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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Gyeongnam FC

Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Gyeongnam FC

Bottom placed Ansan Greeners welcome an out of form Gyeongnam FC outfit hoping for a change of fortunes on Monday night in K League 2.  The Green Wolves more than held their own last time out against promotion candidates Daejeon Hana Citizen eventually coming away with no points, losing to two late goals.  The Reds, on the other hand, suffered their first home loss of the season against an improving Seoul E-Land outfit.  Both sides need to get back on the winning track, sooner rather than later.  K League United's Gyeongnam columnist James Edrupt preview the clash.

Match: Ansan Greeners vs Gyeongnam FC.
Venue: Wa-Stadium, Ansan.
Kick-off: Monday, July 20th 2020.  19:00 (KST)

Last Time Out

Ansan Greeners 0-2 Daejeon Hana Citizen

Promotion candidates Daejeon left this one late on Sunday evening picking up all three points at the Wa~ Stadium.  Plucky Ansan had battled superbly and put on a brilliant rearguard action display to keep the Purples at bay but they couldn't hold on for what would have been a valuable point.

Daejeon opened the scoring in the 83rd minute from substitute and recent signing from FC Seoul, Yoon Seung-won.  He smashed the ball home with his left foot, glancing the near post from four yards out as the hosts failed to clear a corner that caused panic in the defense.  The visitors wrapped up the three points deep into stoppage time when leading marksman Andre Luis was quickest to react after goalkeeper Kim Seon-woo had parried a header from the aforementioned Yoon straight into Luis path to stroke the ball home.  A win for Daejeon, keeps them in the hunt for promotion, moving up to second in K League 2.  The Green Wolves, as a result of the defeat, slip to the foot of the table.

Gyeongnam FC 1-2 Seoul E-Land

Before this clash, both sides came into the game with a very similar record, but it was the capital-based side who were to bring the points back north on Saturday evening.

It was a game of two halves with the hosts dominating the first half and Seoul being totally in control of the second.  It was the Reds who deservedly took the lead with just two minutes remaining in the first half through the unlikely source of center-back Lee Kwang-seon who powered in a free header from six yards out.  Questions will be asked about the E-Land back line and how Lee was given the freedom of the box to pick his spot with ease.

Whatever was said at half-time by manager Chung Jung-young paid dividends from the moment the whistle was blown for the second half.  Key player Leandro was brought on at half time for the ineffective Kim Min-gyoon and he would prove to be the main difference in Seoul's upturn in fortunes.  Chung went for it and opted for a 4-4-3 formation and after constant pressure, the hosts cracked and defender Kim Tae-hyeon opened his account for the season with a cracking angled drive into the far corner from distance with twenty-five minutes remaining.  The away side was to be further rewarded for their efforts when German center-forward Richard Sukuta-Pasu scored the winner on seventy-four minutes from around the penalty spot with an acrobatic effort that flew past goalkeeper Song Jung-hyun after a hopeful looking cross was helped on by Leandro.  It was a thumping finish and was to prove to be the winning goal in an exciting contest in Changwon.  The Leopards as a result leap-frog  Jeonnam Dragons into fifth place whilst Gyeongnam remain in seventh.

Previous Meetings

The two teams has clashed just five times in their history.  Gyeongnam have the advantage, winning three of them, Ansan coming out on top just once and one match ending in a draw.  They played just over a month ago in the Changwon Football Center with a late Park Gi-dong winner on 78 minutes proving the difference in a 2-1 victory for the hosts.  The pick of the games in previous seasons came in the Reds promotion campaign in 2017 in a clash that finished 3-3.  Two goals in two minutes late-on rescued a point for Gyeongnam, with former Daegu striker Song Je-heon grabbing the all-important leveler on 86 minutes.  The Reds like to score against the Green Wolves putting 11 goals past them in just five matches.  They scored three goals in three consecutive matches in the 2017 season beating Ansan 3-0, 3-1 and drawing 3-3.

