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Preview: K League 2 Round 1

Round 1 of the K League 2 will kick off this weekend as we celebrate the first season under the division's new name. The second tier will see VAR introduced for the first time in 2018 following the system's introduction in the, what was then, the K League Classic last term. Games will be played over the first Saturday and Sunday of March with much excitement to see who can make an early push towards promotion to the K League 1.  
(Image via Seongnam FC)

Saturday 3rd March 

Busan lPark v Seongnam FC 14:00 

The home side will be hoping to push on again and win promotion to the K League 1. Last season promised so much but it ended in a disaster as they missed out in the Play-Offs to the K League 1 along with losing in the FA Cup Final to Ulsan Hyundai. Off the field, the club sadly lost their coach Cho Jin-ho to a heart attack in October 2017. Meanwhile, after finishing fourth last season, Seongnam will also be hoping to challenge for promotion. However, home advantage may prove to be key and could Busan snatch all three points.

Prediction: Busan lPark 2-0 Seongnam FC

 Daejeon Citizen v Bucheon 1995 15:00 

The home side will have a man making his debut in management this weekend. The man in question is Ko Jong-soo who retired from football with Daejeon Citizen in 2008 at the age of only 29. He's made many changes to the squad and so will hope to improve the club's fortunes after the Purples finished bottom of the K League Challenge last season. Meanwhile, Bucheon will be looking to improve on their 5th place finish last year and have a push to the playoffs. However, they have lost last seasons top goal scorer Waguininho to Suwon Bluewings.  Despite the loss of the Brazilian, the away team have it in them to walk away with three the points. 

Paul Neat and Alastair Middleton preview the game with a writers' chat: here

Gwangju FC v FC Anyang 15:00

Anyang will travel to Gwangju with a new squad and management team in place looking to push for a playoff place this season and with it promotion to the K League 1. In an interview last weekend with the Anyang assistant manager Michael Kim he was very realistic about their playoff chances so it will be exciting to see how they perform. After relegation, Gwangju FC will be hoping to bounce straight back to the K League 1 so this could be a tight game between two promotion chasers.  Attacking player Minori Sato came in during pre-season to fill the gap left by Niall McGinn in Gwangju's attack and so everyone at the club will be hoping to get back to playing well and make their return to the K League 1 at the first time of asking.

Prediction: Gwangju FC 0-1 FC Anyang

Sunday 4th March 

Suwon FC v Seoul E-Land 15:00       

The first game on Sunday at 3pm will see Seoul E-Land play Suwon FC. The home side, after an average season last time out, have splashed the cash and may be a surprise team to look out for near the top of the league. One of these players to look out for this weekend is Alex Lima who signed from MLS side Houston Dynamo during the winter. The away side, who are on that long list of 'can do better' this season will be hoping to get off to a winning start. With Seoul E-Land turning to South America this transfer window it will be interesting to see what flair has been brought to the club with new signing Daniel Febles.

Columnist Michael Redmond previews the game: here

Asan Mugunghwa v Ansan Greeners 17:00

The last game of the opening weekend will see Asan Mugunghwa play Ansan Greeners. The home side who lost out to Busan IPark in last season in the playoffs will, of course, be looking to go one better this season. Having strengthened in the pre-season they should again be a challenge at the top with Ko Mu-Yeol having signed from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors providing the goals. The away side, however, might be looking at a bottom half finish again this season after finishing 9th last time out. The away side have made some signings for this season but with many coming from the National League it is unclear if they will make the step up.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 3-0 Ansan Greeners 

K League 2 Fixtures: here

K League United Guide to the 2018 Season: here

K League United Staff Predictions: here

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