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Preview: Chungnam Asan FC vs Jeju United

Chungnam Asan FC are still in search of their first win of the season following their draw against FC Anyang last weekend.  The good news is that Philip Hellquist finally made his first appearance this season for the club, and could be a good bet to be in the starting eleven against the islanders on Saturday.  Jeju United meanwhile, have won four matches in a row following their nailbiting 1-0 success at home against Suwon FC, a result which sees them move up to third in the table and now only two points off the summit.  KLU's Branko Belan previews the upcoming K League 2 clash.

Match: Chungnam Asan FC vs Jeju United
Venue: Yi Sun Shin Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday June 20th, 2020; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

FC Anyang 1-1 Chungnam Asan FC

Asan earned their third point of the season with a draw away to FC Anyang.  Things got off to a good start as the Owls went in front after just twelve minutes.  Kim Jong-guk floated a free kick into the area that was latched on to by Lee Sang-min, whose volley found its way past Jeong Min-ki.  Other than a save on 28 minutes from Ham Seok-min to deny Ha Nam and preserve the advantage there was little else to speak of in the first half and the visitors led at the break.

The second half would present a different story as Anyang would find their way back into the match.  They went forward with much more purpose and could have been level on the hour, but Koo Bon-hyeok's attempt from just outside the area flashed past the post.  Parity would be restored seven minutes later when the ball came out to Lee Seon-geol on the left side after Ham had made a save for Asan, and the Violets' number nineteen decided to have a go himself, unleashing a strike which found the corner of the net to even the match at one.

Nilson Junior could have completely turned the result just minutes later, but his long range effort struck the woodwork.  Anyang could have won it late through Maurides, who came on as a second half substitute, but his effort in close was kept out by the feet of Ham and the match finished with both teams taking a share of the spoils.


Jeju United 1-0 Suwon FC

Jeju United continued their winning ways, scraping out a hard-fought victory against the highest scoring club in the second division.  Heading into the encounter, much was drummed up about the head to head between two of the top scorers in K2 in Joo Min-kyu and An Byoung-jun, but the match would be decided by another man.

Suwon came out flying, but could not hit the target.  It would be Jeju who would take the lead after a quarter of an hour.  A cross was floated in from the left and was met by the head of Kim Young-wook, the ball flying into the bottom corner past the outstretched hands of Yoo Hyeon.  After the goal, Suwon poured forward relentlessly in search of an equalizer and might have had one if not for the goalkeeping masterclass of Oh Seung-hoon, who made a pair of critical saves to ensure the islanders went to the break in front.

The second half was very much dominated by Suwon possession-wise, and things got physical as well, as the referee had to reach into his pocket on a number of occasions.  The visitors could have snatched a point late, but a volleyed attempt was kept out by the islanders' 'keeper, then deflected off the bar and headed away for a corner.  The win leapfrogged Jeju into third in the table, and they now sit just two points off the summit.


Team News

The match against Anyang saw the season debut of Philip Hellquist, who came on as a substitute in the second half, and earned a yellow card for a rash challenge in the closing stages of the match.  Armin Mujakic was held out of the squad after getting considerably bruised up in the FA Cup encounter against Jeonju Citizen.  He was replaced in the starting eleven by Kim Chan, who has shown some promise in spurts this season, but who needs to work on his finishing to become a more effective player.

Should he be ready to go this weekend, it could be the first time that Asan will be able to field both of their foreigners on the pitch at the same time.  Ham Seok-min has continued to impress between the sticks, but the defensive contingent in front of him needs to tighten up their marking and make his penalty area more secure.  He simply cannot be expected to be the team's saving grace week in and week out.

"I was satisfied with the first half, and we managed to score the first goal of the match, but in the second half, defending became a bit more difficult and we had to settle for a draw," Park Dong-hyuk said after the match.

Lee Sang-min, on loan from Ulsan Hyundai, scored on his starting debut for the club.

