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Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs FC Anyang

It's matchday two in the K League 2 and this Saturday features Gyeonggi-do rivals doing battle after starting their season with contrasting results. The hosts, Bucheon FC 1995, started strongly as they opened their campaign with a win for the sixth season in a row. Visitors FC Anyang, meanwhile, will be hoping to not make it two successive derby defeats after last week's disappointing Line 4 Derby result.

Last Time Out

Chungnam Asan 0-1 Bucheon FC 1995

Last Sunday two teams that had preseasons filled with change faced each other in the opening day of the season. Home side Chungnam Asan made the complete transition to a citizen club and signed their first ever foreign signings in the club's history. Bucheon FC 1995 came into the match after completely transforming their defence and attack due to having multiple departures in the winter. Both clubs had a lot to prove and it showed in the aggressive nature of the match. Asan made eight fouls compared to Bucheon's 11, but Asan's fouls resulted in three yellow cards compared to only one for Bucheon. 

Bucheon had almost two-thirds of the possession and seven corners compared to Asan's zero, but it did not translate into more opportunities as both teams had four shots on target each. The game's only goal came in injury-time as the referee took four minutes to consult with VAR to award a penalty for Bucheon. New signing William Barbio was fouled in the penalty area, and when the penalty was finally awarded Barbio stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner in the 92nd minute. The last time Bucheon failed to win the opening match of the season was in 2014 and they will be hoping to keep this momentum going for as long as possible.

You can watch highlights of the match here.

FC Anyang 0-1 Ansan Greeners

The K Leagues 2's four Gyeonggi-do teams of Bucheon, FC Anyang, Ansan Greeners, and Suwon FC produce some of most compelling matches and storylines in the division. However, the biggest rivalry among these clubs is definitely the Line 4 Derby between FC Anyang and Ansan Greeners, named after the subway line that runs through both cities. The two neighbours finished in third and fifth respectively last season, though they were only separated by five points, and every derby match played a crucial role in the fight for promotion. 

In a match that had a total of four yellow cards - two for each team - Anyang thought that they took the lead from a free-kick in the 32nd minute. After Ghanaian new signing Boadu Acosty was fouled on the wing, the resulting free-kick from 25 year-old attacking midfielder Lee Jeong-bin was swung in and met the head of defender Yu Jong-hyun. His header hit the post and rebounded to last year's Brazilian defender Nilson Junior, who fired in from close-range. The new Anyang signing was, however, correctly judged to be offside and the goal was disallowed. Ansan took advantage of this brush with danger, and scored the game's only goal in the 51st minute. After an Ansan corner ricocheted around the box, new signing Lee Rae-jun struck a left-footed shot low from the edge of the penalty area through the crowd of bodies into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal. Despite having slightly less possession, Ansan would go on to hold on to win their opening match of the season for the first time since 2017.

You can watch highlights of the match here.

Previous Meetings

It would be difficult to find a more evenly split rivalry than that of Bucheon and Anyang. In the 30 matches that have been played between the two teams their have been 10 Bucheon wins, 10 Anyang wins, and 10 draws. Both clubs have won six of their matches away from home, so the odds do slightly favour Anyang in that regard. Anyang, however, have been the slightly lower scorers in this fixture, with a total of 36 goals compared to Bucheon's 40. Bucheon were the more successful team last season as they won twice - 1-0 at home and 2-1 away - while Anyang could only achieve two regular season draws, both of which were 2-2. A 1-1 draw in the promotion play-offs was enough to knock-out Bucheon and see Anyang progress to the next round, though. 

As well as wanting to avenge that result, Bucheon may have the psychological advantage going into the match. Along with last year's dominance in the fixture, Bucheon can add the fact that they have won the first match between these two sides for the last two seasons. In 2018 Bucheon won 3-0 away, and in 2019 they were victorious 1-0 at home. Coincidentally, both of these matches happened in the second round of games in the season, just as this weekend's match will be. Both of those matches also followed Bucheon victories in the opening match of the season, so if Anyang are superstitious then they may have cause for concern.

