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Preview: Busan IPark vs Seongnam FC


After finally securing their first victory of the season last weekend, Busan IPark will now look to put some distance between themselves and the bottom of the K League 1 table. Their visitors to the Gudeok Stadium this Saturday are Seongnam FC who, after a positive start to the season, have now lost four games on the bounce.

Last Time Out

Incheon United 0-1 Busan IPark

Busan IPark secured their first top-flight victory in almost five years with a hard-fought win over bottom side Incheon United last weekend. Right back Kim Moon-hwan was the hero for the Royals, scoring a stunning 30 yard screamer in the 77th minute. The late goal was enough to open up a five point gap between Busan and the bottom of the table.


Seongnam FC 0-1 Sangju Sangmu FC

Seongnam FC lost their fourth game in a row last Saturday, falling at home to Sangju Sangmu. The military team nicked the points in stoppage time, with Moon Chang-jin converting a 91st minute penalty to break Magpies hearts.



Previous Meetings

These teams last met in 2018 in the K League 2, when Seongnam finished league runners up to achieve promotion to the top tier. The Magpies finished nine points ahead of Busan that year, but the Royals had the better of the head-to-heads, winning two games to Seongnam’s one.

Seongnam were the victors the last time these sides faced off, a late Lee Hyun-il strike the only goal of the game. Busan ran out 2-0 winners the last time these teams met at the Gudeok, however, with goals from Han Ji-ho and Ko Kyung-min keeping the points in Busan.

Team News

Busan IPark have concerns over midfielder Park Jong-woo and left back Yoon Suk-young ahead of Saturday’s tie. Park has missed the last two games with a minor injury, while Yoon has not featured since the draw with Suwon Bluewings at the end of May.

If the duo miss out again, Cho Deok-jae could field a similar team to the one that prevailed over Incheon. 19 year-old Kwon Hyeok-gyu has impressed in midfield alongside Lee Gyu-seong and Romulo in the last two games, while Park Joon-gang has been filling in at left back in Yoon’s absence.

Left winger Kim Byung-oh returned from injury to feature in the second half of last weekend’s game, and he could come back into the starting lineup at the expense of Kwon Yong-hyun. Veteran keeper Kim Ho-joon started the last two games in goal, but Cho Deok-jae may decide to continue his rotation policy between the sticks, recalling either youngster Kim Jeong-ho, or last year’s number one, Choi Pil-soo.
Busan IPark lineup vs Incheon United, K League 1 - Round 8

The Adversary

After picking up eight points from their first four games, Seongnam turned a few heads with their early season performances. Four straight defeats and three games without a goal have brought the Magpies down to earth, however. Despite an impressive defensive record of seven goals conceded from eight games, Seongnam now find themselves only a point above Busan in tenth.

Despite their struggles going forward in recent games, 19 year-old forward Hong Si-hoo has been a real bright spark in the Seongnam attack, and the forward line is about to be boosted by the arrival of Na Sang-ho from FC Tokyo. The international winger is eligible to make his debut for the Magpies this weekend and could go straight into the starting lineup.

Uzbekistan international Jamshid Iskanderov is likely to be at the heart of Seongnam's play on Saturday. The midfielder will be tasked with finding a way through Busan's defence, and his probing passes could be key to Seongnam ending their goal drought.

Who To Watch

Lee Gyu-seong (left) draws a foul from Incheon midfielder Rashid Mahazi.
For Busan, few players have been as influential so far this season as Lee Gyu-seong. The bustling central midfielder is a defensive workhorse, a playmaker, and a possession spinner all in one. His positive runs from deep and line-breaking passes provide a vital outlet going forward, while his composure and efficiency in possession keep the pressure off Busan’s defence. 

Lee Gyu-seong has an impressive average passing accuracy of 86.1% so far this season, and if Busan are to dominate the midfield against Seongnam on Saturday, Lee will be key to their efforts.

Yang Dong-hyun was on Busan IPark's books for five years.
For Seongnam, one player who will be desperate to make an impact on Saturday is Yang Dong-hyun. The 34 year-old striker scored 21 goals and contributed 13 assists for Busan between 2009 and 2014, and the veteran is now a key part of Seongnam’s front line.

An instinctive finisher with 93 K League goals to his name, Yang is also the Magpies’ top scorer so far this season with three goals. If Seongnam are to end their three-game goal drought, expect Yang to be heavily involved. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t celebrate against his former club, however.

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Prediction

Busan IPark will be buoyed after their first win of the year, and they may fancy their chances at home against a team that has failed to score for three games. Seongnam’s forward line is better than the numbers suggest, however, and their stingy defence should make this an evenly matched affair that could be decided by a moment of magic.

Predicted Score: 
Busan IPark 1-1 Seongnam FC



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