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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs FC Anyang

Gyeongnam FC host FC Anyang looking to keep their playoff push alive this weekend.  The Reds' have been in stuttering form of late only winning once in their last five matches.  The Violets on the other hand all but lost their chance to enter into the playoff race with a heavy defeat last Saturday against league leaders Jeju United.  KLU's James Edrupt previews the clash.

Match: Gyeongnam FC vs FC Anyang.

Venue: Changwon Football Center.  Changwon.

Kick off: Saturday, October 10th; 2020. 13:30 (KST)

Last Time Out

The battle for the playoff berth continued last weekend with the capital-based outfit edging a closely fought encounter at the Seoul Olympic Stadium.

The game wasn't one for the highlight reel at all with both teams appearing nervous not to concede an early goal.  Brazilian Leandro was at the heart of everything the Leopards did in the attacking third running at the visitors' backline at every opportunity.  

The winning goal came late in the game with just five minutes remaining from substitute Kim Min-gyoon.  Leandro was quickest to take the ball off lumbering defender Kim Kyung-min, he advanced to the byline and cut the ball back perfectly for Kim to put over the line from a few yards out.  

The win means Seoul E-Land leapfrog Gyeongnam into fourth whilst the Reds' drop a place to fifth in the standings.

Full time: Seoul E-Land 1-0 Gyeongnam FC

FC Anyang traveled to the island in hope that Jeju United may have an off day.  Going into half time a goal to the good, and that hope was there.  However, the islanders came storming back and rattled four goals in after the break.

The visitors were mainly on the back foot in the first half but struck first just four minutes before the interval through striker Kim Gyeong-min tapping home from a yard out.  This was after good work from winger Kwon Young-hun who stole the ball from Jeju's right back Kim Oh-kyu and set up Kwon with an inch-perfect cross.

Whatever manager Nam Ki-Il said at the break obviously worked as the league leaders came out of the traps very quickly.  Just eleven minutes after the re-start and the islanders were level in rather fortuitous fashion through an own goal from goalkeeper Jeong Min-ki.  He diverted the ball over the line with his outstretched foot preventing a cross into the danger area.  The hosts were to get their noses in front on 73 minutes through a great guided header from substitute Jin Seong-uk.  Jin then completed his brace and put the game to bed with just a minute remaining heading home unmarked from a corner.  Club captain Lee Chang-min wanted in on the act and made it 4-1 with a free-kick bent into the top corner to really put the icing on the cake.  

Jeju remains on top of K League 2, whereas FC Anyang dropped a place to 8th following the defeat and Bucheon 1885 FC picking up a point at home to Jeonnam Dragons.

Full time: Jeju United 4-1 FC Anyang 

Previous Meetings

Gyeongnam FC have dominated this fixture over the years.  The teams have played each other 14 times in total with the Changwon based outfit winning eight of them, The Violets winning just the three, with three ending in draws.

Seol Ki-hyeon's men have already taken six points of Anyang this campaign.  Beating them 3-2 in Anyang in only game week 3 and in the corresponding fixture a narrow 1-0 victory in Changwon through a Baek Sung-dong wonder strike just six minutes after half time.

Team News  

An injury to experienced forward Park KI-dong has come at the worst possible time for Gyeongnam

Gyeongnam are still unsure if key central defender Bae Seung-jin will be available for selection after he has missed the last two league games with a slight knock.  His deputy Kim Kyung-min was at fault for the goal last time out against Seoul E-Land.  He has looked very slow and off the pace, in the games he has played.

The Reds' have looked a little light in the center forward position this campaign with Uros Deric ruled out for the season with a hernia problem.  Replacement Park Ki-dong has now gone down with an injury that will keep him out indefinitely.  Manager Seol Ki-hyeon has had to juggle his squad around to accommodate this injury crisis in the forward areas.  Often Seol has played midfielders in forward positions to try and get through games and in truth, it hasn't worked out.  Park Chang-jun and Hwang Il-soo have both been tried there and it just didn't look good.  Brazilian winger Negueba will have to sit this one out as he serves the last of his two-match suspension following his red card against Chungnam Asan a fortnight ago.

[READ:Korean Football Round-up 5th October]

The Adversary

It's been a frustrating campaign for manager Kim Hyung-yeol to date

FC Anyang travel south knowing only a win will stand them with any chance of them creeping into the playoffs as we approach the business end of the season.  In hindsight, they have to win every game and hope other teams in front of them continue to lose.  Anyang's run of fixtures doesn't get any easier.  They face Gyeongnam this weekend, followed by a tough home clash with Seoul E-Land, they then round off the season having to face Chungnam Asan, Daejeon Hana Citizen, and Suwon FC.  

They have some good players in their squad to hurt Gyeongnam this Saturday.  With the likes of Maxwell Acosty, Maurides, and Kim Kyung-min, this team has some pieces but for some reason, they haven't managed to put things together on a consistent basis this season.   They come into the clash in terrible form, only winning once in five matches.    The Violets will have to do without attacking midfielder Yu Jong-hyun who has accumulated five yellow cards and must serve a one match suspension.  It really is the last throw of the dice for Kim Hyung-yeol's men this weekend.

Who to Watch

Ko Kyung-mIn

The form of Ko Kyung-min will be crucial in the Reds' playoff push

The attacking midfielder/winger would be the first name on the team sheet week in week out.  He is playing the best football of his career at the moment.  His overall game has improved tenfold over the last month or so.  He is always looking for a forward pass and he is not afraid to run at defenders.  He is playing with real confidence at present, this was shown after his hat-trick a fortnight ago against Chungnam Asan.  

He is a key cog in the way Seol Ki-hyeon wants to play.  He links the play so well in the final third and is always trying to tread that killer pass into the strikers.  Ko always seems to be in the right place at the right time.  He has an ability not many players have, by him always ghosting into the box unnoticed.  If Gyeongnam are to get into the playoffs, this man will have to be on top of his game to get the Reds' there.  At this present time, Ko Kyung-min is showing his teammates the way.

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It really is "last chance salon" for FC Anyang.  So they will have to go for it and throw men forward to try and take home all three points.  This could play into Gyeongnam's hands if they are not careful.  Gyeongnam are the third-highest goal scorers in the league and can hurt teams if given time and space.

Gyeongnam FC 3-1 FC Anyang  

[READ:2020 K League 2 Round 23 Preview]

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