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scouting

Busan Royals look to slay the Jeonnam Dragons


Busan IPark host Jeonnam Dragons in the K League 2 on Saturday evening, looking to build momentum after their most complete performance of the season last time out. The Dragons travel east in search of their third win on the bounce, and they might fancy their chances against the league’s leakiest defence.


Match Overview

Busan IPark (7th) vs Jeonnam Dragons (2nd) 
K League 2, Round 8 
Saturday, 24th April - 18:30 KST

Recent Form

Busan IPark have been inconsistency personified so far this season, mixing defensive horror shows with glimpses of attacking class. Last Saturday they put in arguably their best performance of the season, beating bottom side Gyeongnam FC away from home thanks to goals from Choi Jun and An Byong-jun.

Coach Ricardo Peres switched to a back three for that game, and he is likely to stick with the 3-4-3 after a solid enough defensive showing. Busan have shipped 13 goals in their seven league games so far, the worst defensive record in the division, but the introduction of goalkeeper Choi Pil-su has steadied the ship somewhat for the Royals. Choi has conceded five goals in four games (1.25 goals per game), compared to the eight goals shipped by An Joon-soo in Busan’s first three games of the year (2.67 goals per game).

Jeonnam midfielder Kim Hyeon-ug
Jeonnam Dragons, meanwhile, are sitting pretty in second having lost only one game so far in 2021. They racked up their second win on the spin last weekend with a 2-1 win over Gimcheon Sangmu, courtesy of a brace from Kim Hyoen-ug. 

The Dragons have been solid defensively this season, conceding only five times in seven games, but their lack of goals could be a concern going forward; last weekend’s win was the first time Jeonnam scored more than once in a game this year.

What to Watch

The Unpredictables vs. the Steady Eddies 

Busan IPark games have been the best value for neutrals so far this season, with matches averaging three goals a game. Goals have been harder to come by in Jeonnam Dragons matches, however, with the net only bulging an average of 1.7 times per game. 

Busan keeper Choi Pil-su will need to be on top of his game on Saturday.
While Jeon Kyeong-jun’s Dragons are sure to be organised and well-drilled, it’s more difficult to predict which Busan team will show up. Will it be the sloppy, porous team that shipped goals for fun to Seoul E-Land and Chungnam Asan, or will we see more of the slick attacking football that brought wins over Gyeongnam and league leaders Daejeon? 

Much could depend on Busan captain Kim Jin-kyu, the Royals’ standout performer this year. If the Jeonnam midfield give him the time and space to dictate the game on Saturday, expect the likes of An Byong-jun and Domagoj Drozdek to see plenty of the ball around the Dragons’ penalty area. North Korean striker An currently leads the scoring charts in the second division, and Jeonnam will be well aware that he doesn’t need many chances to score.

Who to Watch

Jonathan Balotelli


Jeonnam’s new striker Jonathan Balotelli is no stranger to Gudeok Stadium. Back in 2018 he was brought in by Busan to spearhead the club to promotion; unfortunately for both club and player, Balotelli barely found his way onto the turf, let alone his way into supporters’ affections. 

The Brazilian forward looked a real talent when he did lace up his boots for Busan, scoring twice in four appearances, but reports from inside the club suggested there were few regrets when he was shipped out midway through the season. 

For Jeonnam, Balotelli has already opened his goalscoring account (albeit against minnows Daegu Cheongsol in the 11-0 FA Cup drubbing) and he played 90 minutes in the win over Gimcheon last weekend. If fit and focused, Balotelli could be a real threat for the Dragons on Saturday; one thing is for certain – the 32 year-old has a real point to prove to the Gudeok faithful.


FNR




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