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Asan Look to Capitalize Against Reeling Busan

Chungnam Asan face a struggling Busan IPark side this Saturday night at Yi Sun-shin Stadium looking to overtake their opposition in the standings.  Asan's win against Ansan Greeners last weekend has put them in a position to move up the table if they can get a win and if results elsewhere go their way.  Busan's loss to Gimcheon Sangmu was quite shocking, as they fell by a count of 6-0.  Will Asan garner momentum and get the result they need?  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Chungnam Asan vs Busan IPark
Venue: Yi Sun Shin Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday August 28th, 2021; 18:00 KST

Recent Form

Owls Seal Important Three Points Against Green Wolves

Ansan were the more aggressive team on the night but neither team could really assert themselves in the final third.  Of the thirty attempts on goal, only seven were on target.  The Green Wolves had the majority of the possession, two-thirds in fact but could not use it to their advantage.  The only breakthrough in the match came just past the quarter-hour, when Kang Soo-il scored into his own net.  

Park Se-jin floated a free kick into the box and Kang got his head to it but instead of clearing it away from goal, it turned out as a "chance" on goal which flew past Lee Hee-seong into the net.  Kim In-kyun had an opportunity to double the away side's advantage in the twenty-fifth minute but his attempt on goal flashed wide of the post.

Chungnam Asan held on for the win against the Green Wolves.
Both sides had a fair bit of the ball in the second half but lacked the finishing needed to alter the scoreline.  Ansan mounted constant pressure on their opponents but Asan defended well and Park Han-geun kept his line well.  Choi Geon-joo had the best chance to equalize in the 85th minute but his shot whistled just wide of the top corner.  Kang Soo-il could have atoned for his mistake earlier in the match when it seemed he had leveled the match late but the goal was chalked off for a handball in the area.

Busan Ship Six Against Gimcheon

Ricardo Peres will be left asking more than several questions following Busan IPark's dreadful performance against Gimcheon Sangmu last time out.  They did start brightly and could have gone in front through Kim Jin-kyu in just the fourth minute but his shot was palmed away by Gu Sung-yun.  The Gimcheon 'keeper had to be aware to deny Kim Jung-min shortly thereafter, not to be outdone, however, by Choi Pil-soo, who pulled off a double save, including denying Heo Yong-joon and it looked as if it was going to be a battle between the sticks early on.

The match completely turned when Gimcheon were awarded a penalty on twenty-one minutes and Jeong Seung-hyun converted from the spot following a clumsy challenge by Hwang Jun-ho on Seo Jin-su.  Heo Yong-joon would score his first of the match, also from the spot on 34 minutes and Park Dong-jin would add a third five minutes later to all but put the match away before halftime.

Ricardo Peres has reason to be very concerned following his team's latest performance.
Gimcheon would find the net three more times in the second half with both Heo and Park securing braces and Cho Gue-sung added the final nail in the coffin five minutes into second half stoppage time in the most dominant performance by any side in the division this year.  Despite the convincing result, Gimcheon remain only a point ahead of FC Anyang at the top of the table with Daejeon Hana Citizen lurking not far in the distance.

Team News

Chungnam Asan

It looks as though Park Han-geun has cemented himself in net for the Owls for the foreseeable future.  The match against Ansan was his ninth consecutive appearance and Asan's fortunes have begun to turn since he took over the number one role.  In those nine matches, Asan has a record of five wins, one draw, and three losses and he has collected four clean sheets over that span.  In contrast, Asan had only won four times in matches when he was on the bench this season.  His inclusion into the starting eleven has given the back line more confidence, resulting in better play and better results.

The IPark match will be a critical one as the Owls then face the top two teams in the division in September.  They welcome FC Anyang at home, then travel to Gimcheon Sangmu and round out the month again at home against playoff-chasing Jeonnam Dragons.

Kim Chan started against Ansan in the last match and has continued to struggle, as was the case last season.  He has only managed one goal and one assist in twenty appearances in 2021.  Is it time for Matheus Alves to be getting more playing time?  Kim is suspended for this weekend's match, as is Park Se-jin, so there will be alterations to the starting lineup.

Busan IPark

The good news for Busan is that the match against Asan will see the return to the lineup of Ahn Byong-jun, who missed the match against Gimcheon because of accumulated yellow cards.  Park Jeong-in might still be a doubt through injury.  

Park Jong-woo recently returned from injury but has only been used sparingly since coming back after missing the majority of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.  He then was kept out of the lineup due to concerns over his fitness before making a cameo appearance two weeks ago against Gyeongnam FC.  He played twenty-three minutes against Gimcheon but it is highly uncertain that he will play full minutes against Asan.  The more sensible approach would be to use him from the bench again until he's back to full match speed.

Kim Jeong-hyun is suspended due to card accumulation.  Kim Jung-min could move into the center of midfield and it's possible that Domagoj Drožđek returns to the starting eleven after being used as a substitute in the last round.

What to Watch

Can Asan Take Advantage of Busan's Poor Form?

Thanks to their implosion against Gimcheon, Busan have now conceded more goals (40) than any other K League 2 team this season.  The two goals from the penalty spot could have been prevented with better defensive positioning.  Choi Pil-soo was left out to dry by the men in front of him after starting the last match well but could he be a casualty this weekend and be resigned to the bench?

Asan had their problems against Ansan last week and soaked up too much pressure in the closing stages of the match.  They will not be able to do that against Busan, especially with Ahn Byong-jun likely returning to the lineup.  If Domagoj Drožđek also gets the start, then IPark will have several credible attacking options on the pitch to wreak havoc on the Owls.  

Park Dong-hyuk's men have a chance to jump up in the table, in effect, to leapfrog their opponents on Saturday night with a win.  Having already taken four out of a possible six points from thie fixture this season, they should be confident enough to get the result they need to set themselves up for the autumn portion of the schedule.

Who to Watch

Kim In-kyun - Chungnam Asan

Kim In-kyun (facing) celebrates scoring a goal with teammates.
His progress this season has been great to see, especially considering the plethora of speculation surrounding the club in recent months.  Problems off the pitch could have completely derailed the squad but they have managed to keep themselves together, and have started stringing together better results in the past while.

Kim In-kyun has been one of the constants for the side this year and the numbers are there to prove it - with six goals and one assist thus far, he has been one of the team's most consistent performers and would love nothing more than to get back among the goals again since scoring twice against Seoul E-Land in a 3-1 win on August 7th.


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