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Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs Seoul E-Land

It's round eight in the K League 2 and two clubs that are separated by four positions and four points do battle to keep their promotion hopes alive. Home side Bucheon FC 1995 remain high up the league in third place but have only picked up four points in their last four games. They are visited by a seventh place Seoul E-Land team that looked to be gaining momentum recently, only to lose to the league's then-bottom side on Monday night.

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam 1-1 Bucheon FC 1995

Bucheon needed to gain some points from this game as they had just lost their second league match of the season to promotion contenders Jeonnam Dragons in the previous game. Gyeongnam had started the season poorly but came into the game in good form after defeating Ansan Greeners. The teams started the match with three points and four places between each other, and a draw meant that the points difference stayed the same but the positions changed. Gyeongnam overtook Jeonnam on goals scored due to their defeat to Daejeon Hana Citizen, while Bucheon was overtaken by Jeju United on goals scored due to their win at Chungnam Asan.

Gyeongnam took the lead in the 23rd minute with an impressive left-footed free-kick by Yoo Ji-hun that curled into the bottom corner and left the Bucheon keeper rooted to the spot. It was the 32 year-old left-back turned left-winger's first league goal since 2015 when he played for Busan IPark, and just his fourth career goal overall. Things continued to get bad for Bucheon when they had defender Kim Kang-san sent off in the 58th minute for a second bookable offence, after first committing a foul in the 43rd minute. The 21 year-old rookie had previously played in every minute of Bucheon's league campaign prior to the sending off. 

Gyeongnam failed to take advantage of the extra man and Bucheon levelled in the 71st minute courtesy of captain Kim Young-nam. The 29 year-old central midfielder collected the ball outside of the penalty area after a cleared corner, cut inside to put the ball on his favoured left foot and dribbled to a more central position, then fired into goal from distance to score for the first time since 2017. Gyeongnam continued to put Bucheon under pressure but the visiting goalie Choi Bong-jin made some crucial saves to ensure that Bucheon secured their first draw of the season and kept their unbeaten away league record intact.

Highlights of the match can be watched here.

Seoul E-Land 0-2 Ansan Greeners

After starting the season with three draws and a loss, Seoul E-Land had come into some good form prior to Monday's game with two wins, including a 2-0 win over league leaders Daejeon Hana Citizen in the previous match. Ansan Greeners had lost all five matches after their opening day win over local rivals FC Anyang and were rooted to the bottom of the table. Ansan are now in eighth place, just one behind Seoul E-Land, due to overtaking Chungnam Asan and Anyang after Monday's surprise win.

Ansan were not particularly impressive, but Seoul E-Land's poor defensive performance looked very reminiscent of last season. The opening goal came in the form of a penalty in the 32nd minute, when Seoul defender Lee Sang-min suddenly stopped chasing back a loose ball with Ansan's striker Kim Ryun-do right behind him, forcing the goalkeeper to come out and make the foul. Kim subsequently scored the penalty, giving him his first goal for Ansan and first goal in football since July of last year when he was at Bucheon. The goalkeeper Kim Hyung-keun was yellow carded, but he redeemed himself three minutes later with a fantastic Gordon Banks style save from a Felipe Augusto header.

Ansan would go on to double their lead in the 54th minute thanks to another Seoul mistake. A miss-hit clearance would fall right into the path of Ansan winger Shin Jae-won, who then ran into the penalty area and squared the ball for Kim Ryun-do to finish from the six-yard box and score his first brace since April 27th 2019 in a 2-1 Bucheon away win at Seoul E-Land. This goal also secured Kim's impressive statistic of never being on a losing side in a match in which he has scored. Ansan substitute Choi Gun-ju thought he had scored Ansan's third in the 65th minute, but his close-range effort was correctly ruled as being offside. Seoul themselves also had a goal disallowed in the 87th minute, when it was judged that Seoul players in an offside position blocked the goalkeeper's view of substitute Moon Sang-yun's shot from distance. Seoul and Ansan are now only separated by three points, meaning that Ansan could overtake them this weekend if results go their way.

