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Preview: K League 1 Round 14

Round 14 sees all 12 K League 1 teams jockeying for position in the final match day before a month long World Cup break. Despite their Champions League success, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were defeated last round and have left the door wide open for Suwon, Jeju, and Gyeongnam to potentially close the gap heading into the league's hiatus. Those team's match ups and more in your comprehensive Round 14 guide. 

Saturday, May 19th

#GYEvGAN: Gyeongnam FC (4th) vs Gangwon FC (8th) 14:00 

K League's second and third best attacking sides square off in Saturday's early afternoon kickoff as Golden Boot co-leaders Marcão and Đerić go head to head for the second time in 2018. With a distinct series edge of 11 wins and just four losses in the 24 matches these two sides have played, Gyeongnam will look to keep the trend going with the all out attack formula that has seen them maintain a top spot for more than a third of the season. A formula that has seen their main man Marcão coming off the bench to wreak havoc in the second half to great effect. All three of his most recent goals have come after the 60th minute and secured victory for his side. Likely an assignment that has more to do with health that form, the young Brazilian seems set to return to the starting lineup after a month off for the World Cup, but given the results of late he may not want to. In the meantime, Gangwon's extremely porous defense will need to hold the Reds off for as long as they can and hope that Đerić and company can give them a large enough lead to hold on late. Considering Gangwon have conceded seven in their last three games, that may well be too tall an order to handle. Instead, look for them to come out shooting and try to out-duel their opponents. One early goal for either side in this and neutrals should be in for a treat.

You can read James Edrupt's full preview and prediction here.

#JNDvDAE: Jeonnam Dragons (10th) vs Daegu FC (12th) 16:00

Two teams that have grown accustomed to fighting each other to avoid relegation square off again as Jeonnam host Daegu for the first time this year. The Dragons enter having been shut out in back to back matches where they had a man advantage for more than half of each game. On paper, a draw against Jeonbuk and a narrow loss to Jeju aren't that bad for a team striving for mid-table, but given the circumstances, Jeonnam could have and should have done much better. Instead of leapfrogging the still underperforming FC Seoul and putting 10 points between themselves and the bottom of the table, Jeonnam's dropped points have left Incheon and Daegu a lifeline. Something the visitors will be fully aware of in this relegation six pointer. Although Daegu remain stuck on one win this year, they have had Jeonnam's number since their return to the top flight winning three of the previous five head to heads. If Daegu manager André Gaspar is going to keep his spot post World Cup, this may well be a must win match.

You can read Aodan Halligan's full preview and prediction here

Sunday, May 20th

#INCvULS: Incheon United (11th) vs Ulsan Hyundai (6th) 14:00 

For 11th placed Incheon United, the timing of this match may be the good fortune they have been waiting for. Just days after being eliminated from AFC Champions League by K League rivals Suwon, Ulsan make another long journey North on already tired legs. This Sunday's match will be the Horangi's 10th in just five weeks and the first since early April to follow a loss. Their extraordinary 12 game unbeaten streak in all competitions now a thing of the past, Ulsan need to regroup quickly and figure out where the goals are going to come from having been shut out for the second time in five matches. For the hosts, although they have just one point in their previous five, Incheon have had the benefit of a full week's rest after rounds 12 and 13. Additionally, United has proven extremely difficult to hold scoreless of late with 10 goals in their previous seven matches and only Pohang holding them scoreless. Given Ulsan's tired legs and inability to score in large quantities, a single goal may be enough for Incheon to secure a point, and multiple goals enough for their first win since Round 2.

You can read Tim Barnes' full preview and prediction here

#SANvJEJ: Sangju Sangmu (5th) vs Jeju United (3rd) 14:00

Two teams in fantastic form face off when Sangju welcomes Jeju United in the fourth of their six straight home matches. The military side head into Sunday boasting a six game unbeaten streak that has seen them claim 14 points and surge into the top half of the table. Their remarkable run has come about on the back of some impressive attacking displays with the goals continuing to be shared among the recruits. Coming off back to back three goal performances, Sangju now have 10 different goal scorers on the season and are set to get even more quality options after the World Cup. Not to be outdone by their hosts, Jeju come into the match winners of four of their previous five in a markedly different fashion than years past. Having one of the league's best attacks only a year ago, "Tangerine Taka" has seemingly taken a backseat to a more reserved approach with the Islanders leaning heavily on defense to get points. Aside from Gangwon's five goal outburst in Round 11, Jeju have held their opponents to a single goal or less in six straight. A mark that's been enough for their previously lethal attack to put just enough past the opposition and get some much needed points.

You can read Branko Belan's full preview and prediction here.

#SEOvJHM: FC Seoul (9th) vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) 16:00

Still languishing in 9th place, a sneakily resurgent FC Seoul play host to defending champions and ACL Quarter Final bound Jeonbuk Hyundai. While back to back 0-0 draws certainly aren't going to garner many headlines, those clean sheets are what helped set Seoul up for their emotional Super Match win over Suwon in Round 12 and has kept them on task since. Now four matches unbeaten, Seoul welcome a suddenly human Jeonbuk Hyundai side that have seen their shutout, winning, and undefeated streaks all come to a stop within the past two weeks. Sunday also marks Jeonbuk's eighth double game week in a row and brings with it the exhaustion and injuries to be expected from such a stretch. To make matters worse for the North Jeolla side, they are likely to be without Kim Jinsu, Lee Yong, Lee Jaesung, and Kim Shinwook as the four prepare for the World Cup. If ever there were a time for Seoul to play K League's giants and attempt to pick up another rousing victory, it's now.

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


#POHvSSB: Pohang Steelers (7th) vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings (2nd) 16:00

Pohang's up and down season took another turn last time out when they became the first K League side to take all three points off Jeonbuk in Jeonju this season. The win halted a five game winless streak that saw the Steelers fall from ACL contention into the mid-table dogfight. The 3-0 result was also their most lopsided victory of the season and their first time scoring more than twice since early March. Led by Kim Seungdae, the Pohang attack will be out to prove last week wasn't a one-off and continue their march back up the table. A challenge Suwon seems well up for having held back to back clean sheets and turning in their most comprehensive performance of the year against Ulsan midweek. While the 3-0 scoreline is flattering enough, what it doesn't show was how thoroughly they controlled every aspect of the game denying the Horangi from even getting comfortable on the ball. Add in Suwon's tremendous road form and this is well and truly a tough test for the hosts.

You can read Scott Whitelock's full preview on KLeague.com as part of our partnership with the league

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