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Preview: Suwon FC vs Bucheon FC 1995

After eight months of football, the K League 2 regular season concludes this Saturday with the 36th and final round of matches. The hosts, eight-placed Suwon FC, can only finish as high as sixth but have an opportunity to impact the promotion race just as they did last weekend. Meanwhile, fifth-placed Bucheon FC 1995 visit knowing that they need to win in order to have any chance of reaching the play-offs.

Last Time Out

Bucheon FC 1995 3-2 Seoul E-Land

Bucheon's play-off hopes seemingly faded away towards the end of the season, but a season's best three consecutive victories helped to propel them up the table and still in contention for a chance of promotion. In order to keep this chance alive Bucheon needed to win against bottom of the table Seoul E-Land, while the Jamsil side needed to win to give them a chance of avoiding finishing the season in 10th place.

In the first-half both teams looked like they were capable of scoring, though Bucheon were the most threatening. However, it was Seoul E-Land that took the lead in the 44th minute, with Kwon Ki-pyo receiving a flicked-on header and volleying a left-footed strike passed the keeper. Bucheon were not behind for long though, as in the 56th minute Cho Soo-chul controlled a wonderful Ahn Tae-hyun lob to volley in from the six-yard box. Bucheon soon found themselves in front as in the 69th minute Marlon de Jesus struck first time from a cross from the wing to drive the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. Their lead was not secure, and Seoul E-Land equalised in the 82nd minute as Kim Gyeong-joon hit a shot through the crowd of Bucheon defenders off of the left-hand post and in.

A point would have condemned both teams to their less desired fates, but Bucheon did not quit and found themselves an opportunity to take the lead in injury time with a penalty. After Lee Jung-chan was fouled in the box, Marlon stepped up to score his 10th goal of the season by confidently firing past the Seoul E-Land goalkeeper. The goal ensured that Marlon was named as Man of the Match and that he was again Bucheon's top goal scorer this season ahead of Nilson Junior. Nilson was named as Bucheon's Player of the Season at half-time, though he will no doubt be happier that this result keeps them in the hunt for a play-off place. Bucheon's goalscorers Cho and Marlon were named in the K League 2 Team of the Week, with Marlon announced as the best player in the round.

Watch highlights of the match here.


Ansan Greeners 1-2 Suwon FC

Bucheon's victory on Saturday meant that the pressure was all on Ansan Greeners as they lined up to face Suwon FC at home the following day. A win would be enough to secure fourth-place, while a draw would give them a greater chance of making the play-offs on the final day of the season. Suwon FC had little to play for, though victory would give them a chance to potentially finish as high as sixth-place at the end of the season.

Ansan thought they had made the perfect start in the fourth minute through Masatoshi Ishida's solo effort, though his goal was disallowed due to a foul in the build-up. Ansan were then given a golden opportunity to establish a lead when Choi Myung-hee was fouled in the Suwon penalty area in the 37th minute. However, the dream chance turned into a nightmare when Jang Hyuk-jin passed the ball from the spot instead of shooting, and Gustavo Vintecinco fired into the goal. The celebrations were cut short when a VAR check determined that Ansan players had entered the penalty area before Jang had touched the ball, meaning that the goal would be disallowed.

Things went from bad to worse for Vintecinco, as he was sent off in the 66th minute for a second yellow card offence. The drama continued into injury time, with three goals in three minutes. In the 93rd minute, Henri Anier gave Suwon the lead after tapping in a rebound from a shot that came off the post. Just one minute later, Masatoshi Ishida found himself in enough space in the box to poke in an equaliser for Ansan into the right-hand corner of the goal. The match was not done, however, and in the 96th minute Jang Joon-young headed in the winner for Suwon from a free-kick. This result means that Ansan have to win in their last match of the season away at Jeonnam Dragons, although their two point lead over Bucheon means that Ansan will reach the play-offs regardless of their result if Bucheon lose or draw.

Watch highlights of the match here.

Previous Meetings

Suwon slightly lead the fixture historically with 10 wins, while Bucheon has eight victories and there have been six draws. Bucheon have scored the most across all those matches, with 36 goals compared to Suwon's 34. Bucheon have been the more successful side this season, with two wins and one draw. On the opening day of the season Bucheon won 1-0 at home, thanks to a goal early in the second-half by Kim Ryun-do. This was followed by a 3-0 away win at Suwon in July, with Kim being joined by Nilson Junior and Lim Dong-hyuk on the scoresheet. A 1-1 draw occurred in the most recent match in September, with Bucheon equalising through a 77th minute Marlon de Jesus penalty after Suwon took the lead in the 17th minute via Baek Sung-dong.

