We are one game into the split and although things at the top are looking pretty much sorted the bottom half of the table is still all to play for for the bottom 4. This week Jeonbuk could clinch the title and we also see the final Supermatch of the season.
First up that all important potential title-winning match
Jeju v Jeonbuk
The 4pm kick-off pits Jeju against Jeonbuk in a match which could see green ribbons on the K-league Classic trophy by 6pm. Jeju are not exactly firing on all cylinders right now and come into this one on the back of a 1-1 draw away to Pohang where they had led for almost half the match. They’ve notched up 13 draws this season and although they’ll be happy with their current league position it could’ve been better, or I guess worse depending on whether you are a half-full half-empty Soju bottle kind of guy. Jeonbuk are however flying, they have won 6 on the bounce and although not exactly scintillating at Seoul last Sunday they did come away with the 3 pts needed to edge them to within one win of the title. An old football cliche is “the sign of champions is when you win even when not playing good” or at least my dad always says this. Jeonbuk have done just that this season, they will be champions it’s just a case of when now. I reckon it might just have to wait a little longer though.
Prediction Jeju 1 Jeonbuk 1
The biggest game in the bottom group this weekend is undoubtedly …
Sangju v Seongnam (2pm)
A massive ‘must win’ for both teams this one. Sangju are 3pts adrift at the bottom of the table and are still shipping goals like crazy. Last weekend they were 3-1 down at home to Busan by HT. This has been their major problem all season, a goal difference of -23 is testament to that. They are on a poor run of late and have lost 4 of their last 5 matches. Seongnam are also on a pretty poor run having won only 1 of their last 5 but they were pretty unlucky against both Ulsan and Jeonnam in their last two. If they had managed to hold on to leads in both those games it would be a pretty different picture at the bottom of the table. But that’s football and highlights the difference a bit of luck and or confidence can make to a team. A victory for Seongnam would all but consign Sangju to a playoff spot at best come round 38. A victory for them and it would really heap pressure on both Seongnam and Gyeongnam.
Prediction Sangju 1 Seongnam 1
The other match on Saturday is ….
Busan v Incheon United
Although both teams are almost safe from the play-off spot they will both desperately want to win this one to make sure. Incheon occupy 8th spot just 2pts clear of Busan who are themselves just 4 clear of Seongnam and Gyeongnam. A victory for either side would all but guarantee them K-league Classic action next season. Both teams have also put together impressive runs of late and don’t look like losing. Busan have found exactly the right time to rediscover their golden touch and have scored an impressive 10 goals in the last 4 matches with Lim Sang Hyub in particular being in impressive form. Apart from a 2-0 defeat at home to Jeonbuk, where they were completely outplayed, Incheon have looked a tough nut to crack. A 1-1 draw against Gyeongnam last weekend followed a 3-3 draw with Jeonnam. Both teams will probably feel confident of finding the net against each other but whether either can keep a clean sheet is another question.
Prediction Busan 2 Incheon 1