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Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs Asan Mugunghwa

K League 2 Preview: Bucheon 1995 vs Asan Mugunghwa
After ten games the K League 2 table is starting to take shape and this Sunday features a match between two mid-table teams that are only separated by a point. 7th place hosts Bucheon FC 1995 will be hoping that their good luck continues after they managed to rescue a point at the death last weekend. 5th place Asan Mugunghwa are looking to return to winning ways after they were also held to a draw against one of their closest top-half rivals.

Last Time Out

For the majority of their match against FC Anyang last Sunday it looked like Bucheon FC 1995 were going to register yet another home defeat. Fresh from losing at home to Gwangju 1-0 on Wednesday, Bucheon went behind against FC Anyang in the 12th minute to a goal from Ukrainian striker Mykola Kovtalyuk. Bucheon were not deterred and controlled the majority of the possession (57%) throughout the game and matched Anyang for shots. However, with Anyang doubling their lead in the 83rd minute with a goal from young prospect Cho Kyu-sung, Bucheon would be forgiven for becoming demoralised. This was not the case, though, and Bucheon pulled one back in the 89th minute when forward Kim Ryun-do managed to squeeze in a close-range goal at the left post. As the match progressed deep into injury-time, Bucheon were rewarded for their fighting spirit with a 94th minute equaliser as Moon Ki-han powered a shot from the edge of the penalty area into the far post. Bucheon will be happy that they were able to take a point against such an in form team and will hope that this signals the beginning of a Bucheon side that do not crumble when matches begin to go against them.

Like Bucheon, Asan Mugunghwa drew last weekend with a late equaliser, albeit in slightly less dramatic fashion. The visitors Ansan Greeners took the lead in the 76th minute with a goal from their Brazilian midfielder Fauver, before Asan levelled in the 86th minute with an unfortunate own goal from the Ansan keeper Hwang In-jae. While this result is a step down from the 1-0 away win in their previous match against Daejeon Citizen, Asan will be more than happy to have avoided defeat after they lost 4 matches in a row throughout April. Asan will be hoping that their form has stabilised and they can return to the positive form that they begun the season with.

Previous Meetings

In the previous match between the two sides, Asan were victorious, registering a 3-2 win at home against Bucheon. A hat-trick by Ko Mu-yeol was the difference, although two of his goals were penalties as this was back in a period of the season when Bucheon were seemingly conceding multiple penalties in every game. An injury time Bucheon goal from An Tae-hyun ensured a tense final few minutes, but Asan held on for the win. This was back in the third round of matches and Bucheon had opened the season with two 1-0 victories at home, so this was a real test for Asan that they passed successfully.

This is not the only Asan victory against Bucheon in recent history with Asan being unbeaten in their previous five matches against their opponents on Sunday, winning four and drawing once in that period. In fact, Bucheon have to go back to September 3rd 2017 for their previous win against Asan, where they won 3-0 at home. In 2018 Asan were K League 2 champions and dominated many of the teams in the league, whereas in 2017 they finished in 3rd place, only two points above Bucheon. As the form of the two sides more closely resembles that of 2017, Bucheon will be hoping that they can put the results of 2018 behind them and tap into the spirit of the side that secured that 3-0 victory.

Team News

Back in the eighth round of matches Bucheon secured a 2-1 away against Seoul E-land, their first win since March. One of the main differences with this game was that Bucheon used a 3-5-2 formation, as opposed to the various 4-5-1 formations of most of their previous matches in the season. It may have looked that Bucheon had finally found the formations that best utilised their players. However, it was not trusted and in the following game against Gwangju, Bucheon reverted back to 4-5-1 and lost 1-0 at home. It is likely that the coach took this as a sign and he decided to try out 3-5-2 again against Anyang and defeat was avoided. As the form shows that Bucheon have been securing more points recently using the 3-5-2 formation, the biggest question mark hovering over the team is whether the coach will stick with it.

Another question is who will feature in the attack. Kim Ryun-do has been performing well and scored against Anyang, but there is no guarantee in regards to who will be joining him. Against Seoul E-land he partnered Marlon de Jesus up front, who has not scored yet this season. In the defeat to Gwangju, Kim played on the wing while Marlon unsuccessfully performed as a lone striker. Last weekend, Kim partnered Lee Kwang-jae, who was substituted in favour of Marlon at half-time. Previous matches suggest Marlon will feature in some capacity, but Bucheon have played many players up front this season so it is possible that experimentation will continue.

The Adversary


Asan only managed a draw at home to Ansan last weekend, and now find themselves in the middle of the pack in K League 2. The middle of the table has become quite congested after the last round of matches and Bucheon 1995, their opponents on Sunday afternoon only find themselves one point behind the military side.

The first time these two met this season, it finished 3-2 to Asan, but things have been a bit more difficult to navigate this season for Park Dong-hyuk’s men. The stats from the Ansan match present a bit of a perplexing story, as despite having over sixty percent of possession, they managed only five shots on target to Ansan’s seven, meaning they are not making the best of their time on the ball. A change between the sticks has seen Choi Bong-jin start each of the last two matches over Yang Hyung-mo, but it remains to be seen if the move will be a permanent one.

Cho Beom-seok has seen more playing time in the back for Asan as well recently, and has mostly performed well. Asan lined up in a 4-4-2 against Ansan, pairing Ko Mu-yeol and Oh Se-hun up top, but it did not really produce the desired results. Asan are a much more dangerous team with a single striker up front flanked by a man to either side, so again, it will be interesting to see what kind of tactics they will employ when they take the pitch against Bucheon this weekend. Considering Asan‘s good form against Bucheon last season, it would not be a stretch to expect them to get a result this weekend, but they have to make more of their possession in key areas of the pitch.

By Asan Mugunghwa correspondent Branko Belan

Who To Watch

In stark contrast to the attacking problems that have been plaguing Bucheon, Asan have scored 14 goals this season and half of them have come from their striker Ko Mu-yeol. He is the second highest goal scorer in the K League 2 and scored the winner that ended their losing streak against Daejeon. While he does prefer playing as a lone striker and their recent experimentation's with attacking partnerships have not gone down too well, Ko Mu-yeol is a talented player regardless of the formation he plays in. After his previous hat-trick against Bucheon, the hosts know the danger he possesses all too well. Expect Bucheon to focus a lot of attention on him as they seek to avoid continuing their losing ways against Asan.

Prediction

Both teams are in incredibly similar form and are close together in the table. It will be a close game regardless of the result, but if Bucheon can learn from their mistakes in the previous match against Asan they should seem themselves come away with the three points.

Bucheon FC 1995 1-0 Asan Mugunghwa

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