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FA Cup Preview: Suwon FC v Busan IPark

Busan IPark, Suwon FC

Two teams in excellent league form meet this Wednesday in a much anticipated FA Cup clash, as second division side Suwon FC host the 2017 finalists Busan IPark. Todd Wilde previews a match where one team's five match unbeaten run must come to an end.

Last Time Out

Suwon FC came from behind to salvage a point at home to Chungnam Asan, as the citizen side maintained their lead at the top of the K League 2 by one point. Philip Hellquist opened the scoring for Asan with a fantastic toe poke finish from ten yards, taking advantage of some questionable defending that allowed the Swede space to run from a deep, wide position. North Korean international Anh Byong-jun netted his ninth goal of the season for Suwon soon after, his equaliser coming through a vicious left footed finish from a tight angle.

Match Highlights:

Busan IPark claimed their fourth win in five games with a dominant 2-0 victory over a toothless FC Seoul, as the Royals took revenge for their 2018 Promotion/Relegation Playoff loss. The first goal was a work of art, as Romulo's defence splitting pass found Lee Dong-jun free on the edge of the penalty area, who squared for Kwon Hyeok-kyu to score his first professional goal at 19 years of age. Lee doubled Busan's lead soon after, as he arrived late in the box to side foot home from 15 yards after excellent work from Park Jun-gang on the left wing.

Match Highlights:

Previous Meetings

Each team will be familiar with the other, as the two sides faced off four times in the second division last season. Busan defeated Suwon on three out of four occasions, outscoring the Dashers by seven goals to three. IPark have a fantastic record at the Suwon Sports Complex, winning their last three games in the Fortress City. The two sides have met on 15 occasions, with Busan claiming six victories, Suwon winning five times and the spoils shared on four occasions.

Team News

In their last FA Cup match, Suwon FC's second string scraped past the top flight's basement side Incheon United, winning 5-4 on penalties after the teams drew 2-2 in regular time. Amongst the 11 changes made by coach Kim Do-kyun was the introduction of 21 year old midfielder Jeon Jeong-ho, who scored the opening goal and has been marked out as a star of the future for the side.

Suwon are likely to give their second XI a run out again this Wednesday, particularly since coach Kim has gone on record stating that promotion to the K League 1 is Suwon FC's one and only priority this season. They should retain the same starting eleven that defeated Incheon:

Busan IPark avoided a potential banana skin as they thrashed last season's semi finalists Hwaseong FC 4-0 in the FA Cup third round. Cho Duk-jae made 11 changes as the squad's second string impressed in a relentless attacking performance. Cho experimented with a 5-2-3 formation, strongly leaning on the pace and accurate deliveries of wing backs Lee Ji-min and Lee Sang-jun. Lee Ji-seung, a winter signing from Ulsan Hyundai that never played for their first team, was excellent for Busan in central midfield.

Cho will name a second string side again, although there should be a couple of changes to the starting line up from the last FA Cup tie. Kim Seung-jun should be rested after a workmanlike display against FC Seoul, and could be replaced by youth academy graduate Song Ho-yeong. Kim Jin-kyu is an injury doubt and should be replaced by Park Jong-woo. The former Korean international was an integral member of last season's promotion winning side and is likely to be given 90 minutes as he re-builds his fitness after recovering from an ankle injury.

What To Watch

The chances of Suwon FC progressing is likely to rest on whether they take the risk to play their best players three times in a nine day stretch. If Suwon were to be aggressive and play the likes of Masatoshi Ishida and Anh Byong-jun, Busan would struggle to contain their opposition's attacking threat and relentless pace. However for Suwon's system to be successful, it requires the team's midfielders and attackers to press their opponents very high up the pitch, using a high octane approach.

Whilst this writer has no doubts that Suwon's style of play is one that would be well matched to take advantage of Busan's fragile passing and decision making out from the back, it is also one that isn't conductive to playing the same set of players three times within nine days without sufficient rest. Suwon's second string made headlines when they defeated non-league side Hyochang FC 10-0 in the second round, but they are unproven against talented top flight opposition.

Suwon FC

Suwon are building a reputation for aggressive pressing when without possession

On the other hand, Cho Duk-jae's Busan squad has added a great deal of strength in depth since last off-season, with integral players in last season's promotion run such as CB Kim Myeong-jun and GK Choi Pil-soo struggling for minutes in the K League 1. There is no need to risk IPark's key players with a winnable game against Gwangju coming up in the league this weekend, so another excellent chance will be presented for Busan's second string to push for a place in the first team.

Most notably, two foreign players that signed in January will be particularly keen to impress for the Royals. Uzbek international Dostonbek Tursunov and target man Gustavo Vintecinco have both found themselves on the fringes of Cho Duk-jae's squad despite starting the season as a first choice selection.

Whilst both players have been unfortunate to lose their places - behind experienced CB Kim Dong-woo and the undroppable striker Lee Jeong-hyeop respectively - both will need to keep working hard to impress in the limited opportunities they get in the side, proving their worth to the squad and manager Cho Duk-jae. Vintecinco in particular has been maligned by some pundits for his disappointing contribution so far this season, but he was lively and hard working against Hwaseong, deserving of his early goal and heavily involved in the team's build up play.

Vintecinco (right) will be motivated to answer his critics on Wednesday

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Confidence is high in both camps, and it is likely that both teams will go on to have a successful season regardless of what happens on Wednesday evening. However, with Suwon FC requiring a top two finish to get back into Korea's top flight, they have more of a pressing need to focus their attentions on the league, leaving the door open for Busan to build a cup run that keeps competition for places high in their talented squad.

Suwon FC 0-3 Busan IPark

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