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Preview: K League Classic Round 20


With rainy season in full flow here in South Korea, so are the midweek fixtures with another round of Wednesday night action forthcoming. Whilst Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were putting Ulsan Hyundai to the sword in Jeonju last time out, Gangwon FC and Lee Geunho (pictured above) were easing their way into second place with a win over Sangju Sangmu. Can the newly promoted side make it three wins on the spin when Jeonnam Dragons visit the Alpensia Ski Jump Stadium? Can FC Seoul bounce back from their embarrassing defeat to basement side Gwangju FC when Pohang Steelers visit the capital? Can Suwon Bluewings put further pressure on those hot on the tails of Jeonbuk by beating a revitalised Incheon United? All this and much more in your comprehensive K League Classic round 20 guide.


Image courtesy of Goalpost/Naver



Gwangju FC (12th) Vs Sangju Sangmu (9th) 19:00

Fresh from their impressive win over FC Seoul on Sunday, Gwangju FC welcome the visit of Sangju Sangmu to Guus Hiddink Stadium on Wednesday. The victory over the current K League Champions arrested a run of six games without a win and subsequently saw the league's bottom placed side draw level on points with 11th-placed Daegu. Sangju make the trip to South Jeolla Province on the back of two straight defeats and just one victory from the last seven outings. The last time these two sides faced each other, back in April of this year, a Yun Dongmin goal sealed a 1-0 win for Sangju in their own barracks. However, Gwangju won each of the three meetings last season, scoring six and conceding none.

Graphic from Soccerway.com


Prediction: Gwangju FC 1-0 Sangju Sangmu

Gangwon FC (2nd) Vs Jeonnam Dragons (8th) 19:30

A late Yang Donghyun winner for Pohang Steelers thwarted Jeonnam Dragons in their attempts to take all three points away from the Steel Yard at the weekend. This week, the Dragons head to the Alpensia Ski Jump Stadium to see if they can slalom their way into 7th place by defeating high-flying Gangwon. Thanks to Ulsan Hyundai's humbling defeat against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Gangwon currently sit second in the table. The newly-promoted side have just one defeat in their last five and, with the season already at its half way point, ought to be considered as genuine title challengers. Jeonnam's early season jitters, where the Dragons lost four out of their first give away games, seems to be behind them with Roe Sangrae's side on a run of one defeat in five on the road.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

New columnist Tim Lee previews the game here.

Daegu FC (11th) Vs Ulsan Hyundai (3rd) 19:30

With a little assistance from VAR (Video Assistant Referee), Daegu FC picked up a valuable point away to Incheon United last time out to see the North Gyeongsang Province side remain just a point behind 10th-placed Incheon. Incheon had the ball in the back of the net but the Video Referee signaled for offside and so the score remained goalless. Wednesday sees Ulsan head to the colossal Daegu Stadium, hoping to put the humbling 4-0 away defeat to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at the weekend behind them. Heading into said defeat to Jeonbuk, Ulsan were sitting pretty in second but have since slipped to third on goal difference with Kim Dohoon's side are the only team in the top eight to have minus figures.

Our new columnist Park Jeongwoon previews the game here.

FC Seoul (7th) Vs Pohang Steelers (5th) 19:30

FC Seoul's quest for Asian Champions League football took another hit on Sunday when the reigning K League Champions lost to bottom placed Gwangju FC. Not for the first time this term, Hwang Sunhong's men failed to build on a positive result and are now three points adrift of 6th and five points behind bitter rivals Suwon Bluewings who currently occupy the last ACL place. With just one win in their last five, Seoul welcome Pohang Steelers to Sangam on Wednesday night. Pohang came back from behind to salvage a draw against Jeonnam last time out thanks to an injury time winner from the now league top scorer Yang Donghyun. But, the Steelers' form has fallen short of that of a supposed title challenger, having seen the east coast side pick up just two wins from their last seven.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Columnist Ryan Walters previews the "Hwang Sunhong Derby", with a sneak peak at our Dejan Damjanovic interview, here.

Suwon Bluewings (4th) Vs Incheon United (10th) 19:30

Suwon Bluewings' win over Jeju United at a wet and windy Big Bird on Sunday evening saw Seo Jungwon's side move up to 4th and just two points behind second-placed Gangwon FC. Since the Super Match defeat, the Bluewings have just one defeat in their last five but will welcome a much more resolute Incheon side to Big Bird come Wednesday evening. Incheon have eight points from a possible 12 and have conceded just twice in that time with two consecutive cleansheets. A controversial VAR decision prevented the Durumi from making it two wins on the spin but, nonetheless, Lee Kihyung's men will make the trip to Suwon full of confidence, despite having not beaten the Bluewings since 2013.

The last 14 meetings between Suwon Bluewings and Incheon United
Graphic from Soccerway.com

Prediction: Suwon Bluewings 2-0 Incheon United

Jeju United (6th) Vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) 20:00

After a resounding win over Ulsan Hyundai on Saturday, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors extended their stronghold over first place to six points. Up next for Jeonbuk is a flight to Seogwipo to take on a Jeju United side that have seen their form tail off somewhat. In all competitions, United have just one win in their last eight, a 3-0 win over Pohang in round 16, but have picked up just two points from a possible nine since then. In typical fashion, Jeonbuk, meanwhile, have begun to pull away from the pack and will head to the orange isle on the back of a run of just one defeat in 10. When these sides met last, back at the beginning of May, Jeju ran riot in a 4-0 victory. The Green Warriors haven't beaten Jeju in their last three attempts but, given recent form, ought to be considered the favourites for this ecounter.

Graphic from Soccerway.com

Prediction: Jeju United 1-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

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