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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Daejeon Citizen

Asan Mugunghwa head into their match with Daejeon Citizen on the weekend knowing that only a win will be able to keep them in the running for a playoff berth.  They have been slipping of late, and lost 1-0 to league leaders Gwangju FC last time out.  Daejeon on the other hand has played very well since the end of August, despite losing against Jeonnam in the last round, before which they were unbeaten in seven.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to what could be a defining match for last year's champions.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Daejeon Citizen
Venue: Yi Sun Shin Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday October 19th, 2019; 17:00 KST

Last Time Out 

Asan Mugunghwa 0-1 Gwangju FC

Asan dropped critical points against Gwangju once again as they were defeated by a single goal.  The result moved them down to fifth in the table, and the time to make up ground is beginning to run out.  They got out of the gates quickly against Gwangju, and both Park Se-jik and Park Min-seo had chances inside the first twenty minutes, but the captain's shot finished just wide of the post, while the youngster shot over the bar.  Gwangju had a chance to go in front just before the end of the half, but Felipe's effort was kept out by Je Jong-hyun.

In the second half, Gwangju came to life and could have took the lead under ten minutes in, but Lee Si-young was foiled by the Asan 'keeper in close.  Their endeavor to find a goal was finally rewarded in the 64th minute when Willyan da Silva Barbosa found space at the top of the left side of the area and placed a low shot into the far corner.

Asan pushed for an equalizer late, but Nam Hee-cheol sent his headed effort over the bar in injury time, and Gwangju was able to secure all three points in the end.

Highlights: here

Daejeon Citizen 1-2 Jeonnam Dragons

Daejeon had a great run of form halted against Jeonnam, as they could not get the job done at home.  Things did not get off to a good start for them as Lee Ji-sol, Daejeon's U-20 World Cup star, went down with an injury and had to be replaced by Lee In-kyu with the clock not having even passed the quarter hour mark.  Things would improve, however, as the home side would go into the lead shortly thereafter, as Antonio and Ramazotti would combine, with the former playing the latter into space for a shot which nutmegged Kwak Kwang-seon on its way low into the net.

The advantage would not last long, as Jeonnam were back on level terms just after the half hour, as Jung Jae-hee pounced on a ball spilled by Park Ju-won from a mid-range effort just outside the box and smashed it into the net.  The result would remain unchanged going to the half.

Daejeon stayed on the front foot for most of the second half, but received an injury scare with just over ten minutes remaining, as Lee In-kyu landed awkwardly following an aerial duel, and landed hard, with the replay showing that he may have hyper-extended his knee, and was subsequently replaced by Park In-hyeok.  Their inability to score came back to haunt them late, as Jeonnam would convert from the spot through Kim Young-wook with less than ten minutes left, thanks in part to an assist from VAR.

Daejeon could have taken a point in injury time when they, too, were awarded a penalty after a foul in the box on Kim Seung-sub.  Aurelian Chitu stepped up to take it, but his shot rattled the bar and stayed out, ensuring that the Dragons would come away with the win.

Highlights: here 

Previous Meetings

Asan have managed to win all three encounters against Daejeon this season, and all by identical 1-0 scores.  Meetings between the two sides have always been characteristically tight, and the match this weekend should prove to be no exception.  

The last time the two sides met at the end of July, it was Ko Mu-yeol who scored the winner in the 55th minute, while Kim Re-oh got the winner the second time they played this season.  Ko also scored the winner in their first meeting in Daejeon in early May.

The upcoming match will prove to be a lot different as many players have since moved on, but Asan know that they have to get all three points if they want to remain in contention for the knockout phase at the end of the season.


Team News

Asan are winless in their last three and will have to pick up points knowing that their final two matches of the season are away to Busan IPark and at home against FC Anyang in November.  What a difference a year has made, as it was around this time last year that they were closing in on a title, but now find themselves on the outside looking in as they try to sneak into the playoffs with only four matches remaining after this weekend.

There hasn't been a lot of consistency lately, and Park Dong-hyuk will really have to roll the dice if the yellow and blue are going to finish strong.  Based on the current standings, if they remain unchanged, which in fact they may not, promotion would go through the likes of one of either Ansan Greeners or Anyang and Busan IPark, all teams which they have struggled against at various times this season.

There are no suspensions for Asan, so the thinking is that the core of the lineup which has played the most in recent games will take the pitch, meaning that Park Se-jik will anchor the midfield with Yang Tae-ryeol also in the middle.  Lee Jae-gun is a good bet to start out on the right if Asan go with a front three, with Park Min-seo on the opposite flank and Oh Se-hun leading the line.  Lee Ki-hyun is likely to start in goal, while Jang Sun-hyeok will feature in the back.

For Daejeon, Lee Ji-sol is out after picking up an injury against Jeonnam, as is Lee In-kyu.  The severity of their respective knocks is unknown at the moment, but in the meantime, one of either Yoon Shin-young, Kim Kyung-bo or Jang Ju-young could be potential replacements.  Even though Yoon is the most experienced of the three, they have all been in and out of the lineup from week to week.

Aside from the aforementioned injuries, all other players should be available for selection as there are no suspensions in the side.

The Adversary

Daejeon v Jeonnam 10.05.19
Daejeon had their seven match unbeaten run ended at the hands of Jeonnam last week.

Before their loss last time out against Jeonnam Dragons, the club went on a seven-match unbeaten run, which saw them get the better of Bucheon 1995, avenging a loss to the same club in August and Seoul E-Land, while they played to draws against Ansan Greeners, Suwon FC, Busan IPark, FC Anyang, and Gwangju FC.

It was their best run of the season to date, and even though they are the road side this time around, can still be confident about getting a result, even if they know they are up against a team which has its back to the wall.

Aurelian Chitu is the club's leading scorer this season with six goals, but his production has tailed off as he hasn't found the back of the net since the beginning of August in an away match against Ansan Greeners, and has also seen limited action in recent weeks, with the arrivals of Matheus and Ramazotti having a lot do with it, as the new duo has combined for six goals and two assists between them since arriving in the summer transfer window.  Has the Romanian fallen out of favor, or will he feature for the club down the stretch.  This weekend could be a good indicator of that.


It should be another tight affair between the two, and the match just might tip in Daejeon's favor if their newly-signed front pair can have an impact on the game.  Asan have not been strong defensively this season, but the younger group has tightened things up in the back some, conceding thirteen goals in their past ten matches, which is a decent clip considering both of their current fullbacks only recently debuted for the club.

Oh Se-hun and the rest of the go-to players will have to have an impact on the match, but having played in some big matches already, they should be up for the test.  If Asan can continue their streak, it could put them in position to make a move up the table with just a few matches remaining on the schedule.  Owing to their success against Daejeon this season, they should find a way to pull this one out.

Predicted Score: Asan Mugunghwa 1-0 Daejeon Citizen

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