Team News

Bucheon started the Chungnam Asan match with a 3-5-2 formation, which was used regularly with mixed success last season. This was done by having Brazilians Barbio and Baiano leading the line, with rookie 21 year-old Gu Bon-chul playing just behind as an attacking midfielder and Jang Hyun-soo and Guk Tae-jeong on the wings. Later on in the match the coach altered the formation to a 4-5-1, with Baiano as the sole striker and Guk Tae-jeong dropping into defence as a left back, allowing Barbio to move onto the wing. As it is the early stages of the season it is unclear which formation the coach will use for the FC Anyang match. Ansan Greeners defeated Anyang while playing as a 3-4-3, which was a very successful formation for Bucheon last season and is another contender for possible formation this Saturday.

The main concern from last weekend's match was the attacking midfielder position. Goo Bon-chul was substituted 54 minutes into his competitive debut for 24 year-old Incheon United loanee Ju Jong-dae. However, Ju himself was substituted just 27 minutes later after receiving Bucheon's first yellow card of the season, meaning that long-serving 24 year-old Lee Jeong-chan was brought on as a replacement. While Ju does not need to worry about suspension until he receives his fifth yellow card, the coach will need to have a think about who is best for starting in this position on Saturday. It could even provide an opening for new signings Suh Myeong-won or Lee Hyun-il, who were left out of the squad entirely on Sunday. As there are no injuries to report, the coach at least has a full squad to tinker around with.

The Adversary

Anyang may have lost against Ansan, but they did create chances and could cause Bucheon problems on Saturday. Similarly to Bucheon, Anyang have had to completely overhaul their squad in the transfer window and there will naturally be some teething problems in the process. Attacking midfielder Lee Jeong-bin stood out and can provide great service for the forwards, and even be a threat himself. Ghanaian winger Acosty was effective on the ball with lots of pace and good movement, and could definitely cause Bucheon some problems.

Bucheon's former player Nilson Junior was played as a central midfielder but did not adapt well to the position due to his lack of pace. Despite his surprisingly high goal-scoring figures from last year, he is better suited as a centre-back or as a defensive midfielder. Two of Anyang's defenders - Choi Ho-jung and Yu Jong-hyun - picked up yellow cards in the Ansan match. The threat of suspension may be far away, but Anyang's lack of depth in many positions may cause the coach to encourage the players to be more cautious. Like Bucheon, Anyang have a full squad to experiment due to having no major injuries to report.

What To Watch

The battle of the Brazilians is likely to be crucial, as each side has two players from the South American nation and they will be key to deciding the outcome. Bucheon forwards William Barbio and Jefferson Baiano worked well as a pair in their first competitive match together. Baiano had a positive performance on what was actually his 25th birthday, while Barbio scored the game's only goal and made it onto the K League 2 team of the week, alongside Bucheon's Guk Tae-jeong and Kim Young-chan.

They will be directly competing against compatriot and former Bucheon player Nilson Junior. Nilson was an incredible performer for Bucheon last year - playing in every match of the season, scoring 10 goals (making him the club's joint-top scorer), and being named the club's Player of the Year. Anyang is his third club in Korea after Bucheon and Busan IPark and how he performs will depend on the position that he plays in. As previously mentioned, he does not have the pace to play as a central midfielder. If Anyang decide to play him in his preferred positions of centre-back or defensive midfielder, then it is more likely that he will reach the performance levels of last season.

At the other end of the pitch is his teammate Maurides Roque Junior. The 26 year-old forward is making his debut season in Korea and second in Asia after playing for China League One outfit Changchun Yatai last season. He has been tasked with helping to rebuild Anyang's attack, but as someone who's season best goal's tally is nine (2018-19 at Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia), it is unclear if he will be able to do so. Fellow forward Acosty looked more dangerous against Ansan, but some players are able to come to Korea and play their best ever football, so time will tell if Maurides is one of them.

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Prediction

Matches between these two have been quite high-scoring in the past, though a lot of the players that contributed goals for both teams last season have since departed. It is still early in the season with plenty of experimentation still to come, so it is unlikely that one team will have perfected their tactics enough to dominate the other. The last time that a team won this match with a lead greater than one goal was in 2018, and it is likely to remain close between the two sides on Saturday. Looking at how both clubs started the season, it looks as though Bucheon will edge it.

Bucheon FC 1995 1-0 FC Anyang




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