Team News

Gyeongnam FC goes into the game on the back of three straight defeats and with confidence being an obvious issue, manager Seol Ki-hyeon's first foray into professional management has been met with numerous hurdles.  The way the Reds collapsed last time out will have him very concerned.  New signing Kang Seung-jo returned to the club last week, signed from Malaysian Super League side Kalantan FC.  At 34 years old he will add some experience to the squad and will hope to figure in the plans.  The club is still in hope that key winger Hwang Il-soo recovers from a knock he picked up in training over a month ago.  He has been sorely missed.  The rest of the squad is fit and raring to go in a contest they must be picking up three points from if they are to climb the table into playoff contention.  Negueba was a surprise inclusion from the start against Seoul E-Land last weekend and he will be hoping to get the managers nod for this clash as well.

The Adversary

The Green Wolves enter the contest in terrible form.  They fell to the foot of the table after last week's defeat to Daejeon.  They have only scored six league goals this campaign with only three of those coming in victories.  They also rank last in crosses into the box made after 10 games.  Under pressure manager Kim Gil-sik is very loyal to his players, although the results so far this season have been bad, he has stuck with the same starting eleven on the whole as the season has progressed.  He may make some wholesale changes on Monday.  His regulars, goalkeeper Lee Hee-seong, wingback Kim Tae-hyun, midfielder Lee Re-jun and forward Kim Ryun-do will be asked to carry the load again against Gyeongnam.  There have been some additions to the squad in defender Park Jun-yeong has joined from FC Seoul on a free transfer and so could feature as too could Yeon Je-min who signed last week from Suwon FC.

What To Watch

How can Gyeongnam be more resolute in defense?

Manager Seol Ki-hyeon must go home after every game scratching his head thinking of what to do to arrest their bad form.  The Changwon based side on the whole look okay in an attacking sense but when put under pressure at the back they seem to have a very soft underbelly and they just cave in under the slightest pressure.  Since their best defender Park Ji-soo left for the Chinese Super League in 2018 they haven't replaced him with a like for like replacement.  They thought Lee Kwang-seon was the answer signed from Jeju United in 2018, but he has on the whole been very cumbersome at the back and was recently dropped against Chungnam Asan in a 2-1 defeat.  The obvious unrest at the back caused Seol to sign attacking full-back Choi Jun from Ulsan Hyundai to try and plug a gap at right-back.  Ahn Sung-nam has been manfully playing there before Choi was signed but at 36 years old he couldn't compete with the faster wingers in the division and he would tire as the game was coming into the final ten minutes.  

Seol has tinkered with his center-back pairing on several occasions, partnering Nick Ansell with Lee Kwang-seon, then dropping Ansell and opting for the well-traveled Bae Seung-jin to partner Lee.  Off-season signing Kim Kyung-min from the Thai league has also been tried there a few times and it's looked very off-balanced.  The full-back positions seemed to be secured with former Busan IPark left-back Yoo Ji-hun making the position his own putting in some assured performances.  Recent loan signing Choi is a great addition to the right-hand side of the defense.  However, he is just 22 years old and is still prone to errors positionally in the professional game.  The Reds only clean sheet of the season came on the opening day of the season against Jeonnam Dragons over two months ago.  They have shipped twenty-three goals in twelve matches in all competitions.  It's a dilemma the man at the helm Seol Ki-hyeon and his staff have to solve quickly.  Otherwise their aim for a quick return to K League 1 will be beyond their reach even at this relatively early stage of the season.   



Tough one to call this as both these teams have lost three on the bounce.  Confidence in both ranks must be at an all-time low.  Gyeongnam on paper has by far the better side and have good strength in depth.  The Green Wolves just can't find the back of the net this campaign but with the Reds being more than accommodating to attackers this season I do expect Ansan to get on the score sheet.  However, I also expect the Reds to score more than one and take home the spoils.

Prediction: Ansan Greeners 1-2 Gyeongnam FC

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