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Preview: Stuttering Busan IPark host in-form Ansan Greeners


Busan IPark host Ansan Greeners on Saturday evening, with the Royals looking to end a three match goalless run that has seen them fall eight points behind league leaders Anyang. The Greeners, unbeaten in five, will hope to build on an impressive win last weekend and leapfrog Busan in the table.


Recent Form

After a goal-filled June, Busan IPark have endured a torrid July so far, failing to score in any of their past three games. The absence of Olympic-bound Kim Jin-kyu has been sorely felt this month, with Busan lacking guile and creativity in midfield. Busan only managed three shots on target over the past two games, and they’ll need to find their shooting boots quickly or they face falling out of playoff contention. 

Ansan Greeners, meanwhile, are on their longest unbeaten run of the season. With two wins and three draws over their past five games, the Greeners go into this weekend’s game in high spirits. Last weekend, Ansan thrashed Gyeongnam to move level on points with Daejeon and Busan, and Kim Gil-sik’s team are now starting to look like real playoff contenders.

Team News

Busan IPark’s new signing Renato Santos has completed his self-isolation period, but the match could come too soon for him. The Portuguese winger, who has previously played for Malaga in Spain and Boavista in Portugal, was announced by the club on Wednesday. 

Ricardo Peres may decide to switch to a back four on Saturday. The Busan coach has favoured a back three in recent matches, but after three successive games without a goal, Peres might decide to sacrifice a central defender for an extra body in midfield. Domagoj Drozdek is likely to return to the starting lineup after being named on the bench for the past two games.

Who to Watch

Busan – Ryan Edwards 

Image courtesy of Busan IPark

The key to Busan’s success on Saturday could be new Australian midfielder Ryan Edwards. The 27 year-old made his debut in last Sunday’s defeat to Jeonnam, and despite being on the losing side Edwards made a favourable impression. Quick to press and full of running, Edwards tried to provide the link between midfield and attack that Busan have so missed in Kim Jin-kyu’s absence. If Busan are to win the midfield battle on Saturday, Edwards will need to put in an all-action performance. 

Ansan – Lee Sang-min 


Playmaker Lee has played every minute of Ansan’s season so far, and the 26 year-old will be key again on Saturday. Lee has three assists to his name already this year, and he also leads the team for key passes (25). If he is allowed to dictate the play this weekend, Ansan could well get their first win over Busan since October 2019.

 

Prediction

Ricardo Peres is likely to send his troops out with a more attacking mind-set in a bid to end Busan’s goalless run, but Ansan are on good form and won’t roll over easily. A draw is the most likely outcome for two sides keeping chase for the playoff spots. 

Predicted Score: Busan IPark 1-1 Ansan Greeners


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