made Antonio pay for his wastefulness, spurning a gilt-edged chance with time running out, Kim Sang-won cleared Park’s bar in the Daejeon area from a Maeng Seong-woong pass, a defeat for Citizen would have been extremely harsh however, and the K League 2 strugglers deservedly picked up a valuable point to keep them within three of ninth-placed Seoul E-Land.

Previous Meetings


Anyang have had the better of their Sudogwon rivals in recent times. The Dongan club are unbeaten in their last five against Ansan. You have to go back to mid-March of 2018 for the last Greeners’ success over the Violets, when the Green Wolves came up trumps in the first ‘Line 4 derby’ of last season, which took place at the Wa~. Now FK Vojvodina striker, Seku Conneh’s early second-half penalty gave the home side a 2-1 win, following Anyang’s Jeong Hee-woong’s equaliser that had earlier cancelled out Hong Dong-hyun’s exquisite volleyed opener.

Team News


Gwak Seong-wook’s recent performances have given Lim a selection headache ahead of this battle. The 26-year-old bagged the killer third in the Greeners' 3-1 away triumph over Seoul E-Land in Jamsil in August, and the midfielder further staked a claim for a regular starting place with his tireless shift last time out, coming off the bench once again, this time replacing the ineffective Kim Jin-wook with half an hour on the clock, and brought greater game intelligence and guile to the Green Wolves’ play for the remainder of the bout.

Anyang are boosted by the return of centre-half, Choi Ho-jeong. The one-time Daegu man has completed his suspension following his dismissal in the Seoul E-Land upset for a mistimed high challenge on Leopards’ centre-forward, Won Ki-jong.

The Adversary


FC Anyang lie in fourth at present, but have been inconsistent of late. The Violets have not won in their last three, a chastening two-nil setback to Seoul at the Olympic Stadium has been followed by consecutive draws away to Busan IPark and at home to Daejeon. Head coach, Kim will be desperate to arrest the slide, and his team have shown that they are more than capable of challenging for a playoff spot, having gone eight games without a loss before the E-Land debacle, a run which included a remarkable 7-1 home demolition of Gwangju.

What To Watch


Ishida Masatoshi has forced his way into Lim’s first-team plans. The ex-Kyoto Sanga attacker started his Ansan career well with a superb assist for Choi Ho-joo’s last-gasp equaliser at Seoul E-Land at the beginning of March. The Japanese also starred in the Greeners’ 3-2 away conquest over Suwon FC at Suwon Sports Complex, causing endless problems for the Castle Park defence for the duration of the encounter, getting on the scoresheet in the process. The 5’8” striker turned the Gwangju game on its head with a match-winning brace, and looks certain to start from the off in this fixture.

Prediction


The Green Wolves are in high spirits having won their last three, however their old nemesis, Anyang have proven to be somewhat of a bogey team for Ansan since the Greeners’ inception, and Kim Yeon-soo and Lee In-jae look set for a tough evening’s work against Alex and Cho Kyu-sung, who each have ten league goals already this year.

Ansan Greeners 1-1 FC Anyang


Player Interview

Ansan Greeners Foreign Supporters Club and K League United columnists Mike Brandon and James Walsh sat down with Ansan Greeners Japanese forward Masatoshi Ishida and assistant manager Lee Jae-hyung. The translation was provided by the club's media executive Park Jong-il.

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