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Preview: K League Challenge Round 19

The teams in the the K League Challenge threw up some interesting results in the last couple of rounds of fixtures, showing just how open and unpredictable the playoff race in particular is. And, with everything still all to play for in that respect, can those with serious promotion ambitions stake their claim for a playoff spot? For instance, can the Magpies' latest recruit Kim Dongchan (pictured above), last season's K League Challenge MVP fire Seongnam into the top four this weekend? Or can Suwon FC lay down a marker by displacing Challenge league leaders Gyeongnam FC at home on Monday to really get their playoff bid back on track? All this and more for your K League Challenge round 19 guide.

Saturday 1st July

Seoul E-Land (9th) Vs Busan IPark (2nd)

After surrendering a 2-0 half-time lead against Daejeon Citizen on Monday to eventually draw 3-3, Seoul E-Land missed the opportunity to move up a place in the K League Challenge table. Kim Byungsoo's men have won just three times this season, and take on 2nd-placed Busan IPark on the back of a four game win-less run. Busan, who according to manager Cho Jinho still harbour hopes of winning automatic promotion to the K League Classic, make the trip to Jamsil following a comprehensive win over Ansan Greeners at the Wa~ on Monday night. And, other than a home defeat to Seongnam a fortnight ago, Busan have been in sterling form, with just two defeats since the tail-end of March.

Prediction: Seoul E-Land 0-2 Busan IPark

Asan Mugunghwa (3rd) Vs Ansan Greeners (8th)

Asan Mugunghwa who were formerly know as Ansan Mugunghwa only last season, welcome the newest inhabitants of the Wa~ Stadium, Ansan Greeners, to Yisunsin Stadium on Saturday evening. Asan, as is typical of most of the police teams whom have competed in the second tier, are enjoying a productive season and sit in third place. Ansan Greeners, meanwhile, given their league position, would perhaps be considered outsiders for a tilt at the playoffs. Heading into this one, Asan have just one defeat in their last five and haven't suffered defeat at home since the beginning of April. The Greeners have seen their away form pick up in recent weeks having beat Daejeon and drawing with Seongnam in their last two away outings but, even so, Asan are strong at home and should win this one.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 2-0 Ansan Greeners

Sunday 2nd July

Seongnam FC (5th) Vs Bucheon 1995 (4th)

The Magpies have seemingly put their early season jitters behind them and are now on course for a genuine push for the playoffs. Park Kyunghoon's men sit in 5th place and just two points behind Sunday's opponents Bucheon 1995 meaning that a win for Seongnam would see them jump into the playoff spots for the first time. A run of nine games unbeaten for Seongnam, which includes six wins (five in the league), is a stark contrast from Bucheon's recent fortunes. Jung Gabsuk's men have amassed a mere two wins from their last seven, losing five. On the road, Bucheon have lost their last three whilst Seongnam haven't conceded on their home turn since the middle of May.

Prediction: Seongnam FC 2-0 Bucheon 1995

Monday 3rd July

Daejeon Citizen (10th) Vs FC Anyang (7th)

For the second week in succession, Daejeon Citizen take the field on a Monday night, this time against an out-of-form FC Anyang. Citizen, who came back from the dead not once, but twice last time out to pick up a valuable point, welcome an FC Anyang side to Purple Arena who have won just once since these two sides last met in early May. Daejeon are rooted to the foot of the K League Challenge table but a win could put them within touching distance of 9th-placed Seoul E-Land. Anyang, meanwhile, will want to arrest the slide and get back on a similar run that saw the 2010-founded club knock on the door of the playoff places.

Full preview here.

Suwon FC (6th) Vs Gyeongnam FC (1st)

Bruce Djite's winning goal over Bucheon 1995 last weekend put Suwon FC's back in the promotion hunt with the 2015 playoff winners are now just three points behind 4th-placed Bucheon.  Come Monday, however Suwon face arguably their trickiest test yet when the league leaders Gyeongnam FC head to town. Gyeongnam are unbeaten in 2017 and have already beaten Suwon once so far this term but are without a win in their last three, having recorded three consecutive draws; 3-3 away to Ansan Greeners, 1-1 away to Asan Mugunghwa and 1-1 at home to Seongnam last week. Suwon will be looking to build on their much-needed win and will look to throw a spanner in the works of the promotion favourites come Monday night.

Prediction: Suwon FC 2-1 Gyeongnam FC

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