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Preview: K League Challenge Round 20

With each passing week the K League Challenge is proving to be as competitive and unpredictable as was perhaps anticipated before the season kicked off in March. Upsets, comebacks, late drama as well as teams beginning to regain form once again has meant that, suddenly, that automatic promotion spot is looking somewhat precarious for Gyeongnam, the playoff race is hotting up, and the gap is closing between the basement sides and mid-table. Suwon FC (pictured above) have regained some form and are back in that playoff mix thanks to a win of Gyeongnam. Can Gyeongnam bounce back when they face FC Anyang? Can Suwon FC sneak back into the playoffs? Can Bucheon hold onto 4th spot when they travel to Daejeon on Sunday? All this and much more in your comprehensive K League Challenge round 20 guide.

Image courtesy of Gyeonggi Newspaper via K League.com

Saturday 8th July

Asan Mugunghwa (3rd) Vs Seongnam FC (6th) 19:00

Asan Mugunghwa welcome the visit of Seongnam FC on the back of a run of form that has seen the police team taste defeat just once in their last six, ironically said defeat was to Saturday's opponents Seongnam FC. At Tancheon, the home of the Magpies, a Park Seungho goal after 10 minutes was enough to seal all three points for Park Kyunghoon's revitalised team. Seongnam have drawn their last two but have not lost since early May, a 2-0 reverse away to Seoul E-Land. Given the form of these two sides, Saturday's clash has all the ingredients to be somewhat of a tasty affair. Seongnam have also won five out of their last six and have last year's K League Challenge MVP Kim Dongchan amongst their ranks.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 1-3 Seongnam FC

Seoul E-Land (9th) P-P Ansan Greeners (8th)

The fixture between Seoul E-Land and Ansan Greeners has been postponed and is due to be played on Saturday 30th July at 19:00.

Sunday 8th July

Daejeon Citizen (10th) Vs Bucheon 1995 (4th) 19:00

Last time out Daejeon Citizen kept their first cleansheet of the season when Lee Youngik's side comfortably beat FC Anyang at home. This week, after two consecutive Monday night fixtures, the Purples are back in action over the weekend when take on playoff hopefuls Bucheon 1995 on Sunday. Citizen will hoping to make it three games undefeated for the first time in 2017 and, should they be victorious, drag themselves off the foot of the table. The Purples have managed to claw themselves back within just a couple of points behind second-to-bottom placed Seoul E-Land after a win and a draw from their last two matches. Sunday's visitors to Purple Arena, Bucheon 1995, are clinging onto fourth place having failed to win their last two games, drawing once and falling to defeat against Suwon FC.

Full preview here

Monday 10th July

Gyeongnam FC (1st) Vs FC Anyang (7th)

Gyeongnam suffered their first defeat of the campaign last week when the league leaders fell to a 2-1 defeat away to playoff-chasing Suwon FC. But, despite still holding such a lofty league position, Gyeongnam are on a run of four games without a win having drawn the previous three games leading up to the Suwon defeat.  As a result, the gap between between Gyeongnam and 2nd-placed Busan IPark is now just four points. FC Anyang's recent form doesn't make great reading either with Kim Jongpil's side in the midst of a dismal stretch of results. Three straight defeats, including an away loss to basement side Daejeon Citizen, and six games without a win has seen FC Anyang drop to 7th place. As thus, despite Gyeongnam's sticky patch of form, they will be seen as the clear favourites for this one.

Prediction: Gyeongnam FC 3-0 FC Anyang

Suwon FC (5th) Vs Busan IPark (2nd)

Two straight wins for Suwon FC has seen Cho Dukje's side move up to fifth and breathing down the necks of those teams occupying the much-coveted playoff positions. Last time out Suwon were victorious over league leaders Gyeongnam at home and have just one defeat in their last five matches. Other results permitting, Suwon could move into the playoffs should they see off the challenge of Busan IPark. Busan, however, have been given new hope of occupying top spot having seen promotion rivals and near neighbours Gyeongnam falter in recent weeks. Cho Jinho's men have just one defeat from their last 10 matches and head to Suwon on the back of back-to-back wins over Seoul E-Land and Asan Mugunghwa.

Prediction: Suwon FC 1-1 Busan IPark

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