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Preview: K League Classic Round 29

K League Classic 2017 Round 29 Previews and Predictions

This round's K League Classic takes in a clash between second place Jeju United and third place Ulsan Hyundai which neither can afford to lose, a foot of the table scrap between Sangju Sangmu and Gwangju FC, and also a Gyeongin Derby with Incheon United playing host to FC Seoul. These matches previewed and more in our guide to round 29.
(Photo Credit: incheonutd.com)

Saturday 16th September

Gangwon FC (6th) vs Jeonnam Dragons (8th) 15:00

Gangwon were on the wrong of an exciting encounter against Jeonbuk last weekend, and should at least be partially encouraged in the manner they clawed it back to a more respectable 4-3 defeat instead of the 4-1 loss they were originally facing. That said their defence will certainly have come under scrutiny this week in training. As for Jeonnam, for a team that had been dealing in the dangerous cocktail of scoring and conceding a high number of goals, their recent form suggests they have forgotten how to do the former. The Dragons have not scored more than once in their last four league games, earning just two points in the process. They were well beaten last weekend by a hungry Suwon side and now they must look to keep out a Gangwon team who may just try to mount one last unlikely shot at those elusive ACL spots.

Our Jeonnam Dragons columnists Aodan Halligan and Alex Meyer preview this fixture in more details here.

Sangju Sangmu (11th) vs Gwangju FC (12th) 19:00

This weekend sees the bottom two sides come head to head with the home side closest to finding their way back to safety. Just because they are a position higher though, does not necessarily mean they are poised to win this clash. The military side are in horrendous form, picking up just a single point in their last eight games, and there has now been huge turnover in their ranks as a large number of players ended their service this week [pictured below]. Gwangju on the other hand may also be struggling, but have installed Kim Hak-bum at the helm a few rounds ago who has experience in solidifying struggling defences, as last week's draw to Incheon will have hinted at. If the visitors can find three points here, they may just be able to have one last realistic stab at survival.

Prediction: Sangju Sangmu 0-1 Gwangju FC

Daegu FC (9th) vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings (4th) 19:00

Daegu FC moved five points clear from the relegation zone last weekend with a 2-1 victory over Pohang and are now looking in good shape to push to the top of the bottom split group. They have shown great fight in recent weeks, losing once in the last seven outings, picking up fourteen points as well for the period. After being written off by many at the start of the year, they are finally proving why they deserve to be in the highest league. Suwon Bluewings on the other hand continued their recovery after the loss of their striker to Johnathan through injury. Fears that goals would be difficult to come by appear to be unfounded, running out easy 3-0 victors against Jeonnam Dragons at the weekend to keep their fading title hopes alive.

Our Daegu FC columnist Jung Muyeol and Bluewings columnist Scott Whitelock saw down for a Writers Chat to preview this match here.

Sunday 17th September

Incheon United (10th) vs FC Seoul (5th) 15:00

The third Gyeongin Derby of the season sees an Incheon who are not quite safe yet, face an FC Seoul with increasingly little to actually play for as the title chasing pack move away from them. Despite picking up form again in the summer, FC Seoul have started dropping points in the shape of draws and now sit six points away from fourth spot, a position that is not even a guaranteed Champions League place. Incheon also disappointingly drew last time out, but their recent form has been encouraging enough to suggest they could be fine. With some solid results, plus perhaps a need to seek revenge for their humiliating 5-1 defeat when these sides last met, can Incheon cause an upset and defeat their rivals? Sadly, it still looks unlikely.

Prediction: Incheon United 1-2 FC Seoul

Jeju United (2nd) vs Ulsan Hyundai (3rd) 18:00

Perhaps the biggest match of the weekend is the clash between second in third as both Jeju and Ulsan look to win and keep up with Jeonbuk. Jeju had a real opportunity to keep four points away from the league leaders but squandered their chance against FC Seoul with a goalless draw. Surprisingly, they also announced they had sold one of their star players Magno Cruz midway through the game, only for him to fail his medical a couple of days later and return back to the island this week. Their opponents Ulsan on the other hand, made sure to make easy work of Sangju to keep themselves in the running. While both sides know that a draw will more than likely benefit neither, I still cannot see past both of these teams playing out a stalemate here.

Prediction: Jeju United 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai

Pohang Steelers (7th) vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) 18:00

Pohang’s underwhelming form continued last week as they fell 2-1 away to Daegu FC. With hope of a top half finish looking increasingly difficult, and with relegation seemingly unlikely at present, Pohang are a team who are in somewhat of a demotivated state, that would be heading in a downward spiral were in not for the form of the Jeonnam immediately beneath them. With first placed Jeonbuk also coming to visit with a view to continue their supremacy at the summit, things look as if they will continue in disappointing fashion for the home support.

You can read Matthew Binns' full preview here.

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