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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs FC Anyang

Preview: Gyeongnam vs FC Anyang
Draw specialists Gyeongnam FC welcome ninth-placed FC Anyang to the Changwon Football Center on Sunday night.  The hosts will be confident of picking up all three points after a much-improved performance last time out against Jeonnam Dragons, earning themselves a battling point.  Anyang on the other hand suffered a loss at home to table-toppers Suwon FC.  Who will come out on top this weekend?  KLU's Gyeongnam FC columnist James Edrupt previews the clash. 

Match:  Gyeongnam FC vs FC Anyang.
Venue:  Changwon Football Center.  Changwon.
Kick-off:  Sunday, August 2nd, 2020.  19:00 (KST)

Last Time Out

Jeonnam Dragons 1-1 Gyeongnam FC

This was a very entertaining open game in Gwangyang.  It took an equalizer from new signing Hernades to rescue a point for the hosts.

The visitors came out of the blocks quickly and played some nice attractive football at times, pinning the Dragons in their half.   Their efforts were to be rewarded when Dutchman Luc Castaignos making his first start of the campaign planted a firm header from an inch-perfect Choi Jun cross past Park Jun-hyuk on 25 minutes to give the Gyeongsangnam-do outfit the lead. 

The hosts came back strong and piled on the pressure after the interval eventually getting an equalizer from 20-year-old Brazilian new signing Hernades.  He smashed home the loose ball from close range into the roof of the net on 63 minutes.  The youngster looks to be a great find for the Dragons, he looked very exciting on his debut.  This set up a grandstand finish.  With both teams tiring in the stifling summer heat there were to be no more goals and it was to end honors even in the Gwangyang Stadium.

FC Anyang 0-2 Suwon FC

The hosts had no answer to the juggernaut that is league leaders Suwon FC on Saturday evening.  Losing to two second-half goals both scored within a minute of each other.

The first half was an evenly contested match with Anyang more than holding their own against their lofty opponents.  As early as the 5th minute, a quickly taken corner was well worked and a vicious driven effort flashed just wide of the post by Anyang midfielder Hwang Mun-ki.  They were to miss a golden chance to take the lead on 19 minutes when diminutive midfielder Kwon Young-hyun received a perfectly weighted through ball, but he somehow managed to screw the ball wide of the left-hand post with the goal gaping.  A real let-off for the visitors.

Whatever was said at half-time paid dividends as Suwon FC came out all guns blazing and took the lead from the spot through K League 2 leading goal scorer An Byong-jun on 52 minutes.  A free-kick lofted into the box resulted in an Anyang defender man handling captain Lee Han-saim to the ground.  An stepped up confidently and tucked away the spot-kick for his 13th goal in 12 league appearances.  Just thirty seconds later Japanese striker Mastatoshi Ishida doubled the Gyeonggi-do based side advantage slotting home from a slight angle after a lung-bursting run from Mo Jae-hyeon caused panic in the Anyang defense.  Mo's passed the ball into the forward's path and Ishida is deadly from those positions.   A real clinical piece of finishing and an extremely accomplished performance all round from the league leaders.

Previous Meetings

Overall these two sides have clashed thirteen times with Gyeongnam FC having a clear advantage over FC Anyang.  The Reds have had the better of Anyang winning seven times, Anyang have won just three times and three have ended in draws.

The two sides met in the third round of fixtures earlier this campaign with Gyeongnam winning a thriller 3-2 in the Anyang Stadium.  The hosts took a surprise lead through midfielder Lee Jeong-bin on 22 minutes.  Gyeongnam were to roar back and score one before the break from a penalty courtesy of Uroš Đerić.   The visitors were to score two more through Hwang Il-soo and 21-year-old wing-back Kim Hyeong-won.  Lee bagged his second of the game with three minutes remaining to set up a nervy finish for the away side.  Gyeongnam's Yang Hyuk-jin recieved his marching orders in this match for two bookable offences. 

