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FA Cup Preview: Busan IPark v Hwaseong FC

Busan IPark
2017 finalists Busan IPark enter the KEB Hana Bank FA Cup with a potential banana skin against giant killers Hwaseong FC, last year's semi finalists that are currently flying high in the Korean third division. Todd Wilde previews this FA Cup third round clash.

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Busan IPark fought back from a goal behind to salvage a point against a Seongnam FC side that had two men sent off. Park Jun-gang put his side behind in the ninth minute, as he back heeled the ball into his own net whilst attempting to clear his lines. Rômulo levelled the score at 1-1 with a trademark long range curling shot into the bottom right hand corner, midway through the second half.

Busan were dominant in possession and had plenty of opportunities to score a second, but Seongnam were defiant and well organised defensively, holding on for a point despite going down to nine men for the final ten minutes. Busan registered their fifth draw of the season to drop to 11th in the K League 1 table, however now have a six point cushion over Incheon United, who occupy the relegation spot.

Match Highlights:

Hwaseong came from behind to take all three points in a spirited display away at Pyeongtaek Citizen. Pyeongtaek took the lead just before half time, as Hong Chang-oh shuffled the ball into space and powered a left footed drive into the top right corner from 35 yards out. Hwaseong's response after half time was immediate, as midfielder Jo Yeong-jin's late run into the box met a short pass from Kim Reo on the wing first time, slotting into the bottom right corner.

Hwaseong built up pressure throughout the half, as Park Tae-woong hit the ball from a free kick then went close once again from range, before Kim Hyun secured the win late on with a composed finish from ten yards out. Hwaseong move up to 5th in the K3 League, the highest placed side from last season's K League 3 (the top four made up of former National League sides) in this season's third division.

Match Highlights:

Previous FA Cup History

Busan IPark have won the FA Cup once under their former name of 'Busan I'Cons', as they defeated Bucheon SK on penalties in December 2004. After a period of relative success in the 1990s and early 2000s, this would be the last time Busan fans would celebrate victory as the club began a run of 16 years without silverware. IPark were beaten finalists in 2010 and 2017, a cup run which famously saw the then K League 2 side knock out four first division sides before succuming to Ulsan Hyundai in the final.

Hwaseong FC were only founded in 2013 but had their most successful year in 2019, winning the final year of the K League 3 Advanced (before the league system was realigned this season), whilst going on a giant killing run to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. The Oranges knocked out K League 2 Ansan and K League 1 Gyeongnam on their way to a two-legged encounter with Korean giants Suwon Samsung Bluewings. Incredibly, the men in orange won the first leg at home 1-0 through Moon Jun-ho's strike, and were agonisingly only beaten in extra time of the second leg, as Yeom Ki-hun scored a hat trick to rescue Suwon's season and Lee Lim-saeng's managerial career.

Team News

Cho Duk-jae is likely to ring the changes for this Hana Bank FA Cup tie, giving his first XI a breather and a chance for Busan's fringe players to stake their claim in the side. Several players that have featured this season are likely to be given a chance, including young goalkeeper Kim Jeong-ho, Korea youth international Lee Sang-joon and winter signing Gustavo Vintecinco.

Kim Seung-jun was signed from Gyeongnam on Tuesday as part of a swap deal that saw long serving winger Han Ji-ho leave the other way. Kim could feature off the bench on Wednesday, and will likely be asked to feed off Vintecinco's movement in the box as an outlet in the vertical channels.

Winter signings Kim Jeong-hyun and Lee Ji-min should make their full debuts for Busan, whilst Park Jong-woo, Kim Dong-woo and Yun Suk-young are all injury doubts.

Hwaseong are likely to name an unchanged side from their 2-1 defeat of Pyeongtaek. Notable names in their starting line up include Choi Chi-won, who was used sparingly by Gangwon FC in the K League 1 last season, Kim Won-min, who made 117 appearances for K League 2 Anyang in the past five seasons, and Kim Dong-suk, an AFC Champions League winner with Ulsan Hyundai in 2012.

Unusually for a Korean third division side, Hwaseong possess a Niger international in Olivier Bonnes, formerly a regular starter in the 2017 Gwangju side relegated from K League 1, and the 2018 Seongnam side promoted from K League 2.

What To Watch

This is the first competitive encounter between the two sides, and an interesting test for IPark manager Cho Duk-jae, with murmurings of criticism coming from some Busan fans for his side's industrious and uninspiring attacking play. Cho has been criticised for his one dimensional tactics against Seongnam, as a succession of predictable aerial crosses were batted away by the Magpies, whilst the side heavily leaned on their talismanic midfielder Rômulo to unlock the opposition's back line.

Whilst there is no doubt Cho has achieved what he was required to deliver in getting Busan promoted to the K League 1, the talent within the squad arguably deserves a better result than 11th place in the table. This FA Cup clash is likely to be the last game played behind closed doors before the arrival of FC Seoul next Friday, which will offer a chance for supporters to finally show their happiness or disgust at the side's performances. A loss could make Cho more unpopular amongst the fanbase.

Kim Jin-kyu
 Kim Jin-kyu has been out of favour for Busan in 2020

This situation offers a great chance for fringe players to shine, especially Kim Jin-kyu, who has been one of Busan's best performers in recent years. The 23 year old is no longer an automatic selection in the IPark side after the emergence of 19 year old Kwon Hyeok-kyu, but is arguably Busan's best central creative outlet. His absence partially explains why IPark has struggled to link their midfield with their attack at the start of this season, given he was so important in fulfilling this role in 2019.

This game will be keenly observed to see what role new winter signings Jonatan Reis and Gustovo Vintencino play this Wednesday. Somewhat surprisingly (and damningly), young centre back Park Ho-young was brought on as a target man at half time against Seongnam, with Vintecinco only introduced for the final five minutes. If either player does not start on Wednesday, it may spell the end of their time on the South Coast, with Pohang Steelers winger Manuel Palacios heavily linked with a loan move to the Royals.

Kim Dong-suk
Hwaseong's Kim Dong-suk, playing for Incheon United in July 2017

As for Hwaseong, one feature of their play this season has been their patient build up, playing smooth and slick passing through the centre of the pitch into wide areas of the final third, looking to create space for a striker or late arriving midfielder to shoot within the box. They will hope they are given plenty of time on the ball in possession, something Busan has typically not tolerated in the K League 1 this season.

Kim Dong-suk has a wealth of experience at the highest level, most recently playing for Incheon United in the K League 1, and so will offer a stern challenge to Busan's young attackers, whilst fellow midfield veteran Park Tae-woong is likely to be Hwaseong's most important player. The former Suwon Bluewings and Gangwon FC midfielder possesses a wicked right foot, capable of stretching the opposition and finding his own players in space, whilst he is extremely dangerous when given space to shoot from range and at dead ball situations.

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With Busan's attention firmly focused on survival in the K League 1, Hwaseong have a fantastic opportunity to upset the odds once again. The K3 League side will go into this game with a mentality of having nothing to lose, and chance to gain national exposure with a second consecutive cup run. This writer believes that IPark will not want the distraction or commitment of extra games to go on a cup run, and the K League 1 side will make an early exit.

Busan IPark 1-2 Hwaseong FC

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