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Preview: Chungnam Asan FC vs Seoul E-Land

Chungnam Asan FC picked up their second point of the season on Wednesday night away to Jeonnam Dragons, easing the sting somewhat of their colossal letdown against Suwon FC last weekend.  Seoul E-Land fell at home by two goals to FC Anyang after opening the season with three consecutive draws.  Both teams are still in search of their first win of the season and the hosts would like to take a step in the right direction by establishing control on their home ground.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to Sunday night's clash.

Match: Chungnam Asan FC vs Seoul E-Land
Venue: Yi Sun Shin Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday May 31st, 2020; 18:30 KST

Last Time Out

Jeonnam Dragons 1-1 Chungnam Asan FC

Despite a late flurry in search of a winner, Chungnam Asan came away from Gwangyang with a point in their midweek encounter with Jeonnam Dragons.  The first half was a stalemate as neither side was able to create anything concrete moving forward other than the odd half chance for either side.

Things would change somewhat in the second half when Asan took the lead through Lee Jae-gun just minutes after the restart.  His shot from the top of the box powered its way into the bottom corner through the legs of a defender and past the outstretched hands of Park Jun-hyuk.  Asan was not able to keep their advantage for long, however, as the Dragons found an equalizer through Ju Jung-ho, who latched onto a pass from second half substitute Julian Kristoffersen and and swept the ball past Lee Ki-hyun in the Asan goal.

Both sides would have a chance to take all three points with the match winding down.  Jeonnam worked the ball well down the right side with twelve minutes remaining and a cross was sent into the box, but  Lee was on the spot to deny Hwang Ki-wook's header.  Asan could have stolen three points in injury time when Kim Chan and Kim In-kyun combined well down the right, but it didn't amount to anything.  The match ended on a strange note as the match referee chalked off a corner for the visitors in injury time which would have been a final chance to take the win, but time had expired and the teams shared the spoils in the end.


Seoul E-Land 0-2 FC Anyang

Seoul E-Land hosted an FC Anyang side on Wednesday night which had not won through the first three rounds, while the Leopards entered the match with three draws on the spin.  Anyang could have taken the lead early as there was a handball called in the area, but after review the call was reversed.  E-Land looked good going forward in the early stages of the first half and should have been in front on twenty minutes when Kwak Seong-wook was played in on goal, but his shooting attempt went past the post.  There were few chances to speak of after that and the teams went to the break goalless.

The second half presented a different picture as the match took on a completely different character compared to the first half.  Leandro came on as a substitute to start the second half and had an immediate impact.  He slalomed through several Anyang defenders before sliding a pass through the box which eventually came to Park Seong-woo, who should have done much better with his shot at goal, which finished over the bar.

Anyang finally got into the act just before the hour mark when Maxwell Acosty took a pass and invited defenders on before powering a low strike past Kim Hyeong-keun.  The Leopards did not roll over, however, and kept going forward.  They had two chances to draw level but Won Ki-jong's shot on seventy minutes ended up the wrong side of the post and Leandro hit the post just a minute later in their next move forward.

The match was salted away when Khurshid Giyosov, the Violets new number ten was fouled in the area, then proceeded to step up and convert the penalty.  For all their good work in the attacking third, E-Land had nothing to show for it and fell to their first loss of the season.


Previous Meetings

The sides met eight times over the past two seasons during the Mugunghwa era, and the military team had an unbeaten record of six wins and two draws against their Sunday opponents from the capital.  The highlight from last season was a 3-1 victory in March thanks to goals from Oh Se-hun, Ko Mu-yeol and Park Min-seo.  The final time they met last season, it finished a 1-1 draw.

Team News

Asan can feel better about themselves following their result in midweek against Jeonnam.  Lee Jae-gun in particular has played well for them this season, as he was the lone goal scorer in midweek, but his decision to shoot at goal on the next attack ended up costing them a goal the other way as the back line did not get in position soon enough to prevent the equalizer.  Lee Ki-hyun made his first start in goal and did a good job, which could lead to more consistent playing time in the future.

Asan have been mostly consistent in terms of tactics.  It should be expected that Asan will go with two strikers up top, with one being Armin Mujakic.  The other will be one of Kim Chan, who came off the bench in midweek, or Park Min-seo.  Mujakic's transition to the K League has been coming along nicely, but he took a fair bit of abuse on Wednesday night.  Nonetheless, he should be available for selection.  Several players have made their K League debuts in recent weeks, so it will still take some time for things to come together, but once the squad starts to gel, things will likely head in a positive direction.

Seoul E-Land rotated heavily for the match against Anyang, as both Leandro and captain Kim Min-kyun were left on the bench, while Richard Sukuta-Pasu was not even named in the squad.  There are no major injuries to report; it will all come down to selection on Sunday evening.

The Adversary

Heo Beom-san vs Jeju United 05.09.20
The last time Seoul E-Land went on the road was on opening day, where they drew 1-1 with Jeju United.

The Leopards will be looking to rebound after their loss at home to Anyang, but with the knowledge of going up against an opponent who they did not fare well against over the last two years, albeit during Asan's time as a military club.

A positive from the loss against Anyang is that the team did not play poorly defensively and Kim Dong-gwon is emerging as a real talent.  He has taken on a mentor style role for U23 star Lee Sang-min in the early stages of the campaign.  However, there is a feeling that rotating this early in the season could have a very negative impact not only on the team but also on results, thus, it would be better to build chemistry with the first team sooner rather than later.

A result against Asan would go a long way in steering the team in the right direction, to give them a bit of confidence ahead of their FA Cup tie on June 6th against Changwon FC, which for all intents and purposes should be a match they are expected to win.  But, their league schedule toughens up in June when they face Daejeon Hana Citizen at home on the 13th, but then will have to travel to Bucheon at the end of the month.   

What to Watch

When on the pitch together, Won Ki-jong and Leandro make a great attacking pair, which they were able to show against Anyang despite not finding the back of the net.  Both are pacy customers who are good on the ball and have natural goal scoring ability.  If Chung Jung-yong plays both of them from the first whistle, it could create a massive amount of problems for Asan defensively.  If that is the case, Park Dong-hyuk's men could struggle much as they did against Suwon FC.

Another player who merits consideration is Lazar Arsić, who was one of the team's many acquisitions in the winter transfer window.  He has been used only sparingly this season, but according to some, the attacking midfielder should be playing more minutes.  He is still very much in the transition phase of his move to the K League, but for that transition to progress, he needs to see more time on the pitch.

KLU Patreon Prediction

On paper, Seoul E-Land have the edge based on talent and their form this season has been better overall.  They were not completely outplayed by Anyang, they just didn't take their chances well enough.  Asan, meanwhile, looked solid defensively, but if they are going to get their first win at home this season, they need to score.

In two losses on their own ground, they have not scored a single goal.  That needs to change fast, otherwise it will be a very long season.  The Leopards may just bounce back and edge this one in the end.

Predicted Score: Chungnam Asan 1-2 Seoul E-Land

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