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Preview: Suwon FC vs Bucheon FC 1995

The fifth round of matches is upon us and this Sunday features an early six-pointer between two teams fighting for promotion. The hosts, second-place Suwon FC, are the top scorers in the league and have scored eight goals in their last two matches. Third-place visitors Bucheon FC 1995, meanwhile, have only conceded twice this season and will be looking to bounce back from their recent derby defeat.

Last Time Out

Bucheon FC 1995 0-1 Jeju United

Bucheon came into Tuesday night's match with the only 100 percent record in the league, as well as the support of most footballing neutrals, in their match against Jeju United. Unfortunately the 14 year wait for these two sides to meet ended in defeat for Bucheon, and left them eventually falling from first to third place in the table. Jeju had 59 percent of the possession and were more accurate on target, as both teams had five shots but Jeju put four on target compared to Bucheon's one. The only thing that Bucheon were able to get out of the match were three yellow cards as Guk Tae-jung, Kim Young-nam, and Lee Jung-chan were all booked in the last 15 minutes of the match.

Bucheon looked like they had done enough to earn themselves a point, but in the second of three minutes of injury-time Kim Yeong-uk delivered a perfect cross from the right-wing that was met by a powerful header from Joo Min-kyu. This gave Jeju their first win of the season, and lead to Bucheon manager Song Sun-ho to admit that what they prepared did not go well and they "lacked strength after the beginning of the second half."

Highlights of the match can be viewed here.

Suwon FC 3-1 Gyeongnam FC

After starting the season with a close defeat to now top of the table Daejeon Hana Citizen, Suwon had won two games in a row going into the match on Wednesday night. Gyeongnam themselves had a mixed bag of previous performances, with two draws and a win, but a series of defensive errors would gift Suwon a deserved win and leave Gyeongnam sitting in fifth-place. The first came in the 37th minute as Gyeongnam goalkeeper Song Jung-hyun decided to pass a short goal-kick to his defender Lee Kwang-sun. The ball was then immediately passed back to Song who was caught off-guard and tackled by Suwon's An Byong-jun, which lead to the ball spilling to Masatoshi Ishida for a simple tap-in. Despite having multiple chances Suwon would have to wait until the 51st minute to double their lead, as An Byong-jun dispatched a penalty that was given due to a foul on winger Han Jung-uh.

Just four minutes later, Gyeongnam had their own penalty kick given due to a foul, but Baek Sung-dong's effort was saved by Suwon goalkeeper Yoo Hyun. This undoubtedly changed the course of the game, as in the 62nd minute Suwon scored their third and final goal, courtesy of Masatoshi Ishida's second of the match. A defensive mix up between two Gyeongnam defenders after a long ball allowed the Japanese forward to gain possession in the penalty area and calmly slot the ball in for his third goal of the season. Gyeongnam were able to pull one goal back in the 74th minute, as a lovely sequence of passes cut through the Suwon defence and allowed substitute Hwang Il-su to go round the keeper and fire a shot into the bottom corner. Both teams had multiple chances to score in the final 15 minutes of the match but the score stayed at 3-1, allowing Suwon to overtake Bucheon due to goals scored.

Highlights of the match can be viewed here.

Previous Meetings

Suwon slightly edge things in terms of previous performances overall as they have won 10 times, Bucheon have won nine times, and there have been six draws. Interestingly, because five of those draws have occurred at Bucheon both teams can say that they prefer playing at Suwon, as they both have won six of their victories each at Suwon's home stadium. Bucheon have scored the most goals in the fixture with 38 compared to Suwon's 35. While Suwon dominated things early on, Bucheon have been catching up in the last two seasons. In 2018 Bucheon won three times and lost once, and in 2019 Bucheon won three times and drew once. The last time that Suwon scored more than once in a fixture was in a 2-0 win back in August 2018, whereas Bucheon have achieved that on three occasions since then.

Team News

There are now six Bucheon players sitting on one yellow card each, but are a long way from reaching the five yellow cards necessary for suspension. There are also no injuries to report so the manager Song Sun-ho has a full strength squad to choose from, however, it may make sense for him to begin rotating some of his starting line-up. On Tuesday he named an unchanged starting eleven from the game on the previous Saturday, and everyone in that line-up had started three or four games in total this season. While this proves that he has faith in his key players, it also means there may be some problems with depth in the squad.

Playing the same team in consecutive matches is fine if there is only one match a week, but the Suwon game will be Bucheon's third in eight days. The manager has to make a tough choice of either gambling with unknown players in an incredibly important game, or risk playing fatigued players that could more easily succumb to injury. Also, on Tuesday night Bucheon played in a 3-5-2 formation for the first time this season. As that match resulted in their first loss, the manager also needs to think about whether to stick with it or revert back to a 4-5-1 or 3-4-3 formation.

The Adversary

Suwon have five players on one yellow card each, so nowhere near suspension yet, and similarly to Bucheon they also have no injury concerns. After starting the season by playing 4-2-3-1 in three consecutive matches, Suwon started the Gyeongnam match in a 4-4-2 formation, allowing An Byong-jun and Masatoshi Ishida to work together in a more equal partnership. The main dilemma for the team is the same as Bucheon's and that is deciding whether their should be any rotation among regular starters? Suwon have been dominant in their last two matches, but will three matches in seven days prove to be too much? As this week's previous matches were the first midweek games of the season, the coaching staff will be unsure as to who will be most effected by the fatigue, especially among the new signings.

What To Watch

The battle between Suwon's attack and Bucheon's defence will be key. Suwon have scored a league best 11 goals in four matches, three ahead of their closest rivals Daejeon. Bucheon have scored five goals but they have only conceded twice, which is the second best in the league after fourth place Jeonnam Dragons. If Bucheon can resist Suwon's attacks then Suwon will have to be wary that they do not fall behind to one of Bucheon's customary late goals. Three of Bucheon's five goals this season have come after the 88th minute, and it was a reputation that they built for themselves last season after scoring many crucial goals at the death. However, their mental strength may have taken a knock due to conceding so late against Jeju. As Suwon's self-belief is likely at an all time high, coupled with their attacking ability Suwon could have a fun time if Bucheon are not careful.



Both teams will have tired players after the recent batch of matches and slightly weaker players may be rotated into the squad. Bucheon have done better in recent history, but both teams look very different to their incarnations in previous seasons. Despite Bucheon's best efforts Suwon are likely to score, but they will have their attacking threat reduced due to Bucheon's defensive capabilities. Both teams need the win, but that might cause them to achieve a draw.

Suwon FC 1-1 Bucheon FC 1995

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