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Preview: K League Challenge Round 25

The K League Challenge league leaders Gyeongnam FC extended their lead at the top to eleven points following the 3-1 away win over Seongnam FC last week, partly thanks to a brace from Jung Wonjin (pictured above). As a result, the title race appears to be over but how will the chasing pack respond? Seongnam FC will be looking to sneak back into the playoffs but face a tricky trip to Anyang. Can the Magpies bounce back? If Bucheon 1995 are to put the 4-1 drubbing from Seoul E-Land behind them they will have to overcome the odds to beat Gyeongnam. Will Bucheon drop out of the top four? For all this and much more, your comprehensive guide to round 25. Image via KLeague.com

Saturday 19th August

Busan IPark (2nd) Vs Ansan Greeners (8th) 19:00

Perennially in second place, Busan IPark host Ansan Greeners at the Gudeok this Saturday, looking to at least prevent the gap between themselves and league leaders Gyeongnam from widening any further. Last time out Busan drew 0-0 away to Daejeon Citizen, then as a result of Gyeongnam's 3-1 away win to Seongnam, Busan's south coast neighbours extended their lead to 11 points at the summit of the K League Challenge. IPark have just one defeat in five heading into Saturday's fixture with Ansan Greeners but haven't won at home in their last four, losing two and drawing two. Ansan Greeners picked up an unlikely and potentially coupon-busting 4-0 win over Suwon FC away from home in their previous outing. The Greeners are now sat in 8th place, top of a mini league of sorts with Daejeon Citizen and Seoul E-Land. A rare away win could see them move within four points of FC Anyang in 7th.

Prediction: Busan IPark 1-1 Ansan Greeners

Bucheon 1995 (4th) Vs Gyeongnam FC (1st) 19:00

Bucheon 1995 were thumped 4-1 away to E-Land but were still able to maintain their place in the playoffs. Bucheon are without a win in their last three and so will hoping that fifth placed Seongnam's recent mini blip lasts a little while longer so not to fall out of the top four completely. But, Saturday's visitors to Bucheon Civic Stadium is the league leaders Gyeongnam. Gyeongnam comfortably dispatched Seongnam 3-1 on Monday night in a professional performance at Tancheon to extend their lead to eleven points (half time and full time analysis from Tancheon here and here). The Champions elect then will be the heavy favourites for Saturday's clash.

Prediction: Bucheon 1995 1-3 Gyeongnam FC

FC Anyang (7th) Vs Seongnam FC (5th) 19:00

Both Anyang and Seongnam suffered defeat last time out and so will be both striving to put their respective playoff pushes back on track. Anyang fell to a 2-0 away win over Asan Mugunghwa whilst Seongnam were outedged by league leaders Gyeongnam at home. Including the defeat to Mokpo City in the FA Cup, Seongnam head to Anyang on the back of two straight defeats. Anyang remain outsiders for playoff qualification but have surprised many at home this term, including Saturday's opponents Seongnam. The last time these two sides met in Anyang the Violets recorded a 2-0 victory. However, Kim Jongpil's Anyang side have just one home win in their last five matches. Seongnam haven't lost on the road since the aforementioned 2-0 defeat away to Anyang.

Prediction: FC Anyang 1-2 Seongnam FC

Sunday 20th August

Daejeon Citizen (10th) Vs Seoul E-Land (9th) 19:00

The bottom two go head to head at Sunday evening when Daejeon Citizen host Seoul E-Land at Purple Arena. Daejeon have become somewhat harder to beat in recent months having lost just once in their last seven matches. However, with Citizen's inability to turn draws into wins, Lee Youngik's side remain bottom of the league. Seoul E-Land make the trip to Purple Arena on the back of a resounding 4-1 win over Bucheon 1995 last weekend. Brazilian forward Alex, who signed from FC Anyang during the summer, appears to have settled into the E-Land side quickly having netted four goals in five appearances. The Purples will have to be wary of the 29-year-old and could be the difference between the two sides come Sunday evening.

Prediction: Daejeon Citizen 1-2 Seoul E-Land

Suwon FC (6th) Vs Asan Mugunghwa (3rd) 19:00

Suwon FC's bid for promotion took yet another hit when the 2015 playoff winners were thumped 4-0 at home to Ansan Greeners. Suwon are on a run of three straight defeats and have shipped nine goals during that time. Up next is a tricky fixture with fellow playoff hopefuls Asan Mugunghwa. Asan picked up their first win in six last time out by beating FC Anyang 2-0 at home. The result, coupled with defeats for Bucheon and Seongnam, meant that Asan moved up to third. Just six points seperate third from seventh and so, given how tight the playoff race is, both teams will be looking to get maximum points come Sunday evening.

Prediction: Suwon FC 1-1 Asan Mugunghwa

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