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Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs Gyeongnam

It's round 25 in the K League 2 and every team has something to play for. Seventh placed hosts Bucheon FC 1995 cannot get promoted but could become safe from bottom of the table should results go their way this weekend. Fifth placed visitors Gyeongnam, meanwhile, have to win on Sunday to keep their playoff challenge alive. 

Last Time Out

Daejeon Hana Citizen 0-1 Bucheon FC 1995 

Bucheon won for the first time in a little over two months thanks to the bad form of Daejeon, former title challengers that have now slipped out of the playoffs with only three games remaining. Daejeon failed to put away a large number of chances and the much improved Bucheon side made them pay in the 74th minute. Substitute Choe Byeong-chan collected a perfect long ball from defender Kwak Hae-seong, amd Choe composed himself in the penalty area before burying a left footed strike into the far corner of the goal.

Things got even worse for Daejeon when Park In-hyeok picked up two yellow cards in the final few minutes, leaving them with 10 at the final whistle. Daejeon are now in sixth place, level with Gyeongnam and two points behind fourth placed Seoul E-land. Despite the win it is now mathematically impossible for Bucheon to earm promotion, but they are now four points away from tenth place.

Highlights of the match can be viewed here

Gyeongnam 0-1 Jeju United

Thanks to Suwon FC's loss to Jeonnam Dragons combined with this win, Jeju returned to the top of the table while Gyeongnam are now in fifth place, ahead of Daejeon on goals scored. The previous two encounters between the two sides this season ended in draws and for a long time it looked like this match would end with the same fate. Gyeongnam's Jung Hyuk rattled the crossbar within 40 seconds and that seemed to have set the tone in a match where nobody could put away their chances.

Everything changed in the 83rd minute when Jeju grabbed the game's only goal. Kang Yoon-sung provided a pinpoint cross after Gyeongnam failed to deal with a corner, and Chung Woon headed home to grab the vital win. Jeju are now three points clear at the top of the table, while Gyeongnam are two points out of the play-offs.

Highlights of the match can be viewed here

Previous Meetings

There have been seven Gyeongnam wins in this fixture, five Bucheon wins, and two draws. Gyeongnam are unbeaten in their last seven matches against Bucheon. This season's first encounter was a 1-1 draw, with Yoo Ji-hun giving Gyeongnam the lead and Kim Young-nam equalising for visitors Bucheon. The second match saw Gyeongnam claim victory in Bucheon, courtesy of an 89th minute winner from Jung Hyuk.

Team News

Bucheon have a full strength squad to choose from, but have five players that are one match away from suspension: Choi Bong-jin, Kim Young-chan, Guk Tae-jeong, Kim Young-nam, Lee Hyeon-il. With only three matches left to play and not much to play for this should not factor into the selction choice too much. This will be the first home match for Bucheon since releasing Jefferson Baiano prior to the Daejeon match. In an injury riddled spell since joining the club in March Baiano only played 11 matches and scored once, a penalty in a 1-0 victory over Daejeon in July.

The Adversary

Gyeongnam also have a full-strength squad to choose from but have three players that are one yellow card away from suspension: Lee Kwang-seon, Jung Hyuk, and Park Chang-jun. Unlike Bucheon, Gyeongnam are still in the playoff fight, so may decide to rotate those players  in order to not be hit with a lot of suspensions in one match.

What To Watch

Bucheon's playoff hopes have been dead for a while, but the memories of last season's late run meant that fans may have held on to a slight hope until recently. After last weekend's results went against them, Bucheon officially cannot reach the playoffs. This means that they can experiment with the starting lineup, something that they have largely been reluctant to do this season. The formation has been rotated regularly, but the starting 11 has stayed the same in most matches. 

These final three matches could provide a good chance for some young players to stake their claim for a first team place next season. It will largely depend on how seriously coach Song Sun-ho wants to avoid bottom of the table. If that is high on his priorities then the same squad could be chosen, otherwise Bucheon could have a new look side on Sunday.

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Prediction

Bucheon have only lost once in four matches and will be turning up on a high after beating Daejeon. They have very little to play for, so this could mean they play with freedom or play without passion. Gyeongnam have to win to stay in the fight for the playoffs, so there is a chance that nerves get the better of them. However, Gyeongnam have proven they can get the results against Bucheon and should become the victors on Sunday. 

Bucheon FC 1995 1-2 Gyeongnam

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