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playoffs

Preview: K League 2 Round 20

Preview: K League 2, Round 20

This weekend brings Round 20 of the K League 2 fixtures, and it is still anyone’s guess right now as to who will make the desired play-off positions come to the end of the year. Realistically, any team is in contention for a place, as long as they have a good run of form in the season. This week’s proceedings begin with a trip up to Suwon FC for the 2nd placed team Asan Mugunghwa.

The clash could send Asan back to the top with at least a draw in the fixture. Elsewhere, we will see “The Battle of the Bottom” as the two strugglers, Seoul E-Land and FC Anyang clash in a 9th vs 10th encounter. We will also have Gwangju, who have not lost in four games now, travel to Bucheon 1995, who has recently hit a bit of a snag with three defeats in the last five games.

Sunday will bring the last two fixtures of the round. First is a clash which could really shape the league for either team, as Busan IPark make the journey up north to Ansan Greeners. Only four points separate the two sides, and a victory is vital for either team’s playoff hopes. Finally, we end the weekend with an 8th vs 1st tie, as Daejeon Citizen play at home against Seongnam FC, a win for Daejeon would be huge in their attempt to move up the ladder. A Seongnam victory would secure their league leader position for at least another week.

(image via K League)

Saturday 21st July 2017

#SUWvASA: Suwon FC (7th) vs Asan Mugunghwa (2nd):

The game should be a great start to the weekend’s fixtures. These sides are the two best teams on form in the league so far. Suwon has really pushed on as of late collecting a possible 10 points out of 12, in the last four games. Both teams only managed a draw in the last round though, as Suwon drew 1-1 against Gwangju, and Asan left it late to draw 2-2 in a feisty game against Daejeon Citizen.

Asan will be a little patched up when they travel up to Suwon though, as they will have two suspensions on the cards. They will be without defender Koo Dae-young, who was shown a second yellow against Daejeon, and Lee Han-seom, who picked up his third, yellow of the season in the same fixture. Suwon FC has one suspension in Kim Byeom-young, who has been vital in their midfield this season. We may see a different approach for either team, due to the absentees on the field.

The last time the two sides met was once again in Suwon. The league chasers Asan walked away with all three points that time around, with goals in the 43rd and 48th minute from Kim Jong-gook and Han Eui-gwon respectively. The game did see a sending off for Asan, as Lee Chang-yong was given his marching orders. Will we see such an eventful this time around?

#ANYvELAND: FC Anyang (10th) v Seoul E-Land (9th)

Seoul E-Land and Anyang have been having their own campaign of sorts this season; the lowest position in the league has been switched between the two teams multiple times. Seoul E-Land has been in good form in their last two games, earining a well-deserved point against Seongnam away followed by a home win against Ansan Greeners. E-Land has really dipped into the transfer market this summer and the new signings are proving to be prolific during the game.

Anyang however, have picked up six points in the last three games, and only lost 1-0 to Seongnam in their last outing. The contention for climbing up the ladder for the two teams will hopefully bring out the best in the two sides for this Saturday evening encounter.

Both teams will have no suspensions for the game, and they will try to keep it that way this time around. Their last match up saw FC Anyang's Choi Jae-hoon sent off with two yellows before the first half even drew to a close. The game ended 2-0 for FC Anyang that match, which included a goal from an ex-Seoul player, Wesley Alex. Revenge will be on the cards for Seoul E-Land on Saturday.

You can read Seoul E-Land Columluminst, Michael Redmond's (Myself) preview of the game here.

#BUCvGWA: Bucheon 1995 (3rd) Vs Gwangju FC (5th)

The other 7pm match on Saturday will see Gwangju make the long journey up to Bucheon, as only four points separate both teams. Gwangju have really started to hit a good run as of late, being unbeaten in four games. Bucheon however, have really slowed down from their dominance at the start of the season.

Bar last week’s 2-1 win over Busan IPark, Bucheon had been on a three-game losing streak, and it really put a dent into their point tally. Gwangju have drawn three and won one in the last four and are starting to improve more and more. A lot of this can be put down to their top goal scorer Na Sang-ho, who has been scoring for fun so far this year.

The last time the two met was once again in the Bucheon stadium back in May. The home side ran out 1-0 winners that time, with a goal from Jin Chang-so in the 60th minute. Gwangju will be without Doon Hyun-seok, as he picked up his third yellow of the season, in the 1-1 draw against Suwon last week.

Even more damaging for Bucheon will be the absence of midfielder, Moon Ki-han. The Korean has played every game this season for the side and has been prolific in the middle of the park.

It will be interesting to see if an in-form Gwangju can pick up a result against a higher positioned, but slowly falling Bucheon side. I think Gwangju have become the drawing specialists this season, so a 1-1 draw is my prediction in this one.

Sunday 22nd July 2017

#ANSvBUS: Ansan Greeners (6th) Vs Busan IPark (4th)

As we move forward to Sunday, we see Ansan Greeners return home and play Busan IPark in another clash with a four point difference between the two sides. Ansan was beaten 2-0 on Monday evening, from a convincing Seoul E-Land performance. They will try to pick themselves up when they welcome Busan to the Wa~ Stadium.

Busan had similar misfortunes on the weekend; they too also lost as they took on Bucheon away from home, they did manage to get on the scoresheet through Kim Moon-hwan however, in a 2-1 defeat.

The last time these two teams played one another was once again in Ansan, and Busan actually ran away with the game 3-1. Goals from Junior, Kim Jin-gyu, and Jonathan Balotelli respectively put the Busan team 3-0 ahead. A consolation goal from Choi Ho-jo made it 3-1, but Busan left the game worthy winners.

Neither team will have any suspensions for the tie. This could be a real momentum shifter for either side in the encounter. A win means that they can climb closer up the table, whereas a loss would mean two straight defeats for either side. It will be a close one to call, but an interesting one to say the least.

#DCFCvSFC: Daejeon Citizen (8th) vs Seongnam FC (1st)

The last game of the week will be top against almost bottom. Daejeon has had a few impressive results as of late, losing only one game in six, although only one of them was a win. Seongnam has been battling it out with Asan throughout the last two months for a top spot. They have won two, drawn one and lost two in their last five games, and will hope to continue their good run of form on Sunday.

Last week saw Daejeon pull off a remarkable 2-2 draw with Asan Mugunghwa. The side went 1-0 down to go 2-1 ahead, with goals from Gadoev and Hwang Jae-hun. They did not manage to hold onto the victory however and slipped in the 81st minute, resulting in an eventual draw.

Seongnam faced FC Anyang at home; in what was a straightforward 1-0 win for the side. Kim Min-hyeok scored in the first half to give the Magpies all three points. It wasn’t a convincing performance from the side however, but a win is a win and it continues their push towards promotion.

The last time these two teams met, fans were treated to a six-goal thriller. Seongnam drew first blood in the first five minutes, Yeon Je-un the scorer. Daejeon equalized in the 21st minute, Gadoev again with a goal. Seongnam then went on a rampage and scored three in a row from Moon Sung-yun, Muralha and Jung Sung-min. Daejeon pulled one back in the end but it wasn’t to be and the game finished 4-2

Neither team has any suspensions for the tie, and I think, simply due to Seongnam’s desire to be in the K League 1 next season, that we will see a comfortable win for the Magpies and they will sit firmly at the top of the division come Sunday evening.

You can read Daejeon Citizen columnist, Paul Neat's preview here.

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