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Preview: FC Anyang vs Gyeongnam FC

Preview: FC Anyang vs Gyeongnam FC
Rock bottom FC Anyang welcomes a stuttering Gyeongnam FC to the Anyang Civic Stadium, with both sides looking to get their first win on the board.  It's tenth versus eighth which are two positions both clubs won't want to find themselves in for much longer.  This clash has all the ingredients to be an entertaining one as both teams have some excellent attacking talents in their respective squads.  Gyeongnam FC columnist James Edrupt previews the game.

Match Details

Fixture- FC Anyang vs Gyeongnam FC
Venue- Anyang Civic Stadium
Kick-off- Sunday, May 24th, 4pm.

Last Time Out

Bucheon 1995 2-1 FC Anyang

The home side ran out narrow winners in a close-fought encounter.  The opening goal came seventeen minutes after the break from the unlikely source of towering center-back Kim Young-chan.  It was a rather fortuitous goal as well.  From an inswinging free-kick from the left hand side of the box he got in between two defenders and powered a header onto his left boot and it ricocheted past the flat-footed goalkeeper Yang Dong-won in the Anyang goal.  The away side poured on the pressure looking for an equalizer and they thought they had rescued a point when Columbian forward Maurides opened his account for the club just three minutes after coming off the bench.  He showed good quick feet to adjust himself and squeeze in a low drive just inside the left-hand post after a cross-come-shot by Kwon Ki-pyo was only half-cleared on the edge of the box.  But the away side's joy turned to despair just three minutes later as the aforementioned Kim Young-chan became the home side's hero with a diving header powered into the net on the ninety mark from a corner delivered perfectly onto the penalty spot.  He outmuscled the defender to bag all three points for Bucheon, keeping their 100 per cent record intact and continue their superb start to the season.  Both goals were Kim's first goals in the professional game.

Seoul E-Land 2-2 Gyeongnam FC

It was quite the spectacle in Seoul last Sunday, with the points being shared in the capital.  In quite a non-eventful first half with both keepers not having much to do, it was the defenses on both sides that were proving to be dominant.  Not sure what was said at half-time but both sides came out with new vigor and spring in their step.  Seoul E-Land deservedly took the lead just ten minutes after the interval from the spot through attacking midfielder Leandro.  The Brazilian himself was tripped in the box by a clumsy challenge from on loan Pohang youngster Kim Kyu-pyo.  He made no mistake slotting the ball in via the right-hand post.  This spurred Gyeongnam on and only four minutes later drew level from new signing Park Chang-jun, who had the simple task of turning the ball home from close range from an inch-perfect Bae Ki-jeong cross from the right.  The tide was turning in the game and the away side was to get their noses in front on 72 minutes when the ever influential Baek Sung-dong popped up with a well taken low drive finish past the despairing dive of Kim Hyung-keun in the home sides goal.

There was more drama to come in this game.  With both teams looking exhausted, you could see mistakes being made and the Leopards were to pounce on 82 minutes with captain Kim Min-kyun making no mistake in the six-yard box as the ball broke free from a melee after a mazy run by Leandro caused panic in the away sides defense.  Gyeongnam will have goalkeeper Son Jung-hyun to thank from grabbing a point from Jamsil as he produced a masterclass of saves in the final eight to nine minutes.  Flinging himself at everything as Seoul got into good goal scoring positions on at least four occasions.  The second half, in particular, was a great advert for K League 2.

Previous Meetings

The two sides have played each other only 12 times in their history.  Gyeongnam has the upper hand in the fixture winning six of them, FC Anyang has been victorious on just three occasions and there have been three draws.  The last time the two sides met was in 2017 where the Reds ran out easy 4-1 winners away from home.  In the previous four clashes, there have been a red card in three of those matches, all to an Anyang player.  This fixture has a history of being quite feisty.  Something to look out for this Sunday.

