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scouting

Derby Day as Gyeongnam FC and Busan IPark face off in Changwon

Gyeongnam FC host Busan IPark on Saturday evening in K League 2 hoping to trade places with the Royals with a home victory.  This fixture has some bad memories for the Reds in more recent times.  Busan relegated Gyeongnam in the 2019 campaign, beating the Changwon-based side 2-0 over two legs in the promotion/relegation playoffs.  Both sides come into the game in patchy form, which makes this clash even harder to predict who will come out on top.  K League United's Gyeongnam FC columnist James Edrupt previews this one. 


Match: Gyeongnam FC vs Busan IPark
Venue: Changwon Football Center. Changwon.
Kick-off: Saturday. April 17th, 2021; 18:30 (KST)


Recent Form

Gyeongnam will be buoyed by a morale-boosting FA Cup third-round victory over K League 3 side Mokpo City on Wednesday night.  Seol Ki-hyeon's men made hard work of the tie, eventually coming out on top 3-1 after extra time.  Striker Lee Jeong-hyeop was heavily involved, scoring a brace, his first goals in Gyeongnam colors.  A late Baek Sung-dong strike was enough to secure a fourth-round away tie with neighbors Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday the 26th of May.

Busan IPark in contrast bowed out of the competition losing to K League 1 opposition in Seongnam FC.  A goal from 21-year-old midfielder Lee Min-jung won the contest for the Magpies scoring with just eight minutes left in the first half.  IPark boss Ricardo Peres selected a largely inexperienced starting eleven, including six under 22 players.  It was a pleasing sight for the Royals seeing center-back Kim Dong-woo return to the team and play a full ninety minutes whilst taking the captain armband. 



What to Watch

Why are Gyeongnam so shot-shy in front of goal?


The Reds have only scored five goals in their first six games this 2021 campaign.  With the attacking talent at Seol KI-hyeon's disposal the fact, they average less than a goal a game is a damming stat.  Seol has the luxury of calling upon Lee Jeong-hyeop, Hernandes, Yun June-tae, Willyan, and Hwang Il-soo as a force going forward.  With the experienced base behind them of Baek Sung-dong, Ko Kyung-min, Jang Hyeok-jin, and newly fit Lim Min-hyeok there is no excuse for this Gyeongnam team to currently be propping up K League 2 after six games.  

Gyeongnam have a lot of the ball in matches but finds it hard to penetrate the opposition back-line with accurate precision.  The crosses into the penalty area have been below par and the defenders have an easy task of clearing the ball away.  This in turn creates the aforementioned attackers in the box becoming frustrated and they tend to lose focus in games.  If the Reds are to climb up the table this has to be addressed as soon as possible.  There were some positive signs midweek against Mokpo City in the FA Cup that striker Lee Jeong-hyeop has started to find his feet at the club.  He took his second goal very well and his link-up play with Hwang Il-soo looked very impressive.  

Gyeongnam are yet to win at home in the league, losing at home to FC Anyang on the opening day and playing out a bore draw against Seoul E-land in-game week four.  There isn't much history-wise between the two sides with them both facing off 39 times.  Gyeongnam winning 19 of them, Busan winning 13, and 7 ending in draws.  




Who to Watch

Lee Jeong-hyeop


Former Busan IPark talisman Lee Jeong-hyeop made the short move north to sign for the Reds in the off-season in one of the most talked-about signings to of happened.  He has had a stop-start beginning to his Gyeongnam career.  He finally opened his account for his new club in the cup midweek and he looked very impressive in the game.  Coming up against his old employers this Saturday, Lee would have had this game as the first one he looked out for when the fixtures were released.  He has been used sparingly by manager Seol Ki-hyeon to date.  If he starts the game he would be taken off around the 60-minute mark and when used off the bench he has struggled to get into a game and influence the contest.  There have been signs of late that his understanding of Seol's tactics and with his teammates has been improving week by week.  Lee won't need any motivation heading into Saturday's derby match.  In turn, the Korea national team center forward could be a major factor in the outcome of this game this weekend.


Busan IPark

An Byong-jun


North Korean forward An Byong-jun has had a great start to his Busan IPark career.  Making the step down from newly-promoted Suwon FC to the Royals can't have been an easy decision for An to make.  He is the joint top scorer in K League 2 bagging himself three goals.  An has a great record of late playing against Gyeongnam.  Last campaign the marksman scored four goals in three games versus Seol Ki-hyeon's men.  The most important of them being the last gasp spot-kick he rammed home to seal Suwon FC's promotion into K League 1 in the playoff final.  He will be aiming to continue this rich vein of form on Saturday.  The hosts have only kept two clean sheets this season in league and cup competitions.  Watch for the center forward to be heavily involved from the first whistle and to continue this good form against Busan's neighbors. 



Where to Watch

Gyeongnam FC vs Busan IPark can be watched live and for FREE on tv.kleague.com from 18:30 KST, Saturday, April 17th.




FNR 


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