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Preview: K League Classic Round 17


As the K League Classic 2017 season heads towards its midway point, games are coming thick and fast with Wednesday night seeing all sides in action for round 17. There was no shortage of upsets, intrigue or drama in round 16 with Incheon United, partly thanks to Brazilian forward Weslley (pictured above), upsetting the odds by beating Uslan Hyundai at home. Can the Neroazzurre build on their shock win? Conversely, can FC Seoul bounce back from their home defeat to Sangju Sangmu when they take on Jeonnam Dragons? Can Pohang Steelers throw a spanner in the words of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' title tilt when the two sides go head-to-head? All this and much more in your K League Classic guide to round 17.

Image courtesy of Incheon United Facebook.




Sangju Sangmu (8th) Vs Ulsan Hyundai (2nd) 19:00

Buoyed by their win over FC Seoul at Sangam on Sunday, Sangju Sangmu face 2nd-placed Ulsan Hyundai at home on Wednesday. Ulsan have quietly gone about their business since their Asian Champions League exit in early May, and went on an impressive run of 10 games unbeaten, including seven K League wins. That run came to an end last time out when the Horang-i were beaten by struggling Incheon United at the weekend. If Ulsan are to assert themselves as genuine title challengers then bouncing back with a win against Sangju will be seen as a must.

Prediction: Sangju Sangmu 0-2 Ulsan Hyundai

Jeonnam Dragons (9th) Vs FC Seoul (7th) 19:00

Despite the Super Match win over Suwon Bluewings a fortnight ago, FC Seoul have failed in their attempts to build on the result and performance by dropping points against Daegu FC and Sangju Sangmu in the space of four days. On Wednesday last week the defending K League Champions drew a blank against relegation-threatened Daegu before a late Sangju winner on Sunday at Sangam compounded a miserable week for Hwang Sunhong's side. The result means that Seoul are languishing in 7th and are three points behind bitter rivals Suwon Bluewings. A tricky trip to Gwangyang will not be what FC Seoul manager Hwang Sunhong will want, especially given the Dragons' run of just two home defeats in their last six. Last time out the Dragons beat Gwangju FC, taking them up to 19 points meaning that a win over Seoul would see them leapfrog the Champions.

To see how columnist Ryan Walters, playing as Jeonnam Dragons, fared against FC Seoul's star man Dejan Damjanović and his virtual teammates on FIFA 17, see here.

Full preview here.

Gangwon FC (4th) Vs Gwangju FC (12th) 19:30

A dramatic and perhaps somewhat fortuitous equaliser away to Suwon Bluewings ensured that Gangwon FC maintained their place in 5th in the K League Classic league table. Wednesday night sees Gwangju head to the Alpensia after falling to bottom of the league following their defeat in the South Jeolla Derby against Jeonnam Dragons, as well as Incheon United's win over Ulsan Hyundai on Saturday. Gwangju are on a dismal run of four defeats and three draws since their last victory at the end of April. A trip to Gangwon will be as tough as it gets for Nam Ki-il's men. Gangwon have won their last three home fixtures.

Prediction: Gangwon FC 3-0 Gwangju FC

Daegu FC (10th) Vs Suwon Bluewings (6th) 19:30

Conceding a desperately unfortunate own goal last time at home to Gangwon FC, Suwon Bluewings will want to bounce back with a win against 10th-placed Daegu FC this Wednesday. Daegu have occupied 10th place for a number of weeks but are currently on a four-game unbeaten run; three consecutive draws were preceded by a 2-0 win over Sangju Sangmu in round 13. At home, Daegu have lost just twice in the league but the Bluewings' away form as been what has kept Seo's side in the top half having lost just once on the road in 2017. Bluewings have won four out of their last five away games and have not lost to Daegu since October 2009.

Prediction: Daegu FC 0 - 3 Suwon Bluewings

Pohang Steelers (5th) Vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) 19:30

Pohang Steelers' weekend defeat to Jeju United saw the title hopefuls slip to fifth in the table. Wednesday night sees the North Gyeongsang Province side welcome the league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors to the Steel Yard. Pohang have lost their last two home games and are in the midst of a sticky patch of form that has seen them win just twice in their last five outings. Jeonbuk, meanwhile, are unbeaten in seven and have just one away defeat to their name in 2017.

Columnist Matthew Binns previews the game here.

Jeju United (3rd) Vs Incheon United (11th) 20:00 

After a robust performance against against 2nd-place Ulsan Hyundai at the weekend, which resulted in a much-needed win, Incheon lifted themselves off the bottom of the table. Psychologically, such a feat will be massive for Lee Kyhyung's men who have seldom had their heads above water all campaign. Wednesday, however, see's United travel to Seogwipo to take on Jeju United. Jeju looked to be heading towards a serious title challenge but since their Asian Champions League exit, the islanders have endured a lean spell of one win in five with said win coming against Pohang at the weekend.

Prediction: Jeju United 2-0 Incheon United

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