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Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs Seoul E-Land

In the penultimate round of matches in the K League 2, Saturday sees two clubs in different halves of the table face each other for the final time this season. The hosts, fifth-placed Bucheon FC 1995, are in good form and know that they need to win to keep their play-off hopes alive. Visiting side Seoul E-Land, however, know that anything less than a win would confirm them as the league's bottom side.

Last Time Out

Bucheon FC 1995 3-0 Asan Mugunghwa

Bucheon came into last weekend on the back of two away wins against promotion rivals FC Anyang and Jeonnam Dragons, and they knew that another victory would see them overtake Asan into fifth-place. However, Bucheon had not yet achieved three wins in a row this season and had only been victorious at home three times all season. Despite these problems this was probably the best time to face Asan due to the weakening of their squad from the cutting of their ties to the police.

Bucheon's superior form and strength was apparent from the very beginning as they took the lead in the sixth minute. Sloppy defending from Asan lead to Cho Soo-chul getting some space in the penalty area, and the midfielder's left footed shot was deflected beyond the reach of the goalkeeper into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal. Bucheon continued to dominate and doubled their lead in the 53rd minute in quite spectacular fashion. Guk Tae-jeong, a defender on loan from Pohang Steelers, scored his first goal for Bucheon by curling in a direct free-kick from over 30 yards out. Victory was confirmed in the 64th minute, as a through ball from Marlon de Jesus allowed midfielder Gam Han-sol to run unopposed into the penalty area and fire a powerful shot across the keeper into left-hand corner of the goal. Bucheon's first two scorers Cho and Guk, alongside defender Nilson Junior, earned themselves a place in the K League 2 team of the round.

This result means that Bucheon have now achieved three consecutive victories for the first time this season and have registered a home win for the first time since June. The win against Bucheon was also their joint highest of the season, equal only to the 3-0 away victory at Suwon FC in July. Bucheon are now five points behind Ansan Greeners, who currently occupy the final promotion play-off spot. As there are only two games left Bucheon need to win their final two matches and hope Ansan fail to pick up more than a point. Their destiny may not be entirely in their hands, but by facing Seoul E-Land on Saturday Bucheon have a good opportunity to get a win and put extra pressure on Ansan.

Watch highlights of the match here.

Seoul E-Land 2-2 Daejeon Citizen

After experiencing a minor turn around in fortunes in the summer when they experienced a four match win streak, Seoul E-Land have slumped to the type of form that has plagued them all season. It has now been two months since E-Land tasted victory, and their failure to keep clean sheets despite scoring regularly means that they are six points adrift at the bottom of the table. Last Sunday they had an opportunity to close the gap as they faced the team in ninth-place, Daejeon Citizen, but they were unable to take the chance. 

Daejeon suffered the first setback when midfielder Ahn Sang-hyun picked up a red card in the 40th minute after receiving two yellow cards, but Daejeon still struck first. In the last seconds of the first-half, Brazilian midfielder Matheus Pato Antonio dribbled past four E-Land players before firing a left-footed shot on the edge the penalty area. E-Land responded well in the second-half, scoring an equaliser in the 52nd minute. An accurate corner met the head of Brazilian forward Robson Carlos Duarte, who powered in his seventh goal of the season. Shortly afterwards in the 58th minute, E-Land found themselves in front thanks to Pohang Steelers loanee Kwon Gi-pyo. The 22 year old midfielder's diving header found the roof of the net to give him his second goal of the season. This lead did not last long as Daejeon scored an equaliser in the 65th minute of the match. Brilliant passing with his fellow forwards allowed Antonio to volley home from just outside the six-yard box.

This result means that E-Land have not won in any of their last 10 matches, registering five draws and five losses in that period. Their only hope of not finishing bottom of the table is for them to win their last two matches of the season, while hoping that Daejeon lose both of theirs. As E-Land's matches are both against sides that are in the top half of the table, that would be a tough ask for such an under-performing team to pull off.

Watch highlights of the match here.

