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Preview: K League Challenge Round 21

One of the standout games of the season thus far will undoubtedly be seen as Busan IPark vs Gyeongnam FC (pictured above), the top two in the K League Challenge, battling for automatic promotion to the Classic. These two giants of the second tier go head-to-head this weekend, both looking to bounce back from defeats in the previous round, and both looking to assert themselves as the league's top team. Can Busan IPark close the gap to just a point? Or, can Gyeongnam end a run of five games without a win? Elsewhere, Daejeon Citizen could move off the bottom with a win over Asan Mugungwha before Seoul E-Land entertain Suwon FC for another edition of Monday Night Football. Your K League Challenge round 21 guide.

Image courtesy of Gyeongnam FC Facebook

Saturday 15th July

Daejeon Citizen (10th) Vs Asan Mugunghwa (4th) 19:00

A somewhat of a farcical encounter with Bucheon 1995 last time out where the rain and subsequent surface water severely hampered the game is to be followed up by yet another home match. Saturday's visitors to Purple Arena are Asan Mugunghwa, a side that are on a run of just one win in their last five. Despite such a mediocre run, the police team are still in playoff contention, occupying fourth spot. A win for Sung Sonho's team could see them leapfrog Bucheon, whilst a win for Citizen could mean that the Purples finally drag themselves off of the bottom of the table.

Daejeon's Bruno is tackled by the standing water at Purple Arena versus Bucheon 1995
Photo by Jung Kyungwon

Full preview here.

Busan IPark (2nd) Vs Gyeongnam FC (1st) 19:00

The big one in the K League Challenge sees the top two go head-to-head at the Gudeok Stadium in Busan as Cho Jinho's IPark side welcome the visit of the faltering league leaders Gyeongnam FC. On Monday,  Busan and Gyeongnam both fell to defeats with the former failing to make the most of Gyeongnam dropping points for the fifth game in a row. The once infallible automatic promotion favourites have now lost their last two having lost to an out-of-sorts FC Anyang side on Monday which was preceded by a 2-1 defeat to Suwon FC in the previous round. Busan will smell blood and want to capitalise on Gyeongnam's recent vulnerabilities. A win for the IPark would close the gap to a point. A win for Gyeongnam would go a long way to getting their quest for top spot back on track.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Prediction: Busan IPark 1-0 Gyeongnam FC

Sunday 16th July

Ansan Greeners (8th) Vs Seongnam FC (6th)

Seongnam continued their rich vein of form at the weekend by comprehensively beating Asan Mugunghwa by two goals to nil at Yisunshin Stadium. The result meant that the Magpies have just one defeat from their last 15 matches in all competitions with three victories from their last five. Ansan Greeners, meanwhile, host Seongnam having been victories just twice from their last fifteen. Ansan currently sit in 8th place and eight points adrift of Anyang in 7th. In the two previous meetings between these two sides, Ansan are yet to register a goal against the Magpies having played out a 0- draw the last time these two sides met in June after a 1-0 defeat at the Wa~ Stadium in April. Given Seongnam's impressive form, the Green Wolves will be considered as rank outsiders for this one.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Prediction: Ansan Greeners 1-3 Seongnam FC

Monday 17th July

Seoul E-Land (9th) Vs Suwon FC (5th) 20:00

For our featured K League Challenge match of the week, for which columnists Ryan Walters and Paul Neat will be broadcasting live via Facebook from Jamsil Stadium with pre-match build up, analysis and reaction, Seoul E-Land take on a much-improved Suwon FC. Three wins on the spin have rocketed Cho Dukje's side to within just a point away from the playoff places. And, should Daejeon beat Asan on Saturday, a victory for Suwon would see them leapfrog the police team and into 4th place. E-Land are languishing 9th place and are without a win in their last five heading into this one with three of those being defeats. E-Land will be looking to new recruits Sim Gwangwook from Gwangju FC and Alex (Wesley Alex Maiolino) from FC Anyang to help with their current fortunes.

In addition to Seoul E-Land and Suwon specific analysis, Ryan and Paul will be reviewing the K League Challenge season thus far. So, if you have any questions regarding the K League Challenge or indeed this match up, feel free to leave a comment, tweet us @KLeagueUnited or get in touch via Instagram.

FC Anyang (7th) Vs Bucheon 1995 (3rd)

FC Anyang caused one of the upsets of the season last time out by loosening Gyeongnam's once strong grip over 1st place in the Challenge. The Violets proved that they are not of the shrinking variety by bagging an unlikely 1-0 win. Cho Sukjae's goal on 70 minutes proved to be enough to send Anyang back up to Gyeonggi Province with all three points. Up next is the visit of Bucheon 1995, a side who had to endure torrential downpours and pond-like standing surface water at Daejeon World Cup Stadium. The perrential promotion candiates recorded a 1-0 win of their own thanks to a Jin Changsoo goal on 80 minutes. Bucheon have just one defeat in their last five, with their sticky patch seemingly behind them now. Anyang, will want revenge from the last time these two sides met during which the Violets were thrashed 6-2 in Bucheon.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Prediction: Bucheon 1995 2-0 FC Anyang

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