Highlights of the match can be watched here.

Previous Meetings

In the 21 matches that the two clubs have played against each other Seoul are on top with 10 wins compared to Bucheon's eight, with there being three draws. Interestingly, all of those draws have come when Seoul have played at home, meaning that every match at Bucheon has resulted in a win. This has caused the unusual situation of both club's earning most of their wins at Bucheon stadium, with Bucheon winning there five times and Seoul winning their six times. Seoul have also scored a lot more in the fixture with 34 goals (20 of them away), while Bucheon have scored 25 goals (13 of them at home). 

Bucheon were the dominant team in the fixture last year, winning three of four league games while Seoul won one league match (at home) and one FA Cup match (away). All of the Bucheon home matches last year were high-scoring affairs, with the Seoul cup victory being 3-1 after extra-time and the home league wins for Bucheon both being 3-2 victories. Most of Seoul's dominance in the fixture comes from performances in their early years when Seoul regularly challenged for promotion. However, even though last season was very poor for Seoul they still competed well against Bucheon, a side that ended the season in fourth place.

Team News

Bucheon have two players suspended for Sunday's match. Midfielder-turned-defender Cho Beom-seok is serving the second of his two match suspension for his red card against Jeonnam, while U-22 player Kim Kang-san is serving a one match suspension for his red card against Gyeongnam. Defence has been one of Bucheon's strong points this season, so losing two key players will be a test of the squad depth. Kim has also been the go-to U-22 player this season, meaning the manager will need another young player to fill that spot.

The U-22 players with the next highest amount of games for Bucheon this season are midfielder Goo Bon-chul and attacker Jo Gun-gyu, with two appearances each. If manager Song Sun-ho was to turn to one of them then there would need be to be some rotation up front. However, he already experimented with that against Gyeongnam as Brazilian forwards William Barbio and Jefferson Baiano were dropped for the first time this season in place of Jo and Lee Jung-chan. 

The Adversary

Seoul E-Land have no suspensions, though forward Richard Sukuta-Pasu is currently on three yellow cards so the manager might have start rotating him a bit more to prevent him getting suspended in the near future. Won Ki-jong still did not make it into the squad on Monday due to injury and looks like a doubt for Sunday's game. Lazar Arsić made only his second start of the season against Ansan but was substituted in the 39th minute of the match, meaning that he may again find himself relegated to the bench for Sunday's game. Despite the poor defensive performance manager Chung Jung-yong opted to blame the midfield for the poor performance in the 2-0 defeat on Monday, so it will be interesting to see if there are many changes in that area of the pitch.

What To Watch

With both Kim Kang-san and Cho Beom-seok unavailable in defence due to suspension, the manager has some tough choices to make as to who will replace them. In the transfer window a lot of investment was made in the defence, but a lot of those signings have rarely featured with only rookie Kim Kang-san and central defender Kim Young-chan having much of an impact. The only U-22 defender other than Kim Kang-san is 21 year-old Jung Ho-geun who has yet to feature this season, so it is unlikely that we will see a straight swap of the U-22 players.

Out of the other defenders available there are some experienced players. 28 year-old Kwak Hae-seong has only played 12 minutes this season but has plenty of K League 1 experience and a FA Cup and Asian Games Gold medal to his name. 29 year-old Lee Tae-ho was also a part of the same Asian Games squad as Kwak and was one of the few bright spots of Seoul E-Land's season last year. 33 year-old Yoon Shin-young has a huge amount of experience at this level of football across Korea, Japan and China. These players, alongside others such as Kim Ho-jun, Kwon Seung-ri, and Ju Jong-dae will be trying their hardest to impress the manager in training this week to get a shot at the first team squad.



Seoul E-Land have a good history against Bucheon, but they have remained very inconsistent this season. Bucheon have hit a slight rough patch but are still performing above expectations. Bucheon should emerge as the victors, but only after a close high-scoring game.

Bucheon FC 1995 3-2 Seoul E-Land

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