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Preview: K League Challenge Round 18

Seongnam FC, who have propelled themselves into the playoff mix on the back of a run of an eight-game unbeaten run which includes five victories, take on league-leaders Gyeongnam FC this Saturday. Can Park Kyunghoon (pictured above) and his men pull of an upset against the Challenge title favourites? Elsewhere, 3rd place Bucheon welcome an out-of-form Suwon FC, FC Anyang look to bounce back from their heavy defeat at the weekend, whilst the bottom two, Seoul E-Land and Daejeon Citizen, meet at Jamsil on Monday. Your comprehensive guide to the K League Challenge round 18.

Image courtesy of KLeague.com

Saturday 24th June

Gyeongnam FC (1st) Vs Seongnam FC (5th)19:00

The reds welcome a vastly improved Seongnam outfit down south for a fixture that should be an entertaining affair.  Gyeongnam are yet to be unbeaten during their league campaign; an amazing feat of 17 games without a loss.  Seongnam have gone under the radar recently and are also unbeaten in eight games, and are sneakily working their way up the league into the playoff position places.

More from columnist James Edrupt here.

Bucheon 1995 (3rd) Vs Suwon FC (7th) 19:00

An emphatic 6-2 win over Anyang last time out sets playoff hopefuls Bucheon 1995 up well for Saturday's clash with the out-of-sorts Suwon FC. Bucheon are 3rd in the table on goal difference and welcome Suwon on the back of two straight wins. Prior to said back-to-back wins, Bucheon had lost their last two as well as their last three games on their own turf. Suwon FC's win-less run of eight matches has seen them slip to 7th and six points adrift of the playoff places. Suwon are in a drab run of form but are due a win and so a home victory for Bucheon ought not to be seen as academic.

Preview: Bucheon 1995 1-1 Suwon FC

Sunday 25th June

FC Anyang (6th) Vs Asan Mugunghwa (4th) 19:00

Kim Jongpil's FC Anyang, who took a real drubbing last time out, suffering a 6-2 loss to a rampant Bucheon 1995 side, welcome 4th-placed Asan Mugunghwa on Sunday evening. Asan, despite sitting in the playoff places, have just two wins in their last six. The last time these two closely-located sides met back in Match, Asan ran out 4-0 winners in what was the only previous meeting between the two sides, certainly under the Asan Mugungwha guise. Despite Anyang's dismal performance last time out, their home form, having won five of their nine previous home fixtures in the league, is solid and so Asan may just have their work cut out for them.

Prediction: FC Anyang 1-0 Asan Mugunghwa

Monday 26th June

Seoul E-Land (9th) Vs Daejeon Citizen (10th) 20:00

Monday night sees Daejeon Citizen take on Seoul E-Land at Jamsil in a game where the bottom two go head-to-head. With the K League Challenge reaching its half way point, and Daejeon Citizen propping up the table, the pressure is beginning to mount on the Purples' manager Lee Youngik. A defeat would see Citizen well and truly cut adrift at the bottom with five points already separating these two sides. E-Land, meanwhile, could leapfrog Ansan should results go their way but if Citizen are to claw their way up the table, beating the team immediately above them ought to be considered a must.

Columnist Paul Neat's preview to follow here.

Ansan Greeners (8th) Vs Busan IPark (2nd) 19:30 

After an impressive win over struggling Daejeon Citizen last Saturday, Ansan get back to home comforts for the visit of promotion-chasing Busan IPark. Busan have faltered a touch in recent weeks, having lost to Seongnam last week after a stalemate with Anyang the week previous. Cho Jinho's Busan side are now nine points behind league-leaders Gyeongnam but have a six point cushion between themselves and 3rd-place Bucheon 1995. A win for Ansan would give them an outside chance of the playoffs, Busan mean while will want to bounce back from the aforementioned defeat to Seongnam.

Prediction: Ansan Greeners 1-2 Busan IPark

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