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Chungnam Asan Look to Halt Three Match Slide Against Jeonnam

Chungnam Asan head into the weekend losers of their past three league matches with their playoff hopes now quickly fading as they host Jeonnam Dragons, who have a very realistic chance of making the knockout format at the end of the season.  The Dragons have also lost their last two matches and a win for confidence would serve them well although they do currently have a considerable cushion on Busan IPark in fifth.  In the previous three encounters this year, both sides have won once and one match has ended in a draw.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Chungnam Asan vs Jeonnam Dragons
Venue: Yi Sun-shin Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday September 26th, 2021; 18:30 KST

Recent Form

Owls Look to Derail Skid

Chungnam Asan have lost each of their last three matches and it looks highly questionable that they will be able to recover with just a few matches left until the end of the campaign.  Not only have they lost their past three matches to Ansan Greeners, Gimcheon Sangmu, and FC Anyang, they failed to score a single goal in all of those losses.  While the latter two are currently fighting it out for the division title and automatic promotion, the match against Ansan last weekend was a winnable fixture and they failed to take advantage of the opportunity.

Asan have lost three consecutive matches.
They will have a difficult stretch to close out the year, as matches against Busan IPark and Daejeon Hana Citizen await them, while their final two matches against Bucheon FC 1995 and Seoul E-Land can't be considered guarantees based on their current form.  With Jeonnam also jockeying for playoff position, this weekend's test will be no easy task despite the fact that the Owls won the last meeting between the two teams by a convincing three goal margin.

Dragons Look to Stay Within Touching Distance

Jeonnam have also lost their last two matches but still have built enough of a convincing lead to be favorites to finish in the top four at the end of the season.  They are still very much within shouting distance of third and the chance to host a playoff match in Gwangyang, so that should be a point of motivation as they look to claim maximum points in the rubber match against Asan this weekend.

Bucheon staged a second half comeback to take all three points against Jeonnam.
They most recently suffered back-to-back 2-1 losses to Daejeon Hana Citizen and Bucheon FC 1995, so they will be looking to rebound and find the net with a bit more regularity in the matches to come.  They had the majority of possession against Bucheon and took a 15th minute lead through Samuel Nnamani but only managed two shots on target for the duration of the match.  Two second half goals inside the final quarter of an hour turned the result as Han Ji-ho scored from the penalty spot and Park Chang-jun, one of the best players in K League 2 this season, sealed the points with a goal in the 90th minute.

If Jeonnam want to keep their advantage ahead of their rivals over the final stretch, they cannot allow themselves to be complacent in the latter stages of matches if they want to stay where they are in the table.

Team News

Chungnam Asan

Park Han-geun played very well despite the loss to Ansan last weekend as he made several saves to keep the deficit at the final to just a single goal.  It is no secret that Asan's fortunes began to turn once he joined the club but he cannot be the only player on the pitch to put in a performance while the men in front of him come up short in fulfilling their responsibilities.  

The loss of Yoo Jun-soo to suspension for Sunday's match will not help matters much.  He picked up a yellow card last time out and will miss this round due to an accumulation of too many cautions.  He has been one of the team's best players this year and his presence will be missed.

Park Dong-hyuk lamented the final result against Ansan, saying that the early conceded goal put the team out of rhythm, owing particularly to their frantic approach going forward in an attempt to level proceedings.  Despite having several chances from set pieces, the players lost their focus and the overall play became disjointed.  The manager vowed for better results in the coming match.

Jeonnam Dragons

Jeonnam started all four of their foreign players in the last match against Bucheon, with the entire attack consisting of Jonathan Balotelli, Alex Ferreira, and Samuel Nnamani.  Alex in particular has had a fairly inconsistent season, as he missed a stretch of time from the end of May to mid-August and has now just seen his minutes increased, although he has only played a full ninety minutes twice since returning to the lineup.  It would be foolish to be experimenting now with attacking options but the team, unfortunately, doesn't seem to have a choice as the Dragons have scored only 31 goals in thirty matches this year.

Jeonnam have traditionally had difficulty finding the back of the net consistently in recent years, so the hope is that with an all-foreign forward line, that will begin to change in the matches that remain on their schedule. 

The recent return of Oleg Zoteev, who missed the majority of the summer with a shinbone injury, should give them depth both in defense and moving forward on the wing as he has shown in the past that he can contribute offensively with balls into the box.  If the forwards can get in sync, the Uzbek international could be an important factor to a late season resurgence.

What to Watch

Can Asan Avoid Early Mistakes?

Canhoto's early marker was enough to give the Green Wolves the win.
An early mistake cost Asan a chance at victory last weekend and has been a recurring theme in many of their losses this year.  How they open the first fifteen minutes of the match against Jeonnam likely could dictate how they approach the match thereafter at both ends of the pitch.

As manager Park Dong-hyuk alluded to in his remarks following the Ansan match, the preparation had been done well but the team could not adjust themselves well enough after falling behind early.  They will have to minimize errors as much as possible if they are to come away with a result.  Finding the first goal could be critical for them but, as has been the case on several occasions in the past two campaigns, it seems Kim Chan is not the answer for them up front and the manager will have to look at different options.

Asan finished last season poorly as a result of failing to score goals and that simply cannot be the case again this time around.

Who to Watch

Kim Da-sol - Jeonnam Dragons

Kim Da-sol has been rotating with Park Jun-hyuk this year in the Jeonnam goal but has still made eighteen starts with eight clean sheets.  He has started all three matches against Asan this year and is likely to get the call once again with Jeonnam looking to have the advantage heading into the weekend in terms of getting a result.  It would be a chance at redemption for himself as well as he was the goalkeeper on record the last time the teams met, a lopsided loss for the Dragons.

With the season slowly drawing to a close, and with the club having something to play for, it is a good bet that his experience may be a factor in him getting a few more starts down the stretch but it doesn't necessarily mean that he will be the only goalkeeper in the picture.  Nonetheless, he should be the favorite to be between the sticks this weekend as Jeonnam look to secure all three points.

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