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Preview: Asan Mugunghwa vs Gwangju FC



Despite gaining only a point from their match against Seoul E-Land in midweek, Asan Mugunghwa moved up to fourth in the K League 2 standings by virtue of the fact that Ansan Greeners lost 2-1 away against Gwangju FC, the team next on the schedule for the defending champions.  The last time the two sides met, this year's league leaders won in convincing fashion.  If Asan is going to get something from the match, they will have to play much better, but it will be difficult once again against a side which has lost only three times this season.  KLU's Branko Belan previews the upcoming match.

Match: Asan Mugunghwa vs Gwangju FC
Venue: Yi Sun Shin Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday October 6th, 2019; 17:00 KST

Last Time Out

Seoul E-Land 1-1 Asan Mugunghwa

Asan missed another opportunity for full points as they were only able to manage a draw against Seoul E-Land last time out.  Both goals were scored early in the first half, and there wasn't much to separate the sides the rest of the way, but the hosts did miss a first half penalty which would have given them the lead before the break.

Min Jun-yeong debut goal 10.01.19 Asan vs Seoul E-Land.
Asan players celebrate Min Jun-yeong's debut goal for the club against Seoul E-Land.


Asan would go into the lead just ten minutes in when they won a free kick just outside the area.  The initial hit would bound back off the wall and fall to Min Jun-yeong, who volleyed it first time into the top of the net, also making him the latest Asan player to score on his debut this season.  The lead was to be short-lived, however, as E-Land were back on level terms only six minutes later.  Robson Duarte capitalized on a defensive turnover and played Jeon Suk-hun in one-on-one with Kim Ki-hyun, who made no mistake and things went to the break as they began with the teams knotted on level terms, although the home side should have went in front before the half, but Kim Min-kyun had a penalty saved.

Both teams had their chances to win it late in the second half, but both 'keepers were up to the task, as Kim Kyung-jun and Won Ki-jong were both foiled by Lee Ki-hyun, while Park Min-seo was kept out by Kim Young-kwang, while a late review for offside kept Asan from taking all three points from the match.

Highlights: here

Gwangju FC 2-1 Ansan Greeners

Gwangju continued their quest for automatic promotion to the first division with another win at home, this time against Ansan Greeners in midweek.  All of the damage was done in the first half, as Willyan da Silva Barbosa opened the scoring already in the third minute, but Masatoshi Ishida responded one minute later for the Green Wolves.  Lim Min-hyuk would round out the scoring just past the half-hour, and it ended up being all that the front-runners would need in the end for the victory, putting them another step closer to winning the league outright.

The key numbers were very close all night, but goals on the scoreboard proved to be the difference, although both teams could have each had a few more if not for the goalposts.  In the end, Gwangju were full measure for the win and will look to build on four wins in their last five, avenging a loss to Ansan at the beginning of September in the process.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The last time these two teams met, Gwangju walked away 3-1 winners.  They have taken a possible seven of nine points from the tie this season, also winning 4-0 in the first meeting, while the second match ended in a scoreless draw.  Gwangju have traditionally been a tricky opponent for the military side.  Asan will have to play near perfect football if they are to get a result on Sunday.

Team News

The drama surrounding Asan and in particular the future of the club for next season has surfaced again, as it is still unknown if the transition to a citizen club will be completed or not.  A request was recently put in to extend the deadline for Asan as they look to put the finishing touches on the transformation, which would also allow them to contest the playoffs should they manage to maintain a spot in the top four until the end of the season.

Oh Se-hun came on as a substitute in the second half, and could not cement his presence on the match enough to help his team to victory.  He was recently selected as part of the Korean U-22 squad which will take on Uzbekistan in a pair of friendlies, so the likelihood is that Park Dong-hyuk did not want to risk him getting injured before international duty.  There is a good chance he also may not start against Gwangju on the weekend but could see action from the bench.

Yang Tae-ryeol and Kim Kyung-woo picked up yellow cards for Asan, but neither is suspended.  Lee Ki-hyung should keep his place in goal, and the usual stalwarts should also start, meaning Jang Sung-hyuk will anchor the defensive line, Park Se-jik will wear the captain's armband in midfield, and Park Min-seo and Lee Jae-gun will likely start on either flank in attack, with the decision of who the main striker will be to lead the line from the first whistle falling to either Oh or Nam Hee-cheol.

For Gwangju, Lee Jin-hyeong has started the last two matches between the sticks, leaving Yun Pyeong-gook demoted to the bench, although according to our Peter Hampshire, there hasn't been much wrong with his form over the past while.  The last two matches have also seen them start with two up top, as Kim Ju-gong was kept in the starting eleven even when Felipe returned from suspension.

Wing backs have also been inserted into the lineup over the past few games, meaning that Gwangju could be more susceptible at the back if Asan are able to hit on the counter, while Yeo Re-um has been out of the lineup lately, but could be brought back to shore up the centre of midfield.

Meanwhile, Yeo Bong-hun and Choi Jun-hyeok are both suspended, but the rest of the squad should be in contention for selection this weekend.

The Adversary

Gwangju vs Ansan 10.01.19, Lim Min-hyuk scores the winner from a free kick in the first half.
Gwangju are a step closer to automatic promotion following their win against Ansan.


Gwangju are very much looking in the driver's seat for a place in the top flight next season, which would be their first year among the elite in two years when they were directly relegated to the second division following their bottom-placed finish in 2017.  They followed it up with a disappointing season last year which saw them falter in the playoffs when the expectation was that they would be the club to gain promotion at the beginning of the season.  They struggled in the goal-scoring department, but that has not been the case this season.

Felipe continues to lead the league with seventeen goals overall, although he has cooled off a bit compared to earlier in the season when he blazed out of the gates in the first two months of the campaign.  Thankfully, however, the emergence of other players the likes of Lim Min-hyuk and Willyan da Silva Barbosa has continued to spur the team on as they look to clinch the title with time to spare.

Prediction

There hasn't been a lot to choose between the two teams this season, and it should be no surprise that Gwangju are the clear favorites going into the match.  Asan have not shown well against their opponents this weekend, and things are not expected to get much easier as Gwangju would not want to squander their opportunity to close things out following last season's disappointment, not to mention that they have had a healthy advantage atop the table for much of 2019.  A win against Asan will take them closer to their goal, and they are expected to come away winners once again.

Predicted Score: Asan Mugunghwa 1-3 Gwangju FC



  

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