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IPark re-build takes shape as Greeners travel to Busan

 Busan IPark, 부산아이파크
After a difficult start to the season, Busan IPark look to rack up their third straight home win against the Ansan Greeners, a side sitting pretty towards the top after a solid start to the season. KLU columnist Todd Wilde previews this K League 2 matchup.


Match: Busan IPark vs. Ansan Greeners (Hana Bank K League 2, Round 5).

Venue: Gudeok Stadium, Busan.

Kick off: Saturday 14th March 2021, 16:00 KST

Where to Watch: Indonesian fans can watch Asnawi Mangkualam's potential K League debut on Total Sports Blast. All other supporters can watch via the K League's online OTT platform, K League TV, where live coverage will be available free of charge.

Recent Form

Busan IPark's season caught fire a fortnight ago, as they impressively brushed aside the league's pre-season favourites Gimcheon Sangmu with a 2-1 victory. An Byong-jun's quickfire brace after the interval turned the game on its head after Gimcheon had just taken the leader through Heo Yong-joon.

A much changed IPark side squeezed past Jeonju FC in the KFA Cup second round last Saturday. Domagoj Drozdek's beautiful curled finish from 30 yards looked to have given Busan the win, but Yoon Mun-soo took advantage of a defensive mix up between Hwang Jun-ho and Kim Seung-woo to level the tie late on. Jeonju goalkeeper Cho Dae-yeong had made a string of impressive saves to keep the K4 League team in the tie, but he couldn't prevent substitute An Byong-jun from scoring Busan's winner in extra time, a wonderful looped header from 15 yards out.

The Ansan Greeners came away with a 1-0 victory over ten man Chungnam Asan in their last K League match, taking advantage of youngster Lee Sang-min's dismissal for a stamp on centre back Kim Min-ho. After a second half where Ansan laid siege to the opposition goal, Róbson Carlos Duarte scored his maiden goal for the club from a penalty, not long after coming on as a substitute.


Ansan looked unconvincing in progressing to the KFA Cup third round, claiming a 1-0 win over Yangpyeong FC. Both sides were limited to half chances before the interval, with the only of the game coming through substitute Shim Jae-min's scrappy header from a corner. Yangpyeong had the best chances in the game's closing stages, but Kim Sun-woo looked difficult to beat in the Ansan goal, making some solid saves. The game was perhaps most notable for being Indonesian youth international Asnawi Bahar's debut, the first foreign player to play a competitive game in Korea under the ASEAN quota rule.

Team News

Busan IPark:

Ricardo Peres made two significant changes to his starting lineup in his last league game against Gimcheon Sangmu. Having put his faith into 21 year old centre back Park Ho-young and Korean youth international stopper Anh Joon-soo for Busan's first three fixtures, Peres decided to inject some experience into his first eleven for the visit of the army side. 

Kim Seung-woo impressed alongside the towering Cypriot Valentinos Sielis in the centre of defence, whilst Choi Pil-soo continued where he left off at the end of 2020 with a string of solid saves between the sticks. Both have earned the opportunity to keep their place in the side, with Busan's co-captain and likely first choice centre back Kang Min-soo sidelined for at least the next month.

Busan's other co-captain Park Jong-woo is under unavailable for selection until August having been sidelined with a ligament injury, presenting Peres with an enormous hole to fill in the middle of the pitch. Lee Rae-jun had initially played alongside Kim Jin-kyu for Busan's home defeat to Seoul E-Land, but it is Kim Jung-hyun that should retain his place in central midfield this week. The two Kims develped a good understanding in midfield, outclassing a strong Gimcheon side in Busan's last league match.

Kim Jung-hyunKim Jung-hyun looks set to continue his partnership with Kim Jin-kyu in central midfield

Ansan Greeners:

Lee Jun-hee played Ansan's first four league games as a right wing back, yet is under pressure to retain his place with Indonesian full back Asnawi Mangkualam pushing for his first league start. The new signing looked comfortable against fourth tier opposition in the KFA Cup last weekend, but may need to wait patiently for his breakthrough into the team's first eleven.

 [READ: Player Profile: Ansawi Mangkualam]

Ansan signed veteran striker Kang Soo-il on Deadline Day this week, who returns to Korea for the first time since 2015. Kang is best known for a spell with Jeju United between 2013 and 2015, where he was on the fringes of the Korean National Team before testing positive for methyltestosterone in a routine drugs test. Most recently used sparingly by Trat FC in the Thai Premier League, Kang has had successful spells abroad at J2 League side Thespakusatsu Gunma and Ratchaburi United in recent years. Kang could prove to be an inspired wildcard signing if given gametime and confidence by Ansan coach Kim Gil-sik.

Kang Soo-il

Kang Soo-il (pictured playing for Jeju in 2015)


Who will win the battle for the right wing?

Whilst Domagoj Drozdek has looked undroppable with his form on the left wing for Busan IPark - bagging his first goal for the club against Jeonju FC in the KFA Cup - there is real competition for a place on the opposite flank after the depature of Lee Dong-jun in the off season. Former Ulsan Hyundai winger Jung Hoon-sung is entering the peak years of his career, and appears to be the preferred starter in this position after making do as an impact substitute for the Goyangi in much of 2020. His natural competition should be with fellow Ulsan departure Lee Sang-heon, who is also a good option playing in the number 10 role or on the left wing. However, stiff competition has emerged from an unlikely source...

Lee Tae-min, 이태민 부산
Lee Tae-min (pictured playing for Busan's U18s in 2020)

Seventeen year old winger Lee Tae-min made his first start for the senior side in Busan's KFA Cup victory over Jeonju, and despite only joining the first team for training sessions in February, has already appeared to have cemented a spot as an impact substitute under Ricardo Peres. The Korean U17 international - still in the final year of his studies at Kaesong High School - has rapid pace and fantastic awareness on the wing, with a tendency to drift inside to collect the ball in space. Another IPark academy graduate pushing for gametime is Eo Jeong-won, who started up front against Jeonju but earned significant gametime in pre-season predominantly as a winger, scoring twice.

 [READ: Michael Redmond previews Seoul E-Land vs. Bucheon 1995]


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