Previous Meetings

Historically Seoul E-Land have the upper hand in this fixture as they have won 10 matches, Bucheon have achieved seven victories and there have been three draws. E-Land have also scored a lot more in these matches, with 32 goals compared to Bucheon's 22. In the four times that these teams have met this season, the teams are split with two wins each and on only one occasion has a team failed to score.

The first match between the two sides this season was at Bucheon in the FA Cup in March. After finishing 1-1 at the end of the 90 minutes, E-Land came out as 3-1 winners to progress to the next round. The first league match between the two clubs in 2019 was in April, as Bucheon won 2-1 in Jamsil thanks to a brace by Kim Ryun-do. Bucheon then won a rare home match against E-Land in June as they emerged the victors in an entertaining 3-2 result. In August Bucheon became one of the victims of E-Land's surprising summertime four match winning run, falling victims to a 1-0 loss away from home thanks to a Robson Carlos Duarte goal.

The lack of draws this season suggests this this match will likely end in a win for somebody. In fact, there has never been a draw in this fixture at Bucheon Stadium. The differing forms for both sides suggests that Bucheon are the likely winners, but it is likely for E-Land to score in the process.

Team News

Bucheon have no suspensions for Saturday and will have midfielder Park Yo-han available for selection after returning from his suspension. Nilson Junior, Kim Jae-woo, Gam Han-sol, Jang Hyun-soo, Song Hong-min, Cho Soo-chul, Guk Tae-jeong and Lee Kwang-jae are all one card away from suspension but are all likely to be candidates to feature. Bucheon will probably play with the 3-4-3 formation that has served them well recently, being the preferred formation for the entirety of their current three match winning run.

As the most important two games of the season are coming up it would be unusual for the coach to experiment now, and the fact that Bucheon have access to a full strength squad lowers the chances of experimentation even further. At half-time on Saturday Bucheon will announce their player of the season, with Ahn Tae-hyun, Nilson Junior and Marlon de Jesus in the running for the title.

The Adversary

Despite the fact that Seoul E-Land have not won in ten matches, they are now two games unbeaten due to draws against Suwon and Daejeon. However, they have had problems in defence on both occasions and could be prone to concede against Bucheon. These defensive issues may possibly be balanced out by the good form of Robson Carlos Duarte and Kwon Gi-pyo. When attacking both players have produced consistently positive link-up play with one another, and could be the biggest threat for Bucheon. Out of the South Americans in the team Duarte has been starting every game, while Wesley Alex has evolved into an impact substitute as of late. These fortunes contrast with those of Douglas Coutinho, who has been absent for a number of games for seemingly unknown reasons.

The formation that coach Woo Sung-yong will use will not be known until the day, as he normally uses a 3-4-3 formation but has experimented in recent games. For example, against Daejeon he opted to play a more defensively minded 4-1-4-1 set-up. As the club have very little to play for except the possibility of ninth-place, the coach has the opportunity to either experiment more or revert to his more usual tactics. Something that will not effect his decision making is suspensions, as no players are suspended, though defender Lee Tae-ho has been prone to yellow cards recently. Six players are one yellow card away from suspension, but due to the limited number of games left in the season the coach is unlikely to worry about a future suspension. 

What To Watch

People who watch this game should not give up early if it starts out boring or if things are not going their way. Both clubs have scored the largest proportion of their goals in the last 15 minutes of the match, with 29.5% of Bucheon's goals coming in that time period. For Seoul E-Land the proportion is even higher, as they have scored 39.5% of their goals in the final 15 minutes of matches. In the three league matches between the two sides this season, nine goals have been scored and four of them have come after the 75th minute. Out of the rest, only two of them came in the first-half at all. Considering that most matches between these two teams have multiple goals, there is a good chance that at least one will occur in the dying moments of the match.

Prediction

Bucheon are in the best form they have experienced this season and have finally broken their bad luck spell at home. Seoul E-Land are unbeaten in two matches, but they have failed to win for months and boast the worst defence in the league. As much as E-Land will want to avoid finishing the season as the league's bottom side, Bucheon should come away as the victors. The chance to continue fighting for the play-offs should do wonders for their morale and confidence

Bucheon FC 1995 2-1 Seoul E-Land


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