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Preview: K League Classic Round 32

Round 31 saw four of the six matches end in 1-1 draws but to focus on scorelines alone would overlook some drama and controversy as the use of VAR once again dominated the headlines, particularly in Jeonju where Daegu fans felt aggrieved to leave with just a share of the spoils. Round 32 brings us the penultimate round of fixtures however, and therefore hopefully more excitement as the league continues to twist and turn towards its conclusion. Less than a victory for Pohang against a revived and fighting Sangju side will see the bottom half confirmed a week early, whereas Daegu and Incheon battle it out too in order to avoid an unwanted relegation playoff. The highlight of the weekend though comes from Suwon where a Bluewings side chasing Champions League football take on faltering league leaders Jeonbuk in a clash that looks set to entertain. All this and more in our guide to round 32.
(Photo Credit: Daegufc.co.kr )

Saturday 30th September

Pohang Steelers (7th) vs Sangju Sangmu (10th) 15:00

It was only a few rounds ago that both of these sides had effectively looked to have downed tools for the year and were seeing out their fates. Some eye-catching results however sees both teams alive once more in their respective aims. Sangju Sangmu, despite being depleted, are now unbeaten in their last four, chalking up eight points in addition to an impressive win against league leaders Jeonbuk and a draw against second placed Jeju. Pohang too seem to have stirred, securing a resounding 5-2 victory against Gangwon before drawing away to FC Seoul and dashing their opponents' Champions League hopes. Pohang now sit five points off the top half and will also be hoping Ulsan can do them a favour on the Sunday by defeating Gangwon. Anything less than a win for the Steelers though will see them stuck in the lower half for the remainder of the season. Given Sangju has much more to fight for though, it is difficult to see beyond at least a draw for the visiting side.

Prediction: Pohang Steelers 1-1 Sangju Sangmu

Jeonnam Dragons (8th) vs FC Seoul (5th) 15:00

Jeonnam Dragons found themselves mathematically confined to the lower half of the table after their one-nil defeat to Ulsan Hyundai. The visitors also have dashed dreams however as their hopes of Asian Champions League football next season look increasingly distant with each passing round. FC Seoul drew 1-1 at home to Pohang last weekend in an entertaining affair for those who were not supporting the capital club. They now sit ten points off automatic qualification, with their only real hope being to make a playoff if they can clamber up into fourth and hope Ulsan win the FA Cup. With both sides longing for underwhelming seasons to end, it will be difficult to tell who will come out on top in Gwangyang.

Columnists Ryan Walter, Aodan Halligan and Alex Meyer preview this fixture in full. It will soon be available to read here.

Daegu FC (9th) vs Incheon United (11th) 15:00

After drawing at Jeonbuk in a match they should have won, Daegu FC may feel a sense of injustice coming into this match. For a team threatened by relegation though, the home side are in reasonable form, losing just once in their last seven matches (to a high flying Ulsan). Incheon are also enjoying a strong run however, unbeaten in their last seven matches and keeping clean sheets in five of them. Both teams are looking like they are up for the fight in the relegation scrap, yet may find themselves in stalemate as both look to not lose ground on one another.

Prediction: Daegu FC 0-0 Incheon United

Sunday 1st October

Suwon Bluewings (4th) vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) 15:00

The marquee clash of the weekend sees Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors supporters travel in numbers to take on rivals Suwon Samsung Bluewings at The Big Bird. Both sides come into this game with just a point to show from their last two outings and will want to resolve this form here before they head into the split. Suwon are still without their top goalscorer however, whilst Jeonbuk are without their first choice defence. Despite this though, it should still prove an entertaining spectacle for fans and neutrals alike.

Columnists Scott Whitelock and Matthew Binns sat down to preview this match in full here.

Gangwon FC (6th) vs Ulsan Hyundai (3rd) 15:00

With those above them faltering at the weekend, Ulsan made ground on the top two spots with a 1-0 victory over Jeonnam Dragons, a result that sees them just four points away from the top spot as we enter the final throws of the campaign. Gangwon, on the other hand, have been in abysmal form, collecting just two points in the last four outings, whilst also conceding thirteen over the period. At least they will not have to fear Ulsan strikers Lee Jong-ho and Danijel Subotic though, who are both suspended for this encounter. The visitors also fielded a close to full strength side midweek to overcome National League Mokpo City FC in the FA Cup 1-0 and it could prove that the players might be more tired than Gangwon coming into this game. With this in mind, the home side should have a more than reasonable shout at a draw.

Prediction: Gangwon FC 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai

Jeju United (2nd) vs Gwangju FC (12th) 15:00

High flying Jeju United take on the nearly relegated Gwangju FC in a match the home side look comfortable to win. Whilst they may have shockingly drawn to Sangju last time out, the islanders are still in sublime form, having gone unbeaten in eleven. Their opponents however, last won ten games ago and have only picked up two points since. With Jeju only three points away from the league leaders, it is difficult to see anything but a resounding victory for the home side here.

Prediction: Jeju United 3-0 Gwangju FC

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