"I scored my debut goal in my first league start.  It would have been better to win the match.  I want to be a player who contributes to the team when I get a chance to play.  Our goal is to win matches, but we are still without a win this season.  We need to start winning soon," he concluded.  

There are no suspensions in the side, and barring any injuries in training this week, it is expected that the strongest possible side will be selected.

The match against Suwon marked the league debut for Valentinos Sielis, who made his first start for the club in the FA Cup against Songwol the previous weekend.  He looked very stable at the back and was key down the stretch in helping Jeju preserve a narrow victory.  It seems he is back to full health after his injury concerns to begin the campaign, and will be a key man for the club moving forward.

It seems that Jeju is finally starting to find some continuity in terms of their tactical setup, at least in terms of personnel (they lined up in a 4-1-4-1 against Suwon as opposed to a 3-4-3) and can now start to solidify their starting eleven with players coming back to full strength, with the exception of Elias Aguilar, who may still be a bit of a concern for this weekend.  Baek Dong-gyu did take a bit of a knock in the second half against Suwon and was substituted, but it did not look like a major injury at first glance and he should still be considered for the squad this weekend.

Nam Ki-il is not expected to change much in terms of the lineup.  Lee Dong-ryul started as the U22 against Suwon, and may get the call again this weekend.  If not, there is a good chance the responsibility will fall to Lim Deok-keun.

The Adversary

Kang Yun-sung vs Ansan Greeners 05.31.20
Kang Yun-sung scored a late winner for Jeju in their away win against Ansan Greeners at the end of May.

Jeju are really starting to come together as a squad.  Nam Ki-il's influence is starting to penetrate through the team, as they have now rolled off four consecutive victories across both the league and cup.  They are finally starting to live up to expectations that they could indeed be a strong candidate for automatic promotion come the end of the season, but they still have to remain consistent and continue to beat the teams they are expected to beat.

Suwon was a very good test for them as they came up against a very confident side who has terrified opposing defenses this season, but the islanders' back four of Jung Woo-jae, Sielis, Kwon Han-jin and Park Won-jae, along with Baek Dong-gyu in a defensive midfield role, were up to the task of stymying the league's most potent offense.  It also helped that Oh Seung-hoon had perhaps his best performance for the club since joining in the summer last season, and if that is the type of form he is going to display moving forward, Jeju can be very confident in the man they have between the sticks.

A win against Asan is necessary with an important match at home to Gyeongnam FC on the 28th before they face off against Seoul E-Land in the third round of the FA Cup three days later.  Sustained momentum will be key for them going forward.

What to Watch

Jeju have not made things particularly easy for themselves, leaving it late against Bucheon and Ansan and then having to hold on against Suwon in their last three league matches.  They are winning the hard way, and that could serve them well in the long run, but they need to let their football flow a lot better.  They have proven to have the killer instinct to pull matches out, but sooner or later, their luck may run out on them.  They need to learn to put teams away if in fact they are going to be in the conversation for promotion come the end of the season.

They must guard against becoming predictable and relying on their defenders to bail them out of matches.  Joo Min-kyu has been nothing short of sensational for them and has shown his capability to be a number one striker, but it would help if the goal scoring load was spread a bit more through the team.  Jeju should not use the match against Asan as an excuse to experiment - they need to cement how they intend to approach matches moving forward and put faith in their midfield.  They have done well to combine wing play with attacking through the middle, but have to take their chances better in front of goal.



Jeju certainly have the talent and quality to get all three points from their first ever trip to Asan, and the expectation is that they will stretch their current win streak to five matches.  Asan looked very good in the first half of their match with Anyang last week, but the pressure of securing a first win of the season got to them in the latter stages of the match and they had to settle for yet another draw in the end.  With a step up in the quality of opposition this week, the general consensus is that they may have to wait for their match against Ansan at the end of the month for a chance at their first victory.

Predicted Score: Chungnam Asan FC 0-2 Jeju United

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