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Preview: K League Challenge Round 33

With just four games remaining in the K League Challenge, the business end of the season is well and truly upon us. And, with quite literally half the league still setting their sights on promotion, there's lots still to play for not just in the race for the playoffs but for automatic promotion too. With six points separating the top two, who will come out on top when Gyeongnam FC and Busan IPark go head to head in Changwon on Sunday? Can Asan Mugunghwa sneak back into the top four with a win over Seoul E-Land? Following their late win over Gyeongnam, can Ansan Greeners pull off another upset when they travel to Bucheon 1995? All this an more in your comprehensive guide to the K League Challenge round 33.
(Photo Credit: Gyeongnam FC Facebook )

Saturday 7th October

Suwon FC (7th) vs Seongnam FC (3rd) 15:00

Despite both falling through the trap door from the Classic last year, fortunes of the two clubs in 2017 will be seen as somewhat contrasting. Whereas Seongnam FC are on course for a playoff campaign and with a real chance of making an instant return to the top flight, Suwon FC face a real uphill struggle if they are to salvage anything from this season. At present, the gap between Suwon and fourth place is nine points and is perhaps too big of an ask for the manager-less side to overcome. Last time out Seongnam drew a blank with a team they may just end up facing in the playoffs, Busan IPark. A 0-0 draw meant that Seongnam moved back up to third, Busan perpetually second. Suwon, meanwhile, fell to a 2-1 defeat to Asan Mugunghwa, another side with genuine playoff aspirations and are level on points with fourth placed Bucheon. With just a point separating three teams, Seongnam boss Park Kyunghoon will be targeting maximum points so not to relinquish the Magpies' grasp on third place. For Suwon, although unlikely, a late rally for the playoffs could begin with three points this Saturday.

from soccerway.com
Prediction: Suwon FC 0-1 Seongnam FC

FC Anyang (6th) vs Daejeon Citizen (10th) 15:00

The Purples take on the Violets when bottom-of-the-K League Daejeon Citizen head to southern Gyeonggi Province to take on FC Anyang on Saturday. With just four games remaining, neither team have an awful lot other than pride to play for in truth. For Saturday's hosts, the playoffs appear to be too much of an ask given the nine point gap between themselves and rivals Bucheon in fourth. For Citizen, it would be an achievement if the Purples didn't finish bottom of the league. After Ansan Greeners' unlikely victory over league leaders Gyeongnam, coupled with Citizen's 0-0 stalemate with Seoul E-Land last time out, Daejeon caretaker boss Kim Jonghyun's side are four points adrift at the bottom. The last time these two sides met, back in July, it was Daejeon who picked up all three points after a 2-0 win at Purple Arena. The previous two meetings in 2017 resulted in wins for Anyang, however; a 3-2 win at home in May, and a 2-0 win in Daejeon a month previous.

from soccerway.com
Prediction: FC Anyang 2-1 Daejeon Citizen

Sunday 1st October

Asan Mugunghwa (5th) vs Seoul E-Land (8th) 15:00

Fifth placed Asan Mugunghwa kept their playoff push on track with two wins in a week, moving the police team to within touching distance of the top four. For what was Asan's game in hand, Mugunghwa sealed a 3-1 win over Daejeon in the week before easing past once playoff hopefuls Suwon FC last weekend. Up next for Song Sunho's men is the visit of Seoul E-Land, a side who despite a significant upturn in fortunes over the summer, appear to be merely playing for pride at this stage. With a points total of 33, Seoul E-Land look to be in control of the so-called mini league between themselves, Ansan Greeners and Daejeon Citizen. A win for E-Land could put further daylight between themselves and Ansan whilst maximum points for Asan will be seen as a must if the yellows are to book their place in the playoffs come November.

from soccerway.com
Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 2-1 Seoul E-Land

Bucheon 1995 (4th) vs Ansan Greeners (9th) 15:00

Still clinging on to fourth place, Bucheon 1995 welcome second-from-bottom Asan Greeners to Bucheon Stadium this Sunday. Bucheon have been consistently in the top four for the vast majority of the season but, with no wins in their last three, are in grave danger of losing their grip on fourth place. Last time out Bucheon drew 0-0 with rivals FC Anyang, prior to which Jung Gabsuk's men suffered back to back losses against the league's top two. Despite languishing at the bottom end of the table, Ansan Greeners have proved to be a nuisance for sides with aspirations of promotion this term. Last time out the Greeners left it late to record a shock win over Gyeongnam thanks to an own goal deep into time added on. But, on their travels, Ansan have recorded victory just three times; two wins over Suwon FC as well as a victory over Daejeon  Citizen in mid June.

from soccerway.com
Prediction: Bucheon 1995 2-0 Ansan Greeners

Gyeongnam FC (1st) vs Busan I'Park (2nd) 15:00

The top two go head to head for the last time in regular league action in 2017 for a game that could set up a frenzied finish to the season. The gap between south coast rivals Gyeongnam and Busan currently stands at six points meaning that a win for the visitors could path the way for a late, late title push for Cho Jinho's Busan IPark. The former Daejeon Citizen gaffer has said publicly on many occasions that he hadn't given up hope of finishing top of the league and thus securing the only automatic promotion spot. But, if IPark are to do so then they will need to do something that they have previously been unable to so far this term: beat Gyeongnam. In the three previous meetings this season, Gyeongnam have recorded victory twice after a stalemate in mid March.

from soccerway.com

Columnists Tomas Marcantonio and James Edrupt preview the game here.

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