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Preview: Chungnam Asan FC vs Jeju United


 
The league title may have already been clinched, but there is still the matter of a streak to be defended for Jeju United as they will look to finish the season on a positive note when they travel to Asan for their final match of the season.  The hosts also have something to play for in the final round, as a win against the newly-crowned league champions would ensure they do not finish at the bottom of the table.  The islanders have won both previous meetings this season.  KLU's Branko Belan previews the final derby between these two before Nam Ki-il's men make the switch to the first division for the 2021 campaign.

Match: Chungnam Asan FC vs Jeju United
Venue: Yi Sun-shin Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday November 7th, 2020; 15:00 KST

Last Time Out

Bucheon FC 1995 0-0 Chungnam Asan FC

Bucheon and Asan played out a very even 0-0 draw last weekend, but it prevented the Owls from adding to their season point total as much as they would have liked.  It was the home side who could have gone in front after just five minutes when Jo Geon-gyu broke in to have a go at goal, but his shot crashed off the woodwork and stayed out.  

Asan responded only minutes later and looked to have taken the lead when Philip Hellquist was played in by Park Se-jik.  He put the ball in the back of the net, but the sideline official had already put up his flag for offside and the goal was not allowed to stand.  Neither side was able to muster a chance of any consequence for the rest of the half and the teams went in scoreless at the break.

The second half followed a very similar pattern to the first as there were few chances for either side, but William Barbio could have won it for Bucheon in second half injury time, but his close range effort was kept out by the legs of Lee Ki-hyun and the teams would settle for a point each at the final whistle.

Highlights



Jeju United 3-2 Seoul E-Land

Jeju United wrapped up the K League 2 title with a 3-2 victory over Seoul E-Land on Sunday afternoon, giving them automatic promotion at the first time of asking following relegation at the end of the 2019 season.  Goals from Jung Woo-jae (from the penalty spot), Kang Yoon-sung and Jin Seong-wook were enough to power them to victory although the Leopards got a pair of late goals from Kim Min-kyun and Richard Sukuta-Pasu, but it wasn't nearly enough to get them the result they needed to confirm a place in the playoffs.


Highlights



Previous Meetings

The islanders have won both previous meetings this season.  The first match played in June went to the champions by a final score of 2-0 with Jung Jo-gook converting a penalty near the end of the first half, and Lee Chang-min adding an insurance marker in the second half with just under a quarter of an hour to play.  The islanders were dominant in possession but struggled to realize their chances for much of the night.  Fortunately, however, both of their attempts on target found the back of the net and it was enough to give them victory on the night.

The second meeting played on the island in August was a bit closer, but the islanders were still the better side on the day.  Goals from Gong Min-hyun and Lim Dong-hyuk were enough for the win, with Armin Mujakic getting a late consolation goal for the Owls.  Both teams had several shots at goal but only shared six on target between them for the duration of the match.

Team News

Chungnam Asan have some concern heading into the final match of the season.  Bruno played only the first fifteen minutes of the match last week before having to be replaced by Kim In-kyun, and is a potential doubt for this weekend.  Jung Da-hwon picked up a yellow card against Bucheon and will miss the final match due to suspension.  Kim Jong-gook will also miss the final match of the season due to an accumulation of yellow cards.  

Armin Mujakic has been out of the squad the past five matches and there is no guarantee he will get a place in the starting eleven this weekend, although he may get consideration solely on the basis of Bruno being unable to play.  As the first foreign signing at the club ever, a lot was expected of him at thte beginning of the season, but the return has not been as expected.  In seventeen appearances for the club, he has four goals and one assists to show for his efforts, but there have been indications that Park Dong-hyuk has not been satisfied with him this season.  It remains to be seen what happens with him in the off-season, but it's a possibility he may not stay at the club for the 2021 season.

On the heels of his emphatic performance on the weekend with a goal and an assist, Kang Yoon-sung has been selected for the U-23 side which will head to Egypt later this month where the national team will play in a friendly tournament against the host nation on November 13th at 3 AM Korean Standard Time and then against Brazil the following day at 10 PM.  It will be a good opportunity to tune up prior to the Tokyo Olympics next year and hopefully will give Kim Hak-bum a better idea of who will make the final squad.

Kang Yoon-sung and Jin Seong-wook had a goal and an assist each in Jeju's title-clinching win last weekend.

Jin Seong-wook continued his strong finish to the season with a goal and assist of his own against the Leopards, making it five goals in seven matches since returning to the club.  It's apparent Nam Ki-il is counting on him for next season as Jin spent considerable time in K League 1 while completing his military service with Sangju Sangmu.  While he did not get a lot of playing time with the military club this season, he has been rejuvenated since returning to the island, and that should give him the confidence for big things in 2021.

There are no suspensions in the team, but there is little reason to think that there will be too many changes from the side which played last weekend, as Nam Ki-il continues to be adamant that the season is not over yet; there is still a match left and he wants to finish the campaign on a strong note.


The Adversary

Asan need a win to avoid finishing bottom of the league.

Park Dong-hyuk realizes that the team has had to go through growing pains this year with the introduction of several new faces into the squad.  At times they have played well, at times not so much.  Now, with the season coming to a close, several of those players will be returning to their parent clubs, but the positive side in all of it is that a lot of young players had a chance to play at a professional standard and experience the speed of the game at another level, whereas they most likely would not have had the same chance had they not gone out on loan.

According to the manager, several players have had fitness concerns with the season winding down, so preparation for the final match will be particularly important.  Lee Jae-keun is one of the players who he hopes will stand out in the final match of the season, but it seems that a lot has to happen for them to get a result.  Although the goal was not to finish bottom, they may be resigned to that fate after missing opportunities earlier in the season.


What to Watch

There is still a lot on the line for Jeju despite already clinching the title and gaining automatic promotion with the win last Sunday against Seoul E-Land.  Several players in this star-laden cast this season are up for awards at the end of the season, as Lee Chang-min is is the MVP conversation; Lee Dong-ryul is nominated for the first-ever K League 2 Young Player of the Year award (he just needs to make an appearance against Asan to qualify for the award, having then played at least half of the matches during the season - why he was taken off early against the Leopards) and of course, Nam Ki-il is going to be the likely recipient of the Manager of the Year award.  There are also a total of ten Jeju players in the running for Team of the Year.

Nam Ki-il (pictured with Lee Chang-min) has now successfully promoted a club to the first division for a third time.  

Nam Ki-il has made a point of emphasizing the fact that the players must go to the end and that there is still unfinished business to attend to.  Both on paper and on form, Jeju is the better side and should be able to finish well, but the product must show on the field as well.  They have been overwhelming for the division in long stretches in 2020 and there is no reason for that to change on Saturday afternoon.


Prediction

It will be a coming together for the final time of the teams at opposite ends of the table and there is no question that the newly-crowned champions are heavy favorites going into the match.  The biggest reason why this is true is that Asan have been so poor at home this season having won only twice on their own patch this campaign.  They did play Jeju tough the last time the teams met, but all indicators point to a Jeju victory to close out what has been a memorable year for the islanders.

Predicted Score: Chungnam Asan FC 0-2 Jeju United   

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