Team News

Choi Jun and Castaignos embrace after the pair combined last Sunday

Manager Seol Ki-hyeon tinkered yet again with his line-up against Jeonnam Dragons last time out and he seems to have found his best starting eleven.  It was a much more compact and solid performance by his team.  Luc Castaignos started as a lone striker and he put in a really good shift and looked very lively running off the shoulder of defenders, not giving them a moment's rest.  The Dutchman has surely made that center forward position his own now after initially being told he was surplus to requirements.  To his credit, he has knuckled down in training and shown a good attitude to force his way back into the manager's plans.

It was a welcome sight to see experienced attacking midfielder Hwang Il-soo return on the bench after a month out with an injury picked up in training.  He really can make the difference to the side with his directness and his raw pace.  Brazilian winger Negueba looks like he is nearing full match fitness and has started the past three fixtures and has looked promising and is full of tricks.  Baek Sung-dong, an important member of the side was an unknown absentee last time out and we'll have to wait and see if the midfielder features this Sunday.  It has been reported, but not confirmed by the club in regards to striker Uroš Đerić, it is said that his season has come to an end due to a hernia problem.  The rest of the squad has a clean bill of health with no suspensions.

The Adversary

Anyang being put under pressure by table toppers Suwon FC last Saturday

The Violets seemed to have turned a corner somewhat of late.  Earning a respectable draw against playoff hopefuls Jeonnam Dragons and then beating lowly Chungnam Asan 2-0 away from home.  However, they came back to earth last week losing to powerhouses Suwon FC. 

Goals haven't been a problem, they have Acosty up front who has four goals to his name and boast both Nilson and Koo Bon-hyeok in midfield, who are joint top assist makers in the league so far.  Their problems lie in defense.  They have let in eighteen goals so far this season, the second-worst in the division.  More concerning is that 73.3% of all goals let in are coming in the second half, and 33.3% of their goals conceded have come in the last 15 minutes of games.  This indicates that they tire easily in matches and a lack of concentration might have contributed for their poor start to the campaign.

Acosty hasn't played since he scored a brace away against big spenders Daejeon Hana Citizen over a month ago.  They have missed him spear-heading this side.  Brazilian Maurides has tried to fill the void left by Acosty but they just don't look the same side with him not in it.

One new face in the side is Joo Hyun-woo, who made the move from Seongnam FC. In his career, he has played a total of 135 matches with six goals and twelve assists to his name.  He is capable of playing on either wing, in the center of midfield, and even as a fullback, so he could be a versatile piece for them as the games come thick and fast.

What To Watch

Castaignos reels away after scoring against Jeonnam Dragons

Can Luc Castaignos finally live up to his reputation?

Luc has had a tough time of late trying to force his way back into manager Seol Ki-hyeon's plans.  His CV is quite frankly unbelievable with the Dutchman starting his career with Dutch giants Feyenoord when in the 2010-2011 season he scored fifteen times.  This earnt him a move to Italian giants Inter Milan but for some reason, it didn't work out there and he only made six appearances scoring just once.  He then returned to his motherland and signed with Twente FC where he enjoyed a fruitful three seasons tallying 37 goals over that period.  He moved to Gyeongnam FC in 2019 from Portuguese side Sporting CP. 

He hasn't adapted well to the style of Korean football as of yet, mainly coming off the bench last campaign and starting in the odd cup game.  His performance last Sunday however was a breath of fresh air.  He looked extremely focused and he ran his socks off from the first whistle and his touch was very good holding up the ball bringing others into play.  Full credit to the striker who has had to wait for his chance after seemingly being frozen out by Gyeongnam completely.  

If The Reds are to make a late push for the playoffs they will need Luc to hit the ground running.  He'll need to continue the form he showed against Jeonnam on a regular basis until the season's completion in early November.  

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Both these teams come into the clash with confidence an issue running through both these squads.  Gyeongnam on the whole are very strong at home, only losing once in Changwon all season.  The Reds have drawn seven times this campaign, the most in the K League 2.  However, with the hosts getting their full strength team back and showing very positive signs last time out, they should have too much for The Violets this Sunday evening.

Gyeongnam FC 3-1 FC Anyang

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