The fact that Bucheon's largest result in the tie this year was away is no surprise, as they have been far more successful away from home against Suwon over the years. Out of Bucheon's eight wins over Suwon, five have happened away from home. Bucheon have also been more successful away from home this year in the league in general, with eight of their 13 wins this year coming on their travels. Considering that Bucheon need three points to have any hope for promotion, Bucheon will undoubtedly be more confident securing them at the home of their Gyeonggi province rivals, rather than at Bucheon Stadium.

Team News

Bucheon has Cho Soo-chul suspended for one match. Cho was one of the key players last weekend and has been an integral part of Bucheon's second-half of the season since returning from national service at Sangju Sangmu. The goal he scored last weekend brought Bucheon back into the match and he will be sorely missed on Saturday. This is unlikely to effect Bucheon's tactics too much as throughout their entire four game winning streak they have played in a 3-4-3 formation. This brought them a lot more success than the 4-5-1 or 3-5-2 formations that they used for the majority of the season. Nilson Junior, Kim Jae-woo, Gam Han-sol, Jang Hyun-soo, Song Hong-min, Guk Tae-jeong and Lee Kwang-jae are all a yellow card away from a suspension that could come back to haunt them in the play-offs, but the fact that their participation is not guaranteed means that the coach is unlikely to rest players for the match.

The Adversary

Suwon's Baek Sung-dong and Woo Chan-yang are suspended. Defender Woo has not played since August so is unlikely to be missed by the club, while midfielder Baek has been one of Suwon's most reliable players this season and finding someone to fill his shoes will be tough. Baek has played in every game so far this season so this is uncharted territory for the club, though the fact that Suwon have essentially nothing to play for means that the club is free to experiment with the side.

The dismissal of Suwon coach Kim Dae-hui in the week leading up to the Ansan match came as no surprise to most. After a positive first-half of the season in which the club looked like genuine promotion contenders, Suwon slumped to a dismal run of just three wins in 21 matches. Last week's victory allows Suwon the chance to end the season on a high and equal or better their seventh-placed finish from last year.

Another cause for celebration at the club would be if star striker Chisom Egbuchunam were to overtake Gwangju forward Felipe and become the K League 2 Golden Boot winner. The Nigerian is just one behind Felipe's season total of 19 goals, though there are some stats that could count against the 27 year-old. Egbuchunam has not scored in his previous three matches and Bucheon are the only club that he has failed to score against this season. While Suwon do not need Egbuchunam to score in order to win, his goals have helped secure an important 19 of their 43 points this season.


Who To Watch

Kim Ryun-do has been a regular for Bucheon all season, though over the course of the season he has repeatedly been reduced to the role of an impact sub. He has scored twice against Suwon this year, and Bucheon have won every game that he has scored in. This has not occurred since June, though, and coincidentally the opposing team was Suwon. In September he was brought back to the starting line-up up several weeks on the bench in order to play the full 90 minutes against Suwon. In this match, which ended 1-1, Kim produced one of the most incredible misses of the season, firing the ball over an open goal from four yards out in injury time.

If he had scored then Bucheon could have been in a stronger position to qualify for the play-offs coming into this final game. If the coach shows faith in Kim again and plays him against Suwon, then whether Kim has good luck on his side could be the defining feature of the match. Scoring would provide redemption for Kim, while a bad performance would ensure that this second-half of the season will remain one to forget for Kim.

Prediction

Bucheon need a win to have any chance of reaching the play-offs, have beaten Suwon twice this season, are the league's most in form team with four consecutive victories and are more successful away from home. Suwon have little to play for, are manager-less and are in one of the worst spells in their recent memory. However, they have the league's second highest goal scorer on their side and fought to the very end to win last weekend against a play-off contender. This fixture has been fairly even over the years, but Bucheon seem to have finally hit their stride and are the only team to have been able to keep Suwon's Chisom Egbuchunam at bay.

Bucheon FC 1995 2-1 Suwon FC





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