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scouting

Ansan Greeners vs. Suwon Samsung: Can Suwon bounce back from their Mokdong misery?

Ansan Greeners welcome Suwon Samsung Bluewings to Wa~ Stadium for a St. Patrick's Day derby in K League 2 on Sunday. Suwon will be under immense pressure to deliver a result and performance after a dramatic late defeat to Seoul E-Land in Round 2. But Ansan won't be the roll-overs some might have expected. They arrive level on points after recording a win and a draw thus far.

Match details


Match: Ansan Greeners vs. Suwon Samsung Bluewings.
Date: Sunday, March 17th, 2024. 16:30.
Venue: Ansan Wa~ Stadium. Capacity 35,000
Tickets: Interpark is the official provider of tickets at Wa~ Stadium. Prices start at ₩11,000.
How to watch: K League TV

Record so far


Ansan Greeners vs.
Gyeongnam FC (h). Lost 1-2.
Seongnam FC (a). Won 3-1.

Suwon Samsung vs.
Chungnam Asan FC (h). Won 2-1.
Seoul E-Land (a). Lost 1-2.

Ansan are ahead of Suwon having scored one goal more and boasting a better goal difference. 

Absolutely delighted to welcome Mike Brandon to this preview to give us his thoughts on Ansan Greeners' start to the season. You can follow Mike on Twitter (@mikeogc), and Instagram (@ansansfc), and check out the Ansan podcast for more content.

Nothing to fear 


The Greeners went into this season with the lowest wage bill in the league and with most of their goal-getting players having left the club. Yet the squad has thus far defied predictions that they were headed for another year of trying to avoid finishing bottom. Their opener against Gyeongnam saw Ansan dominate the opening twenty minutes, and take the lead with a debut goal from Lee Gyu-bin. They would eventually go onto the defensive, and succumb to a Gyeongnam winner in the closing minutes.

Yet the team dusted themselves off for a memorable win at the Tancheon last weekend. Taking an early lead through Kim Jae-sung, a diligent defensive display, and some clever counter-attacking football saw the Green Wolves come away 3-1 winners with a brace from Roh Kyung-ho.

Lim Kwan-sik has brought more cohesion to the side which finished 12th last season.
Lim Kwan-sik certainly seems to have got the team playing far more cohesively than the wild if entertaining displays at the back end of last season. Defense remains a question mark, but Kim Young-nam took on defensive duties at Seongnam and marshaled his side well, while Choi Han-sol has continued to demonstrate his ability to drive the midfield forward after his move up from the K4 last season. 

Fan favorite Kim Beom-su has also benefited from Ansan’s counter-attacking tactics, being given far more space and freedom to harry the opposition. Lee Jun-hee has not quite settled into looking assured between the sticks however but has been favored over veteran Lee Seung-bin since his move from Daegu. His cavalier run from his area to clear a loose ball with a diving header last weekend though, demonstrated that this Ansan team has confidence and trust from their manager.

- words by Mike Brandon!

Suwon tamed on their return to the capital


Sunday's game at Mokdong was nearing its conclusion when play was halted for a VAR check on a possible penalty. The Bluewings were piling on the pressure in search of a winning goal and a statement victory in front of their large traveling support. Kim Ju-chan's shot struck Kim Oh-kyu's arm. Furiously, the players surrounded the referee, and the entire dugout emptied. 

On the reply, it never looked like a penalty. The referee finally signaled game on but some of the Bluewings' players continued their protests. We'll never know what impact the VAR delay had in those final moments, but within 40 seconds of the resumption of play, goalkeeper Yang Hyeong-mo was stretched out on the turf because the ball was nestled in the back of his net.

Suwon were beaten. After falling behind seven minutes into the second half, Suwon completely dominated the game and deservedly equalized when Jeon Jin-woo poked home a hopeful punt into the box on 78 minutes. A draw would have been a fair result and a good point to take with them on their journey home. But they went all out for a win and were sucker-punched deep into added-on time.

If Suwon are to prevail at the weekend, they need Mulić to bring his A game to Ansan. 
Despite the setback, there were promising signs for Yeom Ki-hun's side. Fejsal Mulić was anonymous, but replacement striker Kim Hyun posed more questions of the E-Land defense and Jeon's goal came soon after his introduction. Park Sang-hyeok's unfortunate injury should mean a first league start for Kim Ju-chan; even if there's too much pressure on the 19-year-old's shoulders, playing Kim gives them more pace and an extra outlet out wide. As we saw in 2023, Kim Ju-chan is a match-winner and fans love it. The Bluewings are missing Kazuki's variety in midfield, though. With Lee Jong-sung, Kim Sang-jun, and Park Sang-hyuk starting, the midfield was crowded. Maxwell Acosty can offer more width when he returns.

A first league meeting


Two clubs separated by just 25 kilometers of Gyeonggi-do countryside meet for the first time in the league on Sunday. However, Suwon were in Wa~ Stadium last April for a 3rd Round Cup tie, running out 3-1 winners. A flurry of goals before the hour turned what had been uncomfortable viewing for the Suwon fans into a routine victory.

Noh Kyeong-ho will look to add to his season tally against a shaky Suwon rearguard.
I was there that night. The away fans groaned and grumbled their way through the first half, presumably hoping for a little Cup cheer to distract them from their troubles in K League 1. By the time the two sides met, Suwon were already in the relegation zone and never escaped. Now they are back in Ansan and, as luck would have it, they should return in exactly a month for another 3rd round Cup tie. 

Injuries and suspensions


Suwon will be without the suspended Cho Yoon-sung after the centre-back was red carded on his league debut against his former club, Chungnam Asan, in Round 1. Park Dae-won should deputize until Yoon returns. As mentioned above, Park Sang-hyuk was stretchered off in Mokdong. Even if he's fit to play, Suwon might well have changed the makeup of their front line. The away fans will be desperately hoping Kozuka Kazuki and Maxwell Acosty are fit to return this month. 

Prediction

Andrew: The pressure will be on Yeom's side to bounce back immediately against the perennial K League 2 strugglers. Another large traveling support is expected in Wa~ Stadium, but they will only show up as long as there is a reason to do so. In truth, the Bluewings simply have better players but they just need to show more of the fight, fizz, and energy from the second half of last week.

Ansan Greeners 1-2 Suwon Samsung

Can the traveling blue army inspire their team to a win this weekend? (Image: instagram.com/groundhopkoreafc)

Mike: The Bluewings’ first trip to the Wa Stadium came just under a year ago in the FA Cup, and despite going in scoreless at half time, the then K League 1 side turned the screw with 3 goals in 10 minutes, coming away 3-1 winners. This time however, the Bluewings come as a second division side and will need to go for a win given that they actually sit below Ansan in the table. One would expect they still retain quality enough to be favorites to be promoted, but the need to pick up points may well play into Lim’s tactics and Ansan may yet continue their plucky start to the season by getting a result against a side whose fans may well outnumber the home support.  

Ansan Greeners 1-1 Suwon Samsung 

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