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Preview: K League Challenge Round 22

Gyeongnam FC got their title push back on track last time out when the league leaders saw off the challenge of 2nd-placed Busan IPark. Jung Wonjin (pictured above) had Gyeongnam 1-0 up in side the first minute to set his side off to their first win in five, but can the automatic promotion favourites make it two on the spin when Asan Mugunghwa head to Changwon? Also, can Busan IPark bounce back when they make the trip north to Gyeonggi Province to take on Bucheon 1995? All this and much more in your comprehensive guide to K League Challenge round 22.

Image from Chosun Newspaper via K League

Saturday 22nd July

Ansan Greeners (8th) Vs Daejeon Citizen (10th)

For Saturday's only K League Challenge match-up, two of the league's struggling teams go head-to-head on Saturday when Daejeon Citizen head to the Wa~ Stadium to take on Ansan Greeners. Citizen remain rooted to the foot of the table having picked up just three wins all season and keeping one cleansheet. The Greeners are just two places above the Purples and have four victories to their name in what is their debut season, with two of those having come against Daejeon. A win for the Purples could see them finally move off the bottom of the table. Ansan, meanwhile will want to narrow the gap between themselves and FC Anyang in 7th.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Full preview here.

Sunday 23rd July

Bucheon 1995 (3rd) Vs Busan IPark (2nd)

One defeat in five, with three wins and two draws, has ensured that Bucheon have regained a strong footing in the K League Challenge playoff places. Up next for the western Gyeonggi Province outfit is the visit of Busan IPark. Busan gaffer Cho Jinho is adamant that his side still have what it takes to go up automatically. But, any hopes of dislodging league leaders Gyeongnam took a huge knock when IPark lost to their South Gyeongsang neighbours last time out. As thus, Busan will be looking to bounce back with a win when they try to do what only three teams have done this season and topple Bucheon in their own back yard. Both sides have a 1-0 win each to their name over each other in 2017.

Prediction: Bucheon 1995 1-2 Busan IPark

Seongnam FC (6th) Vs Suwon FC (5th)

Two of the K League Challenge's playoff favourites, Seongnam FC and Suwon FC, go head-to-head this weekend. Both Seongnam and Suwon suffered spells of indifferent form this term but, nonetheless both seem to have put their respective sticky patches behind then. Both sides are knocking on the door of the playoff places; Suwon are one point behind 4th-placed Bucheon 1995, whilst Seongnam are two points behind. The winners of the 2015 playoffs, Suwon FC, are on a run of five games unbeaten having won three and drawn two since their last reverse. The losers of the 2016 playoffs Seongnam meanwhile, are on an unbeaten run that stretches back to the beginning of May, totaling 12 matches. This one is delicately poised with two inform sides looking to make a statement in their quest for promotion in 2017 and so a draw his perhaps the most likely outcome.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Prediction: Seongnam FC 2-2 Suwon FC

Monday 24th July

Gyeongnam FC (1st) Vs Asan Mugunghwa (4th)

League leaders Gyeongnam bounced back from their mini slump with a win over their nearest rivals for automatic promotion, Busan IPark. The result means that Gyeongnam's lead at the top has been extended to seven points. Up next is the visit of Asan Mugunghwa, a side that despite maintaining a lofty position in the K League Challenge, are on a run of just one win in their last six. Given the form of Seongnam and Suwon, two sides that face off against each other on Sunday, Asan will be feeling the pressure to pick up something down in Changwon. In the two previous encounters this season, not much has separated these two sides. The last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw after a narrow 1-0 win for Gyeongnam kicked off their 2017 season.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Prediction: Gyeongnam FC 2-0 Asan Mugunghwa

FC Anyang (7th) Vs Seoul E-Land (9th)

Two of the league's out of form sides face each other this Monday night when FC Anyang host second-to-bottom Seoul E-Land. Collectively, these sides have just one win between them in each of their last five outings. In addition, FC Anyang are without a win at home in their last four and have just one win in eight matches. Seoul E-Land picked up a respectable draw at home to playoff contenders Suwon FC last time out but are without a win in their last six. On the road, E-Land have just two victories all season.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Prediction: FC Anyang 0-0 Seoul E-Land

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