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Preview: K League 2 Round 4

While Korea's top flight takes the weekend off for international duty, the second division pushes on with a full slate of matches set to take place this weekend. After three rounds the K League 2 table is starting to take shape and plenty of teams enter Round 4 with an opportunity to take a stronger hold on a top spot or crawl out of the trenches before it's too late. 
(Image via facebook.com/SFC.Seongnam)

Saturday 24th March 

Suwon FC (7th) vs Bucheon 1995 (1st) 15:00

If Suwon FC were hoping for a break after their second loss in as many games, they are flat out of luck. Their Saturday afternoon affair sees the citizen club playing host to first place and still undefeated Bucheon 1995. One thing working in Suwon's favor is the fact they've won nine of the 17 meetings between the K2 clubs, including three of the past four. The biggest task for Suwon will be improving on the paltry two goals they've managed to score thus far and take the game to their opponent. Bucheon, on the other hand, has been cruising along in the early goings with a league leading seven goals. Aside from being a tiny sample size, the goals also came against somewhat weak opposition in the form of Daejeon, Anyang, and Gwangju; three teams currently in the bottom half of the table and not many picking them to move above that line. Saturday sees Bucheon's first true test of the season and an opportunity to prove they belong in the top spot. For Suwon, it's a chance to knock off the early front runner and get their promotion push back on track.

Prediction: Suwon FC  1-2 Bucheon 1995

Seoul E-Land (9th) vs Gwangju FC (8th) 15:00

The very first match between Seoul E-Land and Gwangju FC sees both teams still in search of their first win in 2018. In fact, both sides are looking for their first win in quite some time. Gwangju last claimed all three points back in October last year, and it's been a staggering seven months since the E-Land faithful saw their team victorious. If Seoul's second club is to finally stop the rot this weekend, they'll need to break down an incredibly stingy Gwangju defense that's already held two clean sheets this year. The results haven't exactly been enough to inspire promotion hope for Gwangju, but it's certainly put their 24-year-old keeper Yoon Bosang on the radar as one to watch. It'll be interesting to see how he martials his backline this weekend against a Seoul attack that's already been held scoreless twice.

You can read Michael Redmond's full preview and prediction here.

Asan Mugunghwa (2nd) vs FC Anyang (10th) 17:00 

With both teams already in the positions many expect them to be in come season's end, this could be a well and truly lopsided affair. Especially with Asan back at home where they've yet to concede in 2018. The police team isn't firing on all cylinders quite yet with just three goals scored, but the defensive structure that nearly led them to the promotion playoff final last year has held strong and grabbed points for them early on. Look for 21-year-old midfield dynamo Hwang Inbeom to put his stamp on this match by controlling the center of the pitch and creating plenty of chances on his own. If Anyang can limit his touches, then they stand a decent chance at limiting the damage. However, given the fact Anyang haven't beaten the police since 2016 and have been shut out by them three of the past six times they've squared off, there just doesn't seem much hope for the traveling team.

Prediction: Asan Mugunghwa 2-0 FC Anyang

Sunday 25th March 

Seongnam FC (4th) vs Ansan Greeners (3rd) 14:00

Perhaps the marquee matchup of K2 this weekend is the surprising 3rd vs 4th match between Seongnam and Ansan. That the Magpies are this high up the table is no surprise to anyone, but Ansan being above them at any point in the season is notable to say the least. In just their second year of existence, the Green Wolves have strung together back to back wins for the first time ever and have done it in entertaining fashion at that. They left it until extremely late in Round 2 when a 91st minute Jang Hyukjin tally saw the nine-man Greeners steal victory from Daejeon Citizen, and though Seku Conneh's 70th minute PK conversion against Anyang wasn't quite as late in the game, it was his first in Korea and enough to seal all three points. Ansan  will be looking to add another first to their list this Sunday when they attempt to beat Seongnam for the first time. The Magpies return home after an emphatic 4-1 win at Suwon FC last weekend that saw three different players find the back of the net. Former Jeonbuk Hyundai striker Eder continued his hot start with two more goals and looks to be the scoring threat Seongnam was so sorely lacking last season. Should he remain hot, the Magpies have a good shot at holding off the Greeners at home.

Prediction: Seongnam FC 2-1 Ansan Greeners

Daejeon Citizen (6th) v Busan I Park (5th) 15:00

Fresh off a much needed win, Daejeon remain at home and welcome promotion hopefuls Busan to Purple Arena. The meeting marks the 43rd time the sides have squared off and may be coming at a decent time for Daejeon as Busan have yet to truly shake off the winter rust. I Park did manage a 1-0 victory last time out against the impressive Asan Mugunghwa, but they were unable to finish off both Seongnam and Seoul E-Land in their opening two rounds, settling instead for a draw. Even though they're at home, a draw would be a great result for Daejeon and one they could build on with another tough opponent (Seongnam) ahead in Round 5. With neither team being held scoreless yet in 2018, this should have some goals in it for those making the trip to Daejeon World Cup Stadium.

You can read Paul Neat's full preview and prediction here.

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