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Preview: Busan IPark v Pohang Steelers


Out of form Busan IPark host Pohang Steelers this weekend behind closed doors. Guest writer Lee Dowon previews this K League 1 clash.

  Last Time Out

Busan salvaged a point against Seongnam, as Busan head coach Cho Duk-jae reverted back to a 5-3-2 formation against the Magpies. Cho had used this formation in the FA Cup earlier this season, and said his team had only two days to practice in an interview after the match. Seongnam used a 3-2-4-1 formation.

Seongnam dominated with 20 shots, whilst Busan only attempted six shots in the game. Former Busan player Kim Hyun-seong’s assist set up Yoo In-soo to take the lead in the 60th minute through a well worked move. But in the third minute of stoppage time, Busan’s Uzbek international Dostonbek Tursunov scored an equalizer with a strong header from a corner.

Although Busan gained a point at an away game thanks to Dostonbek’s fantastic equalizer, Busan were dragged around by Seongnam throughout the game. Seongnam’s attack was way more threatening than Busan’s, as the Magpies dominated the midfield. Cho’s long ball tactics are possibly not the right fit for Busan, as IPark struggled to control the game. Lee Dong-jun was threatening on the wing and Kim Ho-jun had a decent game in goal, but Kim Myung-jun had a nightmare performance at the back.
Match Highlights:
 
Pohang went to Ulsan for the ‘Donghae-an derby’. Pohang played well against top of the league, but injuries to Brandon O’Neill and Kwon Wan-gyu twisted the Steelers’ plans. In the 53rd minute, Ulsan broke the deadlock through Kim In-seong, assisted by Hong Chul. Two minutes later, Bjorn Johnson scored a header from Shin Jin-ho’s assist, giving Ulsan a 2-0 lead. After Pohang's loss, they are now only six points ahead of FC Seoul in sixth position.

Match Highlights:

Previous Meetings

Busan and Pohang met each other at the Steelyard in the first round of the season. Busan elected to play right back Lee Sang-jun on the left wing due to U22 rules, but he didn’t made an impact at that game. With Lee Jeong-hyeop out injured with a hernia, Vintecinco started for Busan.

In the 23rd minute through Kim Yong-hwan’s cross, Iljucenko’s header gave Pohang the lead. And at 70min, Dostonbek fouled Iljucenko in the box. Palosevic scored the penalty to make it 2-0 in a comfortable win for the home side.

Team News

Kim Moon-hwan cannot be featured in this game due an accumulation of yellow cards. Park Jun-gang will compete with Korean youth international Lee Sang-jun at this position. Veteran Kim Ho-jun received a head injury against Seongnam, and so Choi Pil-su is likely to start against Pohang. Striker Kim Hyun and midfielder Lee Gyu-seong both join Busan's long injury list, so are unlikely to feature in this game.
Predicted Line up:
Kim Seung-jun Lee Jung-hyeop Lee Dong-jun
Park Jong-woo Romulo Kwon Hyeok-gyu
Yun Seok-yeong Kim Dong-woo Kang Min-soo Park Jun-gang
Choi Pil-su

Pohang also has injury problems. Brandon O’Neill and Kwon Wan-gyu were injured in the East Coast derby and so are doubtful against Busan. CB Ha Chang-rae cannot feature in this game because of an accumulation of yellow cards. The good news is that Manuel Palacios, who got a direct red card against Jeonbuk, is back for the Steelers after serving his suspension.
Predicted Line up:
Iljucenko 
Song Min-gyu Palosevic Palacios 
Lee Seung-mo Choi Young-joon
Kim Sang-won Kim Gwang-seok Jeon Min-gwang Park Jae-woo
Kang Hyeon-mu


Who To Watch

Song Min-gyu
Song Min-gyu is on fire in this season. The 21 year old is considered to be the most likely winner of the K League Young Player award owing to his performances so far this season. The winger has scored six goals in 16 games for Pohang this season, and will be a dangerous presence typically from wide positions on the left side of the pitch. Song will present a big test for Park Jun-gang or Lee Sang-min at RB this weekend.
Lee Dong-jun
Lee Dong-jun is one of the key members of Busan, however he has struggled to dominate the division like he did in the K League 2 last season. This season, he only has three goals and three assists in 16 games. However, he is one of the victims of Busan's current tactics. Cho Duk-jae’s long ball tactics are not getting the best out of the winger. Lee Dong-jun’s pace and dribbling ability can test the opponent’s defence, yet he is not being released into the right areas or given good enough service to test other team's full backs.

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Prediction

After the last clash between two clubs, Kim Yong-hwan and Sim Sang-min have left to join Sangju for their military service. But Pohang have major attacking threats in Palosevic and Iljucenko, who are still doing really well at this season, whilst Manuel Palacios is back for Pohang and will want to impress against a club that wanted to sign him in the summer. On the other hand, Busan only gained one point in the last five games, whilst Kim Moon-hwan can’t play in this game. So this is likely to be a tough game for Busan IPark.

Busan IPark 0-2 Pohang Steelers

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