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Preview: K League Challenge Round 36

It's Decision Day in the K League Challenge with playoff places still up for grabs. Fourth place Seongnam FC travel to Challenge Champions Gyeongnam knowing that anything less than a win could see the Magpies fall out of the top four. Elsewhere, Bucheon 1995 travel to Seoul E-Land knowing that a win could see them leapfrog Seongnam, whilst Asan Mugunghwa make the long trip south to take on FA Cup finalists Busan IPark. For all this and more, your guide to round 36 of the 2017 K League Challenge season.
(Photo Credit: facebook.com/SFC.Seongnam)

Sunday 29th October 


Daejeon Citizen (10th) vs Ansan Greeners (9th) 15:00


It has been a season to forget for Daejeon Citizen, propping up the second tier for the majority of the campaign despite early season ambitions of promotion. Last week's draw away to Seongnam, even having taken the lead late on, meant that Citizen can't finish any higher than 10th. Ansan Greeners, however, could finish 8th should the Green Wolves prey on a vulnerable Citizen side and if Bucheon 1995 displace Seoul E-Land. Hwang Inbeom is set to make his final appearance in a Daejeon shirt for at least two years before the youngster begins his military service. For the Greeners, Raul Tarragona is back from suspension.

from soccerway.com
Daejeon Citizen columnist Paul Neat sat down with Asan Greeners expert Mike Brandon to preview the game with a writers' chat here.


Suwon FC (6th) vs FC Anyang (7th) 15:00

Kim Daeui will take charge of his first home game as new manager of Suwon FC after his appointment a fortnight ago. Whilst Kim will lead his team out at Castle Park for the first time, it could be the last time for some of Suwon's foreign stars with question marks over the futures of Australian duo Adrian Leijer and Bruce Djite. The former returned to the side last week after missing the defeat to Busan through concussion but with no new deal in place, the former Melbourne Victory star could be about to say his farewells. Neither side have an awful lot to play for heading into the final match of the season. Suwon cannot finish any higher than 6th but a four goal swing and a win for Anyang could see Kim Jongpil's side leapfrog Suwon come the final whistle. Both sides have just one win in their last five, for Anyang just two victories in 10. Suwon, however, can boast of a slightly better run of form of late with just three defeats since the end of August. And, after last week's away in over playoff hopefuls Bucheon, Suwon will be seen as the slight favourites.

from soccerway.com

Prediction: Suwon FC 1-0 FC Anyang

Seoul E-Land (8th) vs Bucheon 1995 (5th)
 15:00

Seoul E-Land, who are without a win since late August, welcome playoff hopefuls Bucheon 1995 to Jamsil this Sunday. E-Land's midsummer resurgence which saw the capital club flirt with the idea of a playoff push seems long behind them now with nothing else other than pride to play for. Bucheon know that anything less than a win would see the west Gyeonggi Province outfit miss out on the playoffs. But, even with three points Bucheon's place in the playoffs is not guaranteed as they will need to rely on either Seongnam or Asan Mugunghwa to drop points. Heading into this tense affair Bucheon are on a run of just one victory in five but can boast of four away wins from their last nine. However, the last time these two sides met at Jamsil in August, E-Land ran riot in a 4-1 win. A repeat of such a result would condemn Bucheon to another season in the second tier.

from soccerway.com

Prediction: Seoul E-Land 0-2 Bucheon 1995

Busan I'Park (2nd) vs Asan Mugunghwa (3rd) 15:00

Whilst Sunday's opponents Asan Mugunghwa will be desperate not to drop points and run the risk of slipping out of the top four, Busan have long since secured their place in the playoffs. Sitting in second and 14 points above Asan, Busan already have their ticket for the playoff semi-final. However, heading into the playoffs with momentum will be seen as imperative if IPark are to make their long awaited return to the top flight. In midweek Busan beat K League Classic giants Suwon Bluewings on penalties to book their place in the FA Cup Final to set up what could be a historic season for the club. Last time out against Anyang, Busan rotated the squad massively in anticipation of the aforementioned FA Cup semi final, but could revert back to type given the strength of Sunday's opponents Asan. One fringe player who will struggle to force his way into contention for the post season is striker Kim Yoonho who will be suspended following his red card away to Anyang. For Asan, Kim Dongcheol will also miss out after picking up his third yellow of the season against Champions Gyeongnam last week.

from soccerway.com

Prediction: Busan IPark 1-0 Asan Mugunghwa

Gyeongnam FC (1st) vs Seongnam FC (4th) 15:00

K League Challenge Champions Gyeongnam FC will finish off their season with the visit of Seongnam. The Magpies sit in fourth place but only by the skin of their beaks. Park Kyunghoon's men have a mere two points lead over Bucheon 1995 in fifth but have an inferior goals scored record, 29 compared to Bucheon's 44. Therefore, should Bucheon win away to E-Land, a draw would not be enough for Seongnam. For their destiny to be in their own talons, the Magpies need to pick up all three points, no easy feat considering that Gyeongnam have only lost once at home all campaign. Gyeongnam will be without Ivan Herceg who is suspended having picked up his 6th yellow of the season against Asan last week. And, at the other end of the pitch, star striker Marcao is ruled out with the same injury that has kept him sidelined for Gyeongnam's last two matches. For Seongnam, long term absentee Marin Oršulić is not expected to see the pitch until the playoffs, should the Magpies make it. If Gyeongnam do pick up all three points, the Reds will break the points record previously set by Sangju Sangmu in 2013 (77).

from soccerway.com

Prediction: Gyeongnam FC 2-0 Seongnam FC

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