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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Bucheon 1995

Gwangju entertain Bucheon 1995 in the second KLeague 2 match hosted at the Guus Hiddink Stadium in just four days as the Yellows look to build upon a revitalising 3-1 win over Asan Mugunghwa. Song Seonho's visitors travel south on Wednesday hoping to reverse a dismal recent record against the league leaders and renew fading play-off ambitions. 

Last Time Out

Gwangju FC 3-1 Asan Mugunghwa

Claiming their first win in seven attempts, Gwangju weathered an early Asan storm that saw Oh Sehun's strike crash back off the post on 26 minutes. Putting in a man of the match performance out wide, Brazilian Willyan should have done better curling past the post when clear, but was involved again as Gwangju broke the deadlock just before the interval. Skipping past two defenders he laid the ball back for Ratinho's first goal in a yellow shirt. Park Donghyuk's side struck an instant reply after the break with striker Oh this time making no mistake to power home a header from 12 yards. Trialing a new system with three at the back, Gwangju boss Park Jinseop will not have been pleased with the amount of space afforded to such a deadly forward. Gaining in composure as the match wore on, Rustam Ashurmatov wasted an opportunity on the hour mark before Willyan drove in from the left again in a move culminating in a penalty as Lim Minhyeok's cross struck a hand. After Willyan had converted the spot kick, it was Lim's turn in the limelight on 87 minutes with a deflected shot from range looping over Lee Kihyun to seal the win.

You can watch highlights of the match here

Bucheon 1995 1-1 Suwon FC

Jang Hyunsoo fired an early warning shot for the hosts before two Bucheon players contrived to get in each others way at the back post, eventually crashing a fierce shot off the bar to the relief of a visiting Suwon side who sit one place above Bucheon in the table. Scoring against the run of play, Baek Sungdong benefited from a deflected cross sailing over Choi Cheolwon in the Bucheon goal to open the scoring with a stooping header on 17 minutes. Things didn't look good for Song Seonho's Reds as the on-form Nigerian striker Chisom Egbuchunam struck the post on the half hour before a calamitous Choi presented Lee Jongwon with a chance to fire at an open goal following a poor clearance. Thankfully for the 25-year-old keeper, it was one that he duly missed. Following a scrappy start to the second half, Choi redeemed himself with a great save from Kim Byeongoh before VAR reared itself on 72 minutes. Referee Sung Deokhyo initially signaled for a corner as Jung Taekhoon claimed his shirt was pulled in the box, before reviewing the technology to penalise Kim Jimin and allow Marlon de Jesus to fire home from the spot. Deep into stoppage time Bucheon missed a gilt-edged chance to take all three points with Kim Ryundo guilty of missing from five yards with a clear sight of goal.

You can watch highlights of the match here

Previous Meetings

There's been no shortage of drama in meetings between the two over the past couple of seasons. Unbeaten in their last five against Bucheon, Gwangju will take particular confidence from a 4-1 hammering of the Reds in June which saw Felipe bag a brace. The pair last met in August as a feisty encounter in Seoul saw six yellow cards handed out and the spoils shared in a 1-1 draw. Yeo Reum was the hero of the day in the first meeting this season, also at the Bucheon Stadium, stealing in at the back post to grab a dramatic 94th minute winner. The visitors this weekend do possess some hope in the form of Marlon de Jesus, who has scored in his last two against the league leaders. Gwangju enjoyed mixed fortunes last season in a fixture usually decided by the odd goal, with a 2-1 win for Bucheon in Jeollanamdo in March 2018 the pairs first meeting since 2014.

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The Adversary

Conceding more than basement boys Daejeon Citizen so far this season it is clear that boss Song Seonho has not successfully built a resolute back line. Much attention will be given to in form striker Marlon with five goals in his last five appearances. With Gwangju's Rustam Ashurmatov suspended, the Yellows must yet again reshuffle at the back and perhaps use an untested defensive partnership. While it seems ideal territory for Marlon to thrive, he has been utilised as an impact sub of late and indeed all season starting on the bench 11 times this campaign. Relying on defender Nilson da Silva to supplement powder-puff attacking options, boss Song will be desperate for another striker to chip in. Free from suspensions for their journey south, former Asan man Song will have to decide whether to stick with the 3-5-2 employed against Suwon or revert to a more defensive approach against free scoring Gwangju. Gam Hansol and An Taehyun featured out wide on Sunday, but after making a change on just 30 minutes to replace Jang Hyunsoo with Marlon, Song may opt to do the same from kick off this time round. In truth the draw with Suwon favoured neither team at the weekend and failure to grab all three points here could see them to drift to over 10 points from that all-important fourth place finish.

What To Watch

Kim Jugong showed early promise against Asan on Sunday as he deputised for the suspended Felipe. With the Brazilian target man still out for another two games, Kim is expected to lead the line one more. While tiring as the match wore on, Kim seemed to develop a good partnership with the onrushing Willyan in an unfamiliar system. Yet to score for the first team, Kim has a lot of pressure on young shoulders and has probably seen more football than he expected this season thanks to Felipe's poor disciplinary record. Playing with a lone striker has been a season-long preference for Park Jinseop, but Sunday did see a change of system further back with the return of Lee Siyoung in a wing back role with the versatile Yeo Bonghun operating on the left. Manager Park probably envisaged three at the back working better than it did as Gwangju afforded Asan plenty of chances. Additionally, thanks to Ashurmatov's suspension the gaffer has a selection headache as to whether to revert to 4-5-1 or to opt for a straight swap for Kim Jinhwan. I feel he will decide on the former, with Lee Hando and Hong Joonho forming a central two.

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Under the lights on the outskirts of town, I envisage this match to take a similar course to Sunday's 3-1 victory over Asan for the Yellows. While still unsure following a patchy run of form and missing talisman Felipe, the return of left back Lee Euddeum gives Gwangju more quality from set pieces. Considering the incredible amount of defensive shake ups the hosts have had to endure this season, I expect Bucheon to score but Gwangju to edge it by a solitary goal. Expect a confident Willyan to cause damage once more.

Gwangju 2-1 Bucheon 1995

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