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Preview: 2021 K League 2 Round 25

league 2021.08.12   I   hits 1598

Spread across the three-day weekend in South Korea, all 10 Hana 1Q K League 2 teams will take to the field looking to pick up positive as the 2021 campaign reaches Round 25. The third Nakdong River Derby of the season between Gyeongnam FC and Busan IPark will take place at Changwon Football Center on Monday night, after Daejeon Hana Citizen make the trip to the Wa~ to take on Ansan Greeners on Sunday, and Bucheon FC 1995 and Han Ji-ho take on league leaders Gimcheon Sangmu.

Match of the Round

Gyeongnam FC (6th) vs Busan IPark (5th) - Mon. 16th Aug. 19:30 KST

The third edition of the Nakdong River Derby in 2021 sees Gyeongnam FC in sixth host rivals Busan IPark in fifth next Monday night. The two previous meetings this term yielded eight goals with a five-goal thriller in June being won by Gyeongnam. On that occasion, Seol Ki-hyun's men battled back from 2-0 down and scored two in the last eight minutes including a 90th minute winner by Willyan. The first of 2021, a 2-1 Busan win, was the first since the 2019 Promotion/Relegation Playoff Final which saw Busan IPark earn a long-awaited return to the top flight which, in the process, resulted in Gyeongnam falling through the trap door.

Monday's hosts Gyeongnam FC are unbeaten in their last two and have since moved up to sixth in the table and within just two points of Busan IPark. The Royals, meanwhile, have just one win in their last five and will know that a defeat would see their rivals leapfrog them in the table. Busan are the league's top scorers with 33 goals, Gyeongnam meanwhile have showed the best xG (expected goals) in K League 2 thus far at 40.97. The two sides sit in the top three in terms of possession too with Busan having had 52.4% (3rd) and Gyeongnam 54.5% (2nd). Busan will be without Ryan Edwards who was sent off against FC Anyang last time out. Manager Ricardo Peres will serve a touchline ban after remonstrating with officials in the same game. 

Team of the Round

Daejeon Hana Citizen (vs. Ansan Greeners)

Daejeon Hana Citizen's 0-0 draw with Jeonnam Dragons last Saturday extended their unbeaten run to four matches. The Purples now sit third in the table and just three points behind league leaders Gimcheon Sangmu. The Purples' unbeaten run began on July 18th, a 2-1 away win over then league leaders FC Anyang. Since then, Daejeon have ranked third for goals scored with six, third for shots, shorts on target and shots made per 90 minutes, second for key passes. Defensively, though, Daejeon have conceded the second fewest goals with just two, only Gimcheon have a better record with no goals conceded during that time. The Purples are first for interceptions, tackles, and blocks. Up next for Daejeon is an away fixture with Ansan Greeners, a side which was on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller last time out, losing 4-3 to Bucheon despite a late fight back. The results leaves the Green Wolves on a run of just one win in their last five with 11 conceded. Ansan won the first meeting between these two teams of 2021 but Daejeon had won the four previous encounters.

Player of the Round

Han Ji-ho (Bucheon FC 1995)

Han Ji-ho had a very eventful 90 plus minutes on Sunday when Bucheon FC 1995 picked up a first win in seven matches in the 4-3 thriller at home to Ansan Greeners. Han scored the Reds' first of the evening for what was his first for the club and first since September last year. The former Busan and Gyeongnam forward also had a hand in the Guk Tae-jeong's stunning freekick, drawing a foul from Ansan's Jang Dong-hyuk allowing Guk to shoot. His night wasn't finished there though as Han had to go in goal for the closing minutes after Jeon Jong-hyeok and even made a save to deny a late Greeners equaliser. No Bucheon player has had more shots on goal this season than Han Ji-ho, nor has any other of Han's teammates been able to better his 39% shooting accuracy. The spotlight will now be on whether Han can spur a mid-season revival when the Reds take on ninth place Seoul E-Land this Saturday. It's something of a six-pointer with just four points separates these two teams at the foot of the table. 

K League 2 Round 25 Fixtures

Saturday 14th August

#JDFCvANY: Jeonnam Dragons (2nd) vs FC Anyang (4th) - 19:00 
#SEFCvBUC: Seoul E-Land (9th) vs Bucheon FC 1995 (10th) - 20:00 

Sunday 15th August

#ANSvDHFC: Ansan Greeners (8th) vs Daejeon Hana Citizen (3rd) - 19:00
#CAFCvGIM: Chungnam Asan (7th) vs Gimcheon Sangmu (1st) - 19:00 

Monday 16th August 

#GYEvBUS: Gyeongnam FC (6th) vs Busan IPark (2nd) - 19:30 

Where to Watch

Follow the action LIVE, for FREE and in HD on K League TV.

Paul Neat
Managing Editor
Twitter: @NeatPaul