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Gyeongnam FC look to kick-start their season against Bucheon FC 1995

 

Gyeongnam FC welcomes fellow strugglers Bucheon FC 1995 to the Changwon Football Center on Saturday afternoon.  The hosts will be looking to secure their first home league win of the campaign.  Seol Ki-hyeon's side have made a bad start to the 2021 season, and just need a spark from somewhere to get the ball rolling.  Bucheon travels south without a win in five but will know they can get something from the clash.  KLU's Gyeongnam FC columnist James Edrupt previews this one.


Match: Gyeongnam FC vs Bucheon FC 1995
Venue: Changwon Football Center. Changwon.
Kick-off: Saturday. April 24th. 2021; 13:30 (KST)


Recent Form

Gyeongnam were left reeling after losing at home last weekend against rivals Busan IPark 2-1.  The Reds were on the back foot for the majority of the ninety minutes and the Royals deservedly bought home the spoils.  A goal in each half put IPark in total control, the first through former Gyeongnam loanee from Ulsan Hyundai, Choi Jun.  He got in front of the defender and expertly headed the ball over the onrushing shot-stopper Song Jung-hyun to open his account for his new club.  Man of the moment An Byung-jun then scored his fourth of the campaign, calmly slotting home from the spot after he was tripped just inside the box after expertly turning his marker.  Attacking midfielder Ko Kyung-min headed home a consolation goal deep into stoppage time to make the scoreline look somewhat more respectable than the host's performance merited.


[READ:An Byong-jun strikes knockout punch in Nakdong Derby]


Bucheon FC 1995 were edged out at home by one of the league's surprise packages in Ansan Greeners by a solitary goal.  The strike to win the Green Wolves the game was a goal of the season contender from the unexpected source of defender turned midfielder Min Jun-Yeong.  He received a short free-kick from just inside the Bucheon's half and advanced forward uncontested where he unleashed a thunderbolt of a strike into the top corner with just twenty minutes remaining in the contest.  It was only Min's second-ever professional goal and one he will never forget.  Bucheon piled on the pressure towards the latter stages of the game but the Greeners held on for a great away victory which moves them up to fourth in K League 2.


What to Watch

Are the Gyeongnam faithful losing confidence in manager Seol Ki-hyeon?


The former Korean national team winger and ex-Fulham and Reading man Seol Ki-hyeon made his first foray into professional management last season.  He had a somewhat successful season taking the Reds to a third-place finish in the league.  Seol failed to win promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt losing to Suwon FC in the play-off final.  There were plenty of positive signs coming into the 2021 campaign.  Seol signed some good players in the off-season and strengthened in positions he felt needed to be addressed.  

However, with just one league win to date after seven games and only 5 points on the board, the fans are at a loss how Seol and his coaching staff can get out of this slump and get moving in the right direction up the table.  In recent games against Daejeon Hana Citizen and Busan I'Park, his whole demeanor on the touchline was that of a broken man who has run out of ideas on how to fix what he is seeing playing out in front of him.  He will need the help of his experienced players like Baek Sung-dong and club captain Hwang Il-soo to get him out of this mire.  Seol has a very strong squad at his disposal and he is still finding the best way to get the best out of his players.  He will need to figure this out sooner rather than later or Seol may be under serious pressure to keep hold of his job.

In terms of the history of this fixture.  The sides have clashed only fifteen times with Gyeongnam winning 8, Bucheon 5, and just 2 ending all square.  Last season saw one of the games of the season when the teams met in late October.  The Reds came out on top of a seven-goal thriller 4-3 with Choi Jun grabbing the winner deep into added time.


Who To Watch

Gyeongnam FC

Kim Young-chan

The familiar sight of Kim Young-chan leaping for a header

The Bucheon supporters will be familiar with Kim Young-chan when the game kicks off on Saturday afternoon.  The no-nonsense center-back played for Bucheon last season and was a rock for them in defense scoring twice.  Kim has played in every game for the Reds this season and has performed admirably if not spectacularly.  In his defense, he has had to form a different center-back relationship with Lee Kwang-seon and Bae Seung-jin all throughout the season.  Lee and Bae have picked up knocks and had to miss some games.  Couple this with goalkeeper Song Jung-hyun getting suspended for an off-the-ball incident away in Jeonnam and his start to his Gyeongnam career hasn't got off to the best of starts.  Facing his old employers this Saturday, Kim will be chomping at the bit to make his mark on the game and keep a clean sheet.  


As you can see from the table above Kim is no stranger to challenging for the ball in aerial duels.


Bucheon FC 1995

Park Chang-jun


Park Chang-jun made the move north from Gyeongnam FC to Bucheon in the winter and has started his career impressively for Bucheon.  Park bagged three goals in his first four games for his new team and has been a menace for defensives in the process.  He is an intelligent player and has the ability to be in the right place at the right time.  His goals won't win any goal of the season contender anytime soon.  But what he does possess is a real eye for goal.  The former Gangwon striker will be hoping to put on a good performance against his old team and keep them rooted to the bottom of K League 2.  It must be noted that Park has been absent from the matchday squad for the last three matches.  So he may have an unreported injury or problem that we haven't been notified about. 


Prediction

Both Gyeongnam and Bucheon are in bad form.  The hosts have only won once in their last five league games and Bucheon have only picked up two points from their last five encounters.  This could be a cagey affair with both teams knowing the first goal will be very important.  Confidence in both camps will be low so the quality of football on show might not be the best.  

For both Gyeongnam and Bucheon, just three points on the board are very much needed for both these sides to claw their way back into the middle of the league.  It'll take a very brave person to predict which of these teams will come out on top come 3pm on Saturday afternoon.


[READ:2021 K League 2 Round 8 Preview]



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