Team News

For FC Anyang, striker Maurides will be pushing for a starting berth after making an instant impact off the bench against Bucheon 1995.  The partnership of Maurides and re-calling Uzbekistan striker Khurshid Giyosov could be an option with pacey Ghanaian Boadu Acosty supporting just behind.  That trio could be a promising prospect if the manager Kim Hyung-yeol decides on this formation.  They may revert to a back five with thirty-two year old Yu Jong-hyun getting a start.  The Gyeonggi-do side will be chomping at the bit to win a game sooner rather than later so it wouldn't be a huge surprise if the manager does shuffle the pack.

Maurides #9 will be hoping to make a starting berth on Sunday (Photo credit- FC Anyang official facebook)

For Gyeongnam FC, manager Seol Ki-hyeon rang in the changes against Seoul E-Land after the lackluster opening day stalemate against  Jeonnam Dragons, and the team looked a lot brighter and more compact all over the field.  Ever-present right back Woo Ju-sung who will carry out his mandatory military service joining Sangju Sangmu was missing.  Undoubtedly one of the team's best midfielders in Yang Hyuk-jin started after being an unused substitute on the opening day, the Reds' looked a far better outfit as a result.  Uros Deric who hadn't looked fit throughout pre-season looked dangerous and should keep his place upfront.  The manager did say when interviewed after the game that Deric is proving "quite difficult to fit into the way the team wants to play" but that his coaching staff and he are working hard for it to be a success moving forward.  It's clear for all to see the style of football Seol Ki-hyeon is trying to implement on his side.  It's work in progress right now but it should improve as the players get used to each other more.  Captain Ha Sung-min hobbled off in the first half last Sunday so he will be monitored during the week and will be touch and go if he can recover in time.  There is some good news on the injury front for Gyeongnam with Australian center back Nick Ansell making himself available after a slight calf knock picked up in training prior to the Reds opening day fixture two weeks ago.

The Adversary

FC Anyang has only lost to the odd goal in both their games so far this season against Ansan Greeners and Bucheon 1995.  In both those fixtures, they created several chances and it wasn't for the want of trying that they, unfortunately, lost them both  They possess some quality in their ranks with attacking midfielder Lee Jeong-bin being a constant threat in the final third.  The pace of winger Acosty can hurt any team in this league.  It's very early days in the season and FC Anyang shouldn't be propping up the table for long.  They had a huge overhaul over the winter so expect there to be some teething problems initially.  This Anyang side has some dangerous weapons in their ranks so they should improve over time.  FC Anyang's lack of depth in the defensive areas may be a cause for concern moving forward.  They do have the versatile Brazilian Nilson in their ranks who has been playing in a more advanced role this season in midfield.  He may need to drop back into his more natural position of central defense to help organize the backline better.

Who To Watch

Baek Sung-dong in the thick of the action against Seoul E-Land last weekend
Baek Sung-dong on his day is a pleasure to watch and he started to show his true abilities in patches against Seoul E-land last Sunday.  As a player capable of drifting into some wonderful pockets in and around the area, he can be a menace to mark and keep quiet for the whole ninety minutes.  He is vital to how Gyeongnam operates.  As a key cog in the manager Seoul Ki-hyeon project, he would be the first name on his team-sheet on a match day.  He works tirelessly and he has a real eye for a goal as he showed last time out with a well taken precise finish.  He is deceptively strong and has a low sense of gravity so he is very difficult to tackle and win the ball from successfully.  Considered a player of K League 1 standard, he reportedly turned down a move to Suwon Bluewings in the offseason in favor of staying in K League 2 with Gyeongnam.  If FC Anyang is to have any joy on Sunday they need to find a way to keep him quiet.

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This has the makings to be a very open game with Gyeongnam having the fair share of possession throughout.  It was very telling how tired the Reds' became late on last time out against Seoul E-Land.  FC Anyang is still without any points on the board and they will feel like they can get something from this game.  Gyeongnam, as proven in the last game, is prone to defensive lapses in concentration late on and Anyang could well capitalize if they are on their game.  The home side will be concerned that both Bucheon 1995's goals came from set-pieces last weekend.  With the away side just having too much quality throughout their squad, Gyeongnam should take home the three points, but it won't be easy.

FC Anyang 1-2 Gyeongnam FC

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