As far as opening weekends go this one has been up there with some of the most memorable. We had the potential title winners battling it out in Jeonju with Jeonbuk eventually coming out unscathed with a 1-0 victory. Seongnam dusted off the close season cobwebs with a 2-0 victory over their Suwon Bluewings rivals but probably the ‘match of the day’ was down in Pohang where a frantic last 10 mins served up four goals as Pohang fought back from 2-0 down to take a 3-2 lead in the 90th minute only to see Gwangju net a 98th minute penalty and grab a share of the spoils. It’s quite the hard act to follow so what do we have in store to round off the opening weekend.
Jeonnam Dragons v Suwon FC (2pm Sunday – Live on Jtbc3 FOX)
This weekend will mark Suwon FC’s maiden voyage in the K-League Classic having secured promotion last year. They have been handed a trip to Jeonnam for their first ‘meal’ at the top-table and the match will also be screened live on Jtbc3 FOX so no pressure not to get soundly pumped then boys. Suwon lost a couple of big players in the close season in the shape of Sisi and Japa with the latter being one of, if not the sole reason behind them securing promotion. They have brought in a couple of new foreigners and if they can be anywhere near as successful as those they are replacing then Suwon could be the surprise package in the league this year. Jeonnam managed to secure the hugely successful loanee Orsic on a permanent deal but other than that have been relatively quiet in the transfer market. They are usually quick starters and will surely this season be hoping not to panic when the split looms and inevitably end up slipping down the table.
Prediction : Home win – Jeonnam 1 Suwon 0
Jeju United v Incheon United (2pm Sunday)
Jeju take on Incheon in the other early kick-off on Sunday and it’s when you see this fixture that you understand the logic behind JTBC covering Jeonnam v Suwon. It’s not that this match is one of the less inspiring matches on the K-League fixture list it’s that for the most part they do tend to end up as either 0-0 draws or slender single goal victories and in fact Jeju failed to score in four matches against Incheon last year including bowing out of the FA Cup to them at home. The close season has not been overly great for Jeju with the loss of midfield linchpin Yoon Bit Garam undoubtedly going to hit them hard. They had a pretty disappointing season last year finishing sixth in the league. Incheon are another team who were relatively quiet in the close season with securing their main man Kevin Oris on a new contract their main priority. They narrowly missed out on a top-six finish last year and made the FA Cup final although lost that to FC Seoul. They must start making progress up the table if they are to realize their heady dreams of winning the league by 2020.
Prediction : A bore draw – Jeju 0 Incheon 0
Sangju v Ulsan Hyundai (4pm Sunday)
As well as the welcome of Suwon to the league this weekend we also see the return of the ‘Army’ team Sangju Sangmu. They didn’t have the best of seasons in 2014 when they spent pretty much the whole season rooted at the foot of the table. Obviously being the army team their squad tends to be pretty much decimated by the second half of the year and this ultimately hits their season hard. Ulsan had an absolute mare of a season last year and it was pretty uncomfortable watching for their fans at times as they looked a pale shadow of that 2013 team. That being said they finished the season well and in Kim Shin Wook had the ‘golden boot’. ‘The Wookie’ has since left the building and joined Jeonbuk but you do get the feeling that they can’t possibly have as horrendous a start to the season as last year. With Suwon and Pohang looking a tad ropey there could be something just around the corner to raise the spirits of the beleaguered Ulsan faithful.
Prediction : – Away Win – Sangju 1 Ulsan 2