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Preview: Ansan Greeners vs Suwon FC

High-flying Ansan Greeners welcome K League 2 strugglers, Suwon FC to the Wa~ Stadium on Sunday afternoon knowing that a single point will be enough to all but guarantee a top-four spot, that should confirm the Green Wolves place in the end of season playoffs, which would represent a remarkable feat that no one could have predicted at the start of the campaign. 

Last Time Out

FC Anyang 3-2 Ansan Greeners
 
Ansan suffered a cruel last-gasp defeat to local rivals FC Anyang at the Anyang Sports Complex last Saturday. The first period brought little goalmouth action, the highlight of which was a close-range header from ex-Houston Dynamo striker, Alex which was parried away by Lee Hee-seong. 


The encounter did spring into life after the restart however, when Japanese attacker, Ishida Masatoshi latched onto Gustavo Vintecinco’s layoff and curled home a stunner past Yang Dong-won’s despairing dive to put the Gojan outfit a goal to the good. But Masatoshi’s rocket appeared to be a timely wakeup call for the hosts, whose riposte was immediate, with Lee Jeong-bin crashing home a piledriver from distance to tie the fixture. Lim Wan-seop’s canines continued to show fine attacking verve following the equaliser though, and were rewarded for their offensive endeavour twenty minutes from time when Masatoshi got his second of the game, nodding in from Park Jin-seop’s cushioned header. 

The Green Wolves' tails were well and truly up, and it looked like there would be only one winner. But this latest installment of the ‘Line 4 derby’ took a dramatic late twist when Choi Sung-min was harshly adjudged to have brought down Jo Kyu-seong inside the Ansan box. Alex dispatched the resulting penalty in style with a Panenka spot kick to make things all square. The generous penalty award seemed to put the wind in the Violets’ sails, and Kim Hyeong-yeol’s men completed the turnaround in stoppage time with a low shot from Lee Seon-geol, who slotted beyond Hee-seong at his near post after reacting first to Manuel Palacios’ blocked attempt. 

Anyang leapfrogged the Greeners into third as a result, but only a point separates the Gyeonggi foes going into the final two matches of the regular season.

Suwon FC 0-3 Gwangju FC

As for the Green Wolves’ opponents this weekend, Suwon FC fell to a three-nil home loss to recently crowned Challenge winners, Gwangju FC at the Suwon Sports Complex. The champions opened the scoring in first-half injury time through Kim Jeong-hwan’s tap-in from Park Sun-ju’s precise ball.


Things went from bad to worse for the Castle Park team shortly after the interval when Eom Won-sang fired high into Park Hyeong-soon’s net following a fine solo run, and the three points were all sewn up with an hour gone, when Park Jin-sub’s boys put the bout out of Suwon’s reach with Kim completing his brace, volleying home Lee Huig-yun’s excellent pinpoint cross. Kim Dae-eui’s players were simply outclassed in this battle, but almost bagged a consolation through substitute, Song Soo-yeong, who beat Choi Bong-jin only to see his bending strike rebound to safety of the inside of the post. 


The Honam travelers are going up in fine fettle, while in stark contrast the Sudogwon troupe are now managerless following Kim’s resignation as gaffer this week.


Previous Meetings

Ansan were on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller the last time the Green Wolves hosted Suwon FC at the Wa~ in late May, as the visitors came away with all three points at the death. Kim Dae-eui’s men took the lead midway through the first forty-five courtesy of Cho Yu-min’s swivel and blast from Baek Seong-dong’s free-kick. However, the Greeners brought parity on the half hour mark when Lee In-jae headed home Gustavo Vintecinco’s cut back into an unguarded net, after a Jang Hyeok-jin set-piece had been kept out by Park Hyeong-soon. The away team then went back in front on the stroke of half-time following Hwang Byeong-kwon’s accurate headed finish from Jang Jun-yeong’s deep left-wing cross. The home eleven’s reply was instant though, Lee Chang-hoon leveled matters with a composed volleyed effort after expertly controlling Jang’s lofted pass. But the Castle Park club were not to be denied, despite being pegged back twice, and won it in injury time through An Byong-jun, who converted from twelve yards after Kim Yeon-soo had clumsily tangled with the North Korean international forward in the penalty zone. 

Team News

Ansan head coach, Lim is expected to recall keeper, Hwang In-jae to his starting lineup. Both Hwang and fellow goalie, Lee Hee-seong have each played seventeen league games for the Greeners this year, and Lim has a tendency to rotate the two, particularly when one has conceded more than a goal in his previous appearance.

Suwon are boosted by the return of their prolific number eleven, Chisom Egbuchulam. The Nigerian missed the Gwangju drubbing through suspension after picking up a yellow in the score draw against Seoul E-Land. Song Soo-yeong is also in contention for a starting berth, having impressed from the bench last time out. The twenty-eight-year old has recently come back to the club following the conclusion of his military conscription at Sangju Sangmu FC. 

The Adversary 

Kim Dae-eui's departure came as no surprise. Suwon FC currently find themselves in eighth and are on a six-match winless run, which has seen the Castle Park side draw three and lose three since their shock two-nil away victory at FC Anyang in mid-September. The crux of Suwon’s poor form has been their defence, having conceded on fifty-two occasions this term, only basement club, Seoul E-Land have a worse record at the back in the division in 2019.  

The goalscoring exploits of Chisom Egbuchulam had been a rare positive for Kim however, with eighteen K League 2 goals to his name this season, a record which is only presently bettered by Gwangju’s gargantuan centre-forward, Felipe, on nineteen. Ansan's centre-backs, Kim Yeon-soo and Lee In-jae will have to be at their best to keep Egbuchulam at bay on Sunday, as the race for the Challenge golden boot looks set to go down to the wire.


What to Watch

          


Lim Wan-seop’s insistence on alternating between Hwang In-jae and Lee Hee-seong between the Greeners’ sticks is causing some unrest amongst Green Wolves’ supporters. This rotation has been a constant this calendar year, and patience is wearing thin with Ansan fans, as the vast majority are in favour of Hwang being given the number one spot on a permanent basis. Both have played an identical number of league fixtures this season, seventeen each, with Lee shipping in twenty-three, and Hwang conceding only fifteen. However, such statistics have not factored into Lim’s selection decisions. Former Seongnam goalkeeper, Hwang, 6’1”, is slightly taller than Lee too, who is six foot, and also commands his defenders and penalty area in a far more convincing fashion than club skipper, Lee. The common belief of the Danwon faithful is that Lim needs to have a consistent stopper in place if the Greeners are to have any chance of reaching the latter playoff rounds.

Prediction


The Green Wolves will still be licking their wounds after the heartwrenching Anyang reversal, but will fancy their chances of bouncing back in this one against a haphazard backline. The key for Ansan will be keeping Egbuchulam quiet.

Predicted Score: Ansan Greeners 2-1 Suwon FC

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