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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Ansan Greeners

Gyeongnam FC faces a struggling Ansan Greeners team on Monday evening hoping to get their promotion push back on track.  The Green Wolves travel south hoping to pull off a shock and upset The Reds at Changwon Football Center.  The away side will be in search of all three points to pull away from the bottom of the table.  But it'll be a tough ask for Ansan to get anything from the game as Gyeongnam have a good record at home.  KLU's James Edrupt previews the clash.


Match: Gyeongnam FC vs Ansan Greeners.
Venue: Changwon Football Center.  Changwon.
Kick off: Monday, June 15th 2020.  19:30 (KST)

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam FC 4-3 Mokpo City FC (After extra-time)

The K League 2 side was to just get over the line in this FA Cup 2nd round tie, with an extra-time winner in the 102nd minute from veteran winger Bae Ki-jong to send Gyeongnam through.  The game started well for the away side and they started to dominate the game.  They capitalized on a defensive error and made The Reds pay with a well-placed finish that left second choice keeper Hwang Sung-min flat footed.

The pendulum started to swing in the favor of the home side shortly after the break and an equalizer came on 56 minutes through the unlikely source. Right wing-back Ahn Sung-min continued his run onto the edge of the penalty box and struck a sweet right-footed effort into the top right-hand corner after a loose ball wasn't cleared properly.  However the home side's joy was short-lived and it was a shot again at the near post just six minutes later that managed to squeeze past the keeper making it advantage to Mokpo with half an hour still left to play.  The Reds were to level again just ten minutes later through influential midfielder Jang Hyeok-jin whose free-kick flew past the keeper, who stood no chance.  The home side was to get their noses in front for the first time in the game through winger Ko Kyung-min on 82 minutes, whose downward header was directed to perfection after a brilliant team move before his goal.  Further drama was to come when Mokpo pumped a hopeful long ball into the area in the dying embers of the game and it was deemed a Gyeongnam defender handled the ball when jumping for a header.  The penalty was dispatched superbly and we were heading for thirty more minutes.  The Reds, in the end, got the win when as half time in extra time was approaching Bae Ki-jong struck the ball sweetly in the area as the ball was cut back to him.  The home side managed to see the game out quite comfortably in the end but give huge credit to K3 League side Mokpo City who performed outstandingly on the night and should be proud of their efforts.

Ansan Greeners 3-0 Siheung Citizen FC

The Green Wolves had no trouble dispatching K4 League side Siheung Citizen on Saturday evening at the Wa Stadium.  The home side took the lead as early as the 13th minute when Kim Dae-yeol sent in a beautiful curling effort from the edge of the penalty box into the top corner.  It was to get better for the home side as Spanish newcomer Ismael Jorge was to open his account for the club just six minutes later, with a well-placed free-kick that left the away sides goal-keeper unsighted and it nestled in the bottom corner.

The Green Wolves played some nice football after the break, but at 2-0 the next goal is always important and in the end, as the referee was about to blow for full-time, Brazilian youngster Bruno came of the bench and scored with a well-taken finish as the ball was laid into his path following a long punt upfield by the home side's goalkeeper.  A routine victory for the home team against a side two divisions below.




Previous Meetings

There have only been four meetings between the two sides in their history.  Gyeongnam has the slight upper hand, winning two, the Green Wolves have won once, and there has been a solitary draw.  These games do tend to have goals in them, with fourteen being scored throughout the four games.

The best of the bunch was a 3-3 thriller back in 2017 when Ansan was leading 3-1 coming into the last five minutes when the Reds were to perform a rescue act. Choi Young-jun reduced the deficit then Gyeongnam were to grab a point just a minute later when substitute Song Je-heon struck.  The last clash however did end in a victory for Ansan 1-0 courtesy of an own goal by the Reds goalkeeper Lee Jun-hee in stoppage time.  Brazilian import for Gyeongnam FC Alex Bruno was sent off that day in the 67th minute.


Team News

Gyeongnam FC comes into the game with a near enough full squad to choose from.  The Reds will still be without captain Ha Sung-min whose red card against Daejeon Hana Citizen means he will serve the last match of his two-game suspension.  One of Gyeongnam's best midfielders in Jang Hyeok-jin will be keen to play well against his former side.  Numerous players were rested for the FA cup game last weekend, namely, Hwang Il-soo and Uroš Đerić both had a breather and will be hoping to make starting berths for the home side.  Nick Ansell looked very assured in defense in the FA Cup and he could keep his place alongside Lee Kwang-seon.  This is an area manager Seol Ki-hyeon will be looking to improve on massively.  The defense has leaked nine goals in five matches, the second worst in the league.  The constant shuffling around of his center-back pairing has been a huge concern for the gaffer.  Individual mistakes seem to occur too often and they have already conceded four penalties in six games in all competitions.  The manager will be expected to put out an attacking line-up with the returning Negueba hoping to make an appearance sooner rather than later.  He made the bench last weekend after finally getting over a year-long ACL injury picked up last season playing against Sangju Sangmu.



The Adversary

Bruno #7 is just starting to show his form for the Green Wolves
The Green Wolves come into the game in goods spirits after hitting three last weekend albeit against a far weaker outfit in K4 League Siheung Citizen FC.  There seemed to be a better flow to their play than that of previous weeks.  Two of the Greeners' foreigner imports in Bruno and Jorge were on the scoresheet and that will boost their confidence without question.  Scoring has been their Achilles heel this campaign with only two goals to their name in five league games played.  Lebanese striker Soony Saad has shown glimpses of what he is about, but has yet to get off the mark, he is likely to come off the bench.  Since their opening day victory away against FC Anyang, they have lost four on the bounce.  The most recent of those was a narrow 2-1 home reversal against promotion candidates Jeju United.  The Green Wolves task wasn't helped by former Suwon Bluewings defender Kim Min-ho given his marching orders after 74 minutes for a second yellow card offense.  He will miss the game due to his suspension.  Key players Lee Jae-in, Kim Jin-rae are expected to return to the starting XI after starting on the bench for last week's FA Cup fixture.

It will be intriguing to see what players manager Kim Gil-sik opts to start the game with as he may have a selection headache on his hands.  Several changes were made for their FA Cup fixture last time out and numerous players put in decent performances to make the Kim think wisely about his best eleven.

What To Watch


Facing off against his former side key central midfielder Jang Hyeok-jin is just beginning to lay down a marker in the league as one of the best players in his position.  He has turned in magnificent performances in two of the Reds' last games against Daejeon and Mokpo City.  He may not be the quickest in the center of the park but what he does bring to the table is a sense of calmness to proceedings all around him.  He is often one step ahead in his head and can see pass before the opposition player has got anywhere near him.  He will be fully focused for this match and he would have been the first game he would have looked out for when the fixtures were released.  His link-up play between the strikers is beginning to show real chemistry and he is the first name on managers Seol Ki-hyeon's team sheet every week.  If the Reds are to get out of this league and back to K League 1, Jang Hyeok-jin will be the catalyst to make that dream become a reality.


FNR


Prediction

The Green Wolves will travel south in good spirits after their FA Cup victory, and will certainly know that the home side can be got at, as nine goals conceded so far in five games can justify that.  However with Gyeongnam being particularly strong on home soil and with a fully fit squad to choose from it's wise to think the Reds' will grind out the three points and start to look towards the top end of the K League 2 table once again.

Gyeongnam FC 2-1 Ansan Greeners


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