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Preview: K League Classic Round 22


Ulsan Hyundai got their title challenge back on track at the weekend, easing past Gwangju in a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Kim Insung (pictured above). Can the Horang-i preserve their place in 2nd when they head to Gwangon on Wednesday night? Likewise, can FC Seoul maintain their spot in the top half when the Champions take on a much-improved Incheon United? Will Niall McGinn make his full Gwangju debut when the South Jeolla side face the league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors? All this and much more in your comprehensive guide to round 22.

Image courtesy of FM Korea.




Sangju Sangmu (9th) Vs Jeju United (5th) 19:00

Both Sangju Sangmu and Jeju United lost at the weekend and so will be looking to get back to winning ways come Wednesday night. Arguably, more so for the latter who have seen their once strong-looking title challenge fizzle out somewhat. With just one win in five, United lost to FC Seoul at home on Sunday and subsequently dropped to 5th. Sangju Sangmu, meanwhile, are enduring a difficult second season in the top flight, floating in and around the lower reaches of mid-table. Given the six point gap between themselves and the relegation zone, Sangju are in no immediate danger of being dragged into a relegation dog fight. However, given Incheon's recent form, the army side will be precariously looking over their collective shoulders heading into the second half of the campaign. Rather alarmingly, Sangju have just one home win all season. Jeju have just one win in their last six away trips.

Prediction: Sangju Sangmu 0-2 Jeju United

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) Vs Gwangju FC (12th) 19:00

A goal inside the opening 20 seconds set Jeonbuk on their way to an away win over Sangju Sangmu at the weekend. The league leaders showed their metal by successfully bouncing back from the defeat to Jeju United in round 20. This Wednesday sees the boys in green welcome Gwangju FC to Jeonju World Cup Stadium. Gwangju remain bottom of the K League Classic but only on goal difference. A three goal swing could see the South Jeolla side move off the top, should they cause a huge upset by beating Jeonbuk in their own back yard. Northern Irish international forward Niall McGinn made his debut for Gwangju during their 1-0 defeat to Ulsan at the weekend, coming off the bench in the 68th minute. The Gwangju faithful will be hoping that the former Celtic and Aberdeen can guide the 2010-founded side to an unlikely win. For this top versus bottom clash, Jeonbuk will be strong favourites but Gwangju have already beaten Jeonbuk once this term, a 1-0 win at the end of April.

Columnist Matthew Binns previews the game here.

Gangwon FC (4th) Vs Ulsan Hyundai (2nd) 19:30

Ulsan Hyundai got their title challenge back on track when they eased past Sangju Sangmu last time out. Up next is a difficult trip to Pyeongchang to take on fellow title hopefuls Gangwon FC. Gangwon drew away to Incheon United on Sunday and so slipped to fourth, despite being unbeaten in their last six. At home, Gangwon are unbeaten in their last six having picked up four wins and two draws. Ulsan's away from has been good of late having lost just once on the road in their last seven.

Prediction: Gangwon FC 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai

Daegu FC (11th) Vs Pohang Steelers (7th) 19:30

A run of eight games without a win has meant that Daegu are currently joint bottom of the K League Classic. Wednesday night sees the newly promoted side welcome a faltering Pohang Steelers side to Daegu Stadium. Pohang are a team who have slipped into the bottom half of the table following a run of just one win from their last six games. When these two sides last met, in mid-April, Pohang triumphed with a 2-1 win at the Steel Yard. The last time Daegu were hosts, back in April 2015 when these two teams met in the FA Cup, Pohang triumphed with a 3-1 win. Pohang haven't lost to Daegu since 2012.

Columnist Jung Muyeol previews the game here.

Suwon Bluewings (3rd) Vs Jeonnam Dragons (8th) 19:30

Another victory at the weekend saw Suwon Bluewings move to within just two points of 2nd-placed Ulsan Hyundai. The Bluewings' Brazilian ace Johnathan bagged a brace in a 3-2 win over Pohang at the Steel Yard to cap off a run of one defeat in seven. Up next is the visit of Jeonnam Dragons, a side who played their part in a seven-goal thriller against Daegu FC at the weekend. Jeonnam found themselves 3-0 up inside 49 minutes only to see themselves pegged back to 3-3 in a fifteen minute spell in the second period. But, a Róbert Feczesin strike in the 83rd minute, his third of the evening, sealed the points for the Dragons. Jeonnam had drawn their previous four matches and so will have been pleased to finally register three points.

Full preview from columnist Scott Whitelock here.

Incheon United (10th) Vs FC Seoul (6th) 19:30 

Durumi managed to lift themselves off of the bottom of the K League Classic table and are now on a run of just one defeat in their last six matches having won twice and drawn three times. Last time out Incheon battled back from a goal behind to earn themselves a much-deserved point at home to title-chasing Gangwon FC. Up next, is the visit of the current Champions FC Seoul, a side who have won their last two - both against Asian Champions League qualification chasing sides in Pohang Steelers and Jeju United, and have just one defeat in five. Seoul will perhaps be the favourites but Incheon will want revenge from the last time these two sides met and so will have all the ingredients for a tasty encounter.

Columnist Ryan Walters' preview to follow here.

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