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Match Recap: FC Anyang v Ansan Greeners

Ansan Greeners shook FC Anyang with a late equalizer to deliver a potentially devastating blow to Anyang's automatic promotion hopes on Saturday. The Line 4 derby was a spicy affair throughout and despite dominating possession and territory, Anyang missed a golden opportunity to close the gap on the leaders.


FC Anyang 1 - 1 Ansan Greeners

K League 2's second Line 4 Derby of 2023 ended in a drama-filled draw at Anyang Stadium. 9 stops separated these two rivals on the subway line but the biggest gap was in their league standings. Anyang, challenging for promotion, sat 22 points clear of an Ansan side that's having a desperate season near the foot of the table. 

The hosts dominated the game in terms of possession, chances created, and corners won, but were undone at the death when Ansan scored completely against the run of play. The result is, quite simply, a terrible one for Anyang who've now played a game more than their promotion rivals. For Ansan, that's 7 points collected in their last four outings, easily their best run of form this season.

The teams

Anyang went into this game on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Gimpo FC last week. They started with new signing Bruno leading the line and fellow Brazilian Yago playing down the right wing. Other new signing Ryu Seung-woo, from Suwon Bluewings, sat this one out.

Ansan Greeners, meanwhile, have picked up much needed points recently after a shocking run of form saw them in danger of dropping to the foot of the table. Two wins, at home and away, put some distance between themselves and the league's newest team, Cheonan City FC. Their own Brazilian striker, Tiago, without a goal since April, started this game on the bench.

First half

The pattern of the half from start to finish hardly deviated at all. Anyang immediately wrestled control of the ball and never relinquished, looking to use Yago's speed and trickery down the right wing. Their two machines in centre-midfield, Lee Dong-soo and Hwang Ki-wook, appeared to have more touches than the entire Ansan team in the opening 45.

Yago was a constant threat down the right wing for Anyang.
A deliberate handball just outside the box offered the hosts their first attempt at goal in the sixth minute. Yago, already the team's main creative force, bent his left-footed effort around the wall but couldn't steer it inside Lee Seung-bin's right hand post. The game's first corner arrived in the 15th minute and moments later Joo Hyeon-woo fired a shot just over. The violets were in total control of the ball but Lee hadn't been called on to make a decisive save. 

Mid-way through the half, Ansan made the first substitution of the game, with Brazilian striker Tiago replacing Shin Jae-hyeok. Kim Beom-soo had cut a frustrated figure leading the visiting attack until that moment. Tiago at least ran around a lot but he made an early exit in the second-half, continuing a difficult season.

Ansan offered absolutely nothing in attack until Kim Beom-soo found some space at the edge of the box but couldn't get his shot away. Soon after, a free kick in the Anyang half, was aimed straight at the home goalkeeper Park Seong-soo. It was that sort of half for Ansan but as long as Anyang remained toothless up front, they knew they could reach the interval level.

Yago then collected his side's first yellow card after a committing a rash tackle down the left flank. Anyang won a couple of corners but Yago's weak return pass ignited a rare Ansan break, which was ended by his late tackle. It was a classic 'one-for-the-team' yellow card.

On 41 minutes, Anyang made a double substitution. Lone striker Bruno looked to be limping as he made way off alongside Choi Seong-beom, but post-match it was confirmed he wasn't injured. Jo Seong-jeon and Gong Min-hyeon were the two men to enter the fray.

Both teams created half chances in the final minute before the referee brought an end to a largely forgettable first half.

Second half

The first goal, when it finally came, was a beauty. And worth the wait. Influential midfielder Lee Dong-soo collected a loose ball outside the Ansan's box, fed Yago, who completed the one-two with a delicious chip over the Ansan back-line. Lee swiveled and smashed it first time into the bottom right corner. 

Lee Dong-soo is congratulated by this teammates after giving Anyang a deserved lead.

The goal had been coming even if Anyang were struggling to create the sort of chances that would convince you they were genuine title challengers. 

On 77 minutes, Anyang wasted a great opportunity to make it two. After winning a free kick in midfield, a stretched Ansan defense somehow scrambled to prevent Laerico getting a shot away but when the rebound fell to Lee Dong-soo he could only head over the bar.

Yago was replaced in the 85th minute, ending an energetic and competitive outing for the right winger. 

Inexplicably, Ansan found an equalizer in the 88th minute. There seemed to be nothing on when Kim Jeong-ho received that ball just inside the Anyang half. But with the inside of his right foot, Kim played a stunning 40-yard pass over the Anyang defense, straight to the feet of replacement Yoon Ju-tae.

Yoon still had plenty to do, turning two defenders inside-out, before expertly rolling the ball into the corner. A goal from nothing but a thing of real beauty nonetheless. The Monday review won't be kind to the Anyang back-line, especially Lee Chang-yong, who was all at sea and completely unaware of Yoon's position behind him. 

The inevitable VAR delay robbed Ansan the opportunity to enjoy a proper cerebration but the goal stood. Despite enjoying just 35 percent of the possession in the opening 89 minutes, Ansan were level. The fourth official announced they had seven minutes to hold on but a few very shaky moments aside, Ansan survived. In a weird way, they'll feel they deserved this point after absorbing so much pressure for the entire game.

Against the run of play, Ansan find an equalizer in the 88th minute.

The fans

This is a marque game in Anyang's season and that was reflected in the official attendance. Their noisy home fans, behind giant banners HELL OR HIGH WATER and YOU GO WE GO made plenty of noise throughout the entire game. 

Playing in a distinctive purple color certainly helps too, as the home strip was evident on all roads leading to the stadium before kick-off. The home fans had arrived expecting three points and a continued automatic promotion push. They left disappointed. 

Ansan's small army of fans were locked away in the original stadium structure. Given how poorly their season has been thus far, it was understandable few made the short trip down Line 4 to Anyang. Like much of their season, they had very little to get excited about....until....replacement Yoon Joo-tae side footed home from the edge of the area in the 88th minute. They left delighted.

Up next

Anyang are entering must-win territory now if they are to win the division and avoid the lottery of the play-offs. They enjoy a week off before Jeonnam Dragons, revitalized after a slow start to the season, visit Anyang in two weeks' time. By the time they take the field, they'll probably have a much clearer picture of where they stand in the promotion race. 

The Wolves return home next Saturday for a meeting with mid-table Chungnam Asan FC. Ansan are unlikely to finish in any position other than 12th but a few more wins between now and the end of the season will be a good way to end a difficult year.

Attendance: 3088

Best player: Lee Dong-soo


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