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Preview: K League Challenge Round 24

The K League Challenge playoff race is hotting up no end and so when the action from round 24 is all done and dusted, who will be occupying those playoff places? Will Seongnam FC bounce back from their humiliating FA Cup exit when they host the league leaders Gyeongnam FC? Can Asan Mugunghwa get their season back on track when they welcome dark horses FC Anyang to Yisunshin Stadium on Sunday? Can Busan IPark keep the pressure on the league leaders? All this and much more in your guide to round 24 of the 2017 K League Challenge season.

(image via KLeague.com)

Saturday 12th August 

Seoul E-Land (10th) Vs Bucheon 1995 (3rd) 19:00

Albeit only on goal difference, Seoul E-Land head into round 24 bottom of the K League Challenge. This Saturday sees Bucheon 1995 head to Jamsil, a team who have genuine aspirations of reaching the promised land of the K League Classic this season. E-Land haven't won since the end of May, a 2-1 win over fellow stugglers Ansan Greeners. Bucheon have endured a patchy run of form of late, with just two wins from their last six outings. But, despite that, will be seen as huge favourites for Saturday's clash.

Prediction: Seoul E-Land 1-3 Bucheon 1995

Sunday 13th August 

Daejeon Citizen (9th) Vs Busan IPark (2nd) 19:00

On Sunday Daejeon Citizen welcome Busan IPark to Purple Arena, a side who find themselves firmly in second place, nine points behind Gyeongnam in first and eight points above Bucheon 1995 in third. Busan have lofty aspirations of automatic promotion, despite the points deficit, and so will be looking to put second-from-bottom Daejeon to task. Citizen, meanwhile, have improved of late and so will be looking to upset the odds by getting one over their former gaffer Cho Jinho. For this second vs second bottom fixture, I sat down with Busan IPark columnist Jaehyuk Lee to discuss Sunday's match-up.

Busan IPark columnist Jae-hyeok Lee and I discuss the match with a writers' chat here.

Suwon FC (6th) vs Ansan Greeners (8th) 19:00

Despite getting themselves back on track and within touching distance of the top four, the wheels seem to have fallen off Suwon FC's promotion drive of late following two straight defeats. Cho Dukjae's men will host Ansan Greeners this Sunday having not won in three and losing their last two but a win would put them right back in the mix. Whilst Suwon's recent form hasn't been quite that of a side with aspirations of promotion, Ansan Greeners' makes for much worse reading. The Greeners make the short trip to Suwon on a run of six games without a win and just two wins from their last 13 matches. If Suwon are to get back to winning ways then a home fixture with a side with ten points fewer than them ought to be considered as a must-win game, certainly an ought-to-win game.

Prediction: Suwon FC 2-1 Ansan Greeners

Monday 14th August

Asan Mugunghwa (5th) Vs FC Anyang (7th) 19:00

The first of two games on Monday is Asan Mugunghwa welcoming FC Anyang to Yisunshin Stadium. Asan have since slipped out of the playoffs and with several players due to return to their parent clubs having fulfilled their duties in the military, questions will be asked as to whether Asan can get themselves back into those much-coveted playoff places. Monday's visitors, FC Anyang, make the trip slightly west having held Busan IPark to a draw last time out. Anyang are just four points behind Seongnam in fourth and could be a side to watch out for to make a late surge. The recent acquisition of Lukian from Busan perhaps displays Anyang's intent and they could prove to be a tough opponent for Asan.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 0-2 FC Anyang

Seongnam FC (4th) Vs Gyeongnam FC (1st) 20:00

Whilst Seongnam's league form has been impressive, Magpies fans not be at all happy with the way in which their team bowed out of the FA Cup on Wednesday night. Seongnam succumbed to National League side Mokpo City who ran riot in the first half at Tancheon. Up next for Seongnam is the visit of the league leaders Gyeongnam FC. Gyeongnam's stronghold over first place doesn't appear to be wavering anytime soon and so if Seongnam are to put the FA Cup humiliation behind them, they will have to be at their best. Gyeongnam have won their last three and can take confidence from the 2-1 win over Seongnam the last time these two sides met at Tancheon in April. Since them, the Magpies have lost at home just once in the league.

Prediction: Seongnam FC 1-1 Gyeongnam

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