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Preview: K League Challenge Round 27

After an eventful round of fixtures in midweek, there's more K League Challenge action coming up over the weekend. Seoul E-Land, having won three on the spin, host the league leaders Gyeongnam. Can E-Land, with the help of Wednesday's hat-trick hero Choi Ohbaek (pictured above), cause an upset by beating the Challenge champions elect? Will Suwon FC get their season back on track when Cho Dukje's side entertain FC Anyang, a side who recently leapfrogged them in the table? Will Seongnam be able to do what most teams have done this season and put Daejeon Citizen to the sword when the two sides meet at Purple Arena? For this and much more, here is your guide to K League Challenge round 27.



Image via KLeague.com

Saturday 26th August

Seoul E-Land (8th) Vs Gyeongnam FC (1st) 19:00

Despite the absence of Brazilian forward Alex, Seoul E-Land made it three wins on the spin in midweek with a comeback victory over Asan Mugunghwa. E-Land fell behind not once but twice but a Choi Ohbaek hat-trick, his first in professional football, was enough to see the points stay in the capital. E-Land are now on a run of five games unbeaten heading into Saturday's clash with the league leaders Gyeongnam FC and are sitting in eighth place, just three points behind Suwon and Anyang. Gyeongnam enjoyed a comeback of their own on Wednesday with a 4-2 win over the league's basement side Daejeon Citizen. Despite being 2-0 down at half time, Gyeongnam fired four past Citizen in the second half to extend their lead to 13 points at the top. E-Land will be buoyed by the manner in which they recorded victory last time out and could cause Gyeongnam problems at home but given how strong Gyeongnam have been, the perhaps soon-to-be Challenge champions ought to be winning this one.

Prediction: Seoul E-Land 2-3 Gyeongnam

Ansan Greeners (9th) Vs Bucheon 1995 (4th) 19:00

Last time out, away to FC Anyang, Ansan succummed to a late, late equaliser when Violets forward Kim Hyogi fired home in the 97th minute to salvage a point for Anyang. Ansan thought they had won the game when centre back Park Hansoo put the Greeners in front on 90 minutes after Han Geunyong had made it 1-1 just three minutes prior. However, the points were shared and Ansan remain in 9th place. Up next for the Green Wolves is the visit of Bucheon 1995. Bucheon are still in the playoff places but only just. Third, fourth, and fifth are seperated by a mere point and so a defeat, coupled with results elsewhere, could see Bucheon drop back out of the playoff places. Bucheon have just one win in five but will still be seen as the side most likely to come away with three points. When these sides faced each other in May, Bucheon comfortably beat the Greeners 2-0 at home. For Bucheon's last trip to the Wa~ Stadium, Jang Gabsuk's side put Greeners to the sword with a 4-2 victory.

Prediction: Ansan Greeners 0-2 Bucheon 1995

Sunday 27th August 

Daejeon Citizen (10th) Vs Seongnam FC (5th) 19:00

Rock bottom of the K League Challenge, Daejeon Citizen host playoff chasing Seongnam FC on Sunday evening. Despite having a two goal advantage at half time, Citizen fell to a 4-2 defeat to league leaders Gyeongnam to condemn Lee Youngik's side to their fourteenth defeat of the season. And, along with E-Land's win as well as Ansan's draw, the Purples are now four points adrift and on course to record their worst ever K League finish. Sunday's visitors to Purple Arena, Seongnam FC, make the trip to North Chungcheong Province on a run of just one win from their last five matches in all competitions. When these two sides met in May at Tancheon, the Magpies picked edged past Citizen in a 1-0 win. Citizen picked up their first point of the campaign when Seongnam last visited Purple Arena back in March following a 1-1 draw. Despite Seongnam's stuttering form, the Magpies will be huge favourites come Sunday. Kim Dongchan is set to make his first visit to Daejeon since his departure last winter.

Prediction: Daejeon Citizen 0-3 Seongnam FC

Suwon FC (7th) Vs FC Anyang (6th) 19:00

After five straight defeats, Suwon FC are in real danger of falling well and truly out of the hunt for the playoffs. On Wednesday, Suwon lost 2-1 at home to Bucheon in what was somewhat of a six-pointer. Now lying in seventh, Suwon welcome the visit of FC Anyang, a side who have since leapfrogged Suwon in the table. Anyang looked dead and burried when Park Hansoo put Ansan Greeners 2-1 up in the 90th minute on Wednesday but Kim Hyogi fired home a 97th minute leveller to prevent Kim Jongpil's side from making it three defeats on the spin. Level on points heading into Sunday's game, neither team are in scintilating form but will know that a win could put them back in contention of playoff qualification. The question will be whether Suwon can pick themselves up or whether FC Anyang can build on that dramatic comeback in midweek.

Prediction: Suwon FC 1-1 FC Anyang

Asan Mugunghwa (3rd) Vs Busan IPark (2nd) 19:00

Third host second on Sunday when Busan IPark make the long trip north to take on Asan Mugunghwa. Asan fell to a late defeat in midweek when Seoul E-Land bagged an injury time winner from Choi Ohbaek. But, despite the defeat Asan remain comfortably in third, nine points behind Sunday's visitors to Yisunshin Stadium Busan. Busan are on an unbeaten run of five with a record of DWDWD. Cho Jinho's IPark side's hopes of finishing in first place have all but disappeared with the gap between themselves and Gyeongnam now 13 points. Thus, further cementing their place in the playoffs will perhaps be seen as an utmost priority. A win for Asan could close the gap to six points whilst a win for IPark would leave Asan in a precarious position with Seongnam and Bucheon ready to take advantage.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 1-1 Busan IPark

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