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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Jeju United

Ansan fell to their third defeat in a row and remain stuck on three points after four rounds after losing to Daejeon Hana Citizen in midweek.  Jeju United finally managed to win their first match of the season in midweek against newly minted rivals Bucheon FC 1995 thanks to Joo Min-kyu's 92nd minute header, his third goal of the season.  The Wa Stadium will be the venue for Sunday afternoon's encounter, where the Green Wolves not only have yet to win in 2020, but they also have not scored at home after consecutive 2-0 defeats to Suwon FC and Bucheon.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Ansan Greeners vs Jeju United
Venue: Wa Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday May 31st, 2020; 16:00 KST

Last Time Out

Daejeon Hana Citizen 1-0 Ansan Greeners

Ansan made it three losses in a row when they fell by a single goal away to Daejeon in midweek.  In four matches thus far, they have scored only one goal and conceded five, with Lee Rae-jun the only player capable of getting on the score sheet for them thus far.

Against Daejeon, they showed a bit better than they had in recent weeks, but it was still not enough to keep them from defeat.  In fact, Daejeon were able to take the lead early in the match, as Yun Seung-won's early effort from distance bounded off of Greeners 'keeper Lee Hee-seong, deflected off the crossbar and was then smashed home by an onrushing Andre Luis for his league-leading fifth goal of the season.

Things did not improve when, minutes later, Ansan was forced into their first substitution of the match as Choi Myeong-hee had to leave the pitch and was replaced by Lee Ji-hoon.  Neither side was really able to grab the tempo of the match for the rest of the half, and the Purples went into the break up a goal.

Things could have been level in the second half on 65 minutes when Lebanese striker Soony Saad had time and space in the box to shoot, but his shot flashed just wide of the post.  Ansan had another chance to even the score with less than ten minutes remaining when second half substitute Min Jun-yeong was fouled in the penalty area, but a VAR review waved the call off as the foul was adjudged to have occurred outside the box.  In the end, Daejeon had enough to hold on for the win, and are now top of the league with ten points.


Bucheon FC 1995 0-1 Jeju United

In what has been tipped as potentially the most heated rivalry in K League 2 this season, Bucheon FC 1995 and Jeju United went head to head against one another for the first time on Tuesday night.  It looked as though the match would be headed for a draw and both sides would share the spoils until Joo Min-kyu settled matters with a pinpoint header in second half injury time to give the islanders all three points from the match.


Previous Meetings

This will be the first meeting between the two sides.  The Greeners were established as a club only in 2017, when Jeju was still in the first division.  Ansan finished ninth in their maiden K League 2 season with a record of seven wins, twelve draws, and seventeen losses with a compiled goal record of 36 scored and 54 conceded.  Jeju finished the 2017 season as runners-up to champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

Team News

The Green Wolves have not scored a goal since opening day on the road to FC Anyang, and have yet to win at home this year.  Soony Saad started for the Green Wolves for the first time this season last time out and gave a decent account of himself, but maybe should have done a bit better with his second half scoring chance.  :Lee Rae-jun was the best player on the pitch for his side against Daejeon, but he needs more help from his teammates around him if he is to be effective.

The injury to Choi Myeong-hee is still under observation and it is unknown if he will be available for the weekend.  Other than that, Kim Gil-sik should have the rest of his players available to him for selection.

Jeju come into the match with injury concerns of their own, as Valentinos Sielis is still recovering from an injury he received in pre-season.  He has yet to appear for the islanders this season after arriving in the winter from Gangwon FC.  Elias Aguilar was injured in last weekend's match against Daejeon Hana Citizen and had to be replaced around the hour mark, after which things went downhill for Jeju and they ended up giving away the match.

Park Won-jae and Kim Jae-bong also suffered knocks against Bucheon in midweek, and their availability is up in the air.  Park took considerable contact with an opposing opponent and looked badly winded and in some pain when leaving the pitch.  The suggestion is that he may have sustained a contusion in the chest area and may not be able to play on Sunday.  Kim had his leg taped up when he had to be substituted, so it could be a hamstring problem, which could mean he may not be available for the time being.

Lee Chang-min will serve the second of his two-match ban following his red card against Daejeon, so Nam Ki-il will have some difficulty in putting together his starting eleven for the trip to the Wa.  Oh Seung-hoon recorded his first clean sheet of the season against Bucheon and should get the start in goal.  Kang Yun-sung and Kim Young-wook looked a good pair in the center of the park for the islanders, so they may play alongside one another again on Sunday.

Jeju played four men in the back against Bucheon and looked much more sound defensively.  In fact, it was the best defensive performance of the season.  However, a lot will depend on who is selected for the U22 spot in the lineup against Ansan, as it will have an impact on the team tactically.

The Adversary

Joo Min-kyu scores against Bucheon. 05.26.20
Joo Min-kyu's late winner sealed the points against Bucheon.

The weight of expectation was lifted somewhat following the win against Bucheon, especially considering much of the buildup to the match.  Jeju managed to find a way to take all three points in the end, and it came as a result of constantly pressing forward in the latter stages of the second half.

There was more urgency about them after the break and it finally paid off for them as they secured their first three pointer of the season.  It was also an emotional experience for manager Nam Ki-il, who spent several years during his playing career with the original Bucheon SK club, which then moved to the island in 2006.  He realizes that there is still a lot of work to be done for the team to improve, but getting the all-important first win of the season to break the negative streak is certainly a step in the right direction.

Gong Min-hyun and Joo Min-kyu started as a striking pair in the previous match, and they could be the starters again on Sunday.  Joo already has three goals to his name this season, while Gong is finding his confidence early in this campaign after finding the net only twice in 2019.

What to Watch

With their first win under the belt, the question now is how much momentum will be a factor for Jeju United in their encounter with Ansan on Sunday afternoon.  They not only won their first match of the season, but also disposed of a key rival in the division at the first time of asking.  They are going up against a team who has struggled to find the net, so it could be a good opportunity to spread out the playing time a bit more, or, if Nam Ki-il is up to it, he may just opt to go with the strongest lineup available to him based not only on form but which players are healthy in an attempt to get all three points from the match.

Kang Yun-sung vs Bucheon 05.26.20
Kang Yun-sung has found a place for himself in midfield this season.

If they go with four defenders in the back, their chances of winning increase considerably, but if they opt for only three, it may compromise what they want to do as the match progresses.  Only a few years ago in the citrus taka era, the islanders did in fact play with only three defenders, but it worked because the amount of firepower those teams had clearly outmatched most other teams in K League 1.  That is not the case anymore, however, and Jeju needs to play to its strengths for maximum results.

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With the proverbial monkey now off their back, Jeju can focus on the matches ahead with a clearer mindset, and that begins with their visit to the Wa.  They should take advantage of the confidence gained by their win in midweek and look to build on it.

Ansan showed improvement against Daejeon, but their lack of finishing ability in front of goal could be a hindrance once again when they face the islanders.  If Jeju goes for it against the Green Wolves, they should be able to come away with all three points.

Predicted Score: Ansan Greeners 0-2 Jeju United

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