This weekend sees Round 10 of the K-League Classic although it won’t be a full card with the Jeonbuk Hyundai and Gwangju match being rescheduled to June 4th as Jeonbuk will head off on their ACL travels to Melbourne. The weekend might be missing the champions but it will not be short of talking points, we have 3rd v 1st as Seongnam host FC Seoul and probably the match most neutrals have been waiting for as the first ever Suwon finally gets showcased.
Saturday May 14th 2016:
Ulsan Hyundai vs. Pohang Steelers (2pm)
In Saturday’s first fixture and it’s the battle of the under-performers as Ulsan welcome Pohang to town. Ulsan have lost three of their last four league games with a 1-0 victory at bottom club Incheon the only time they’ve managed all 3pts. They sit a lowly 8th in the league although only 3pts separate 4th and 8th spots. They did manage a win in the cup during the week although it was against National League team Daejeon Korail so not exactly signs that they are back on track. Pohang have started looking a bit more stable of late, well in the league anyway, and have won their last two which bumped them up to 5th place. They came away from Seoul World Cup stadium with a 3-1 victory which included a missed penalty by Yang Dong Hoon. They followed that up however by losing to Challenge side Bucheon FC in the FA Cup. These matches are generally tight affairs and have resulted in four draws from the last five.
Prediction: Another draw today Ulsan 1 – Pohang 1
Seongnam FC vs. FC Seoul (3pm)
Seongnam have had a great start to the season taking scalps from both the Bluewings and Pohang at home. They have only lost once in the league so far and that was away to Jeonbuk where they came from behind twice only to lose out 3-2 in the end. It’s not just their home form that’s been good as they mauled Ulsan 3-0 away last weekend and also returned victors from Incheon although most teams will mirror that this season I guess. Seoul have started to look as if their busy fixture list is finally catching up on them, they had that damaging loss to Pohang in their last league game and needed extra time and more realistically Adriano to beat Daegu in the cup during the week. Trailing 2-0 with 20 minutes left he came off the bench to net four goals in a quite simply incredible cameo performance and ensure they made the next round. These are probably the two “form” teams in the league right now and it has all the hallmarks of a cracking match.
Prediction: Score Draw : Seongnam 2 – Seoul 2
Suwon FC vs. Suwon Bluewings (5pm)
This is the game the neutrals have been looking forward too since Suwon guaranteed their place at the top table with their fantastic victory in last season’s playoffs, the fact that it’s at their home patch and not the Big Bird only adds to the occasion. It’s been heavily promoted for a K-League match, garnering a lot of media coverage and even the dreaded half and half scarfs have been doing the rounds. After their bright start to the season Suwon FC have started to see a dip in form and will still be licking their wounds from that 5-2 home humbling at the hands of Jeju. In truth though both sides have been poor recently with neither team being able to secure full points, having only won one game each this season. The Bluewings were leading against Champions Jeonbuk last weekend before Shin Se Gye was sent packing for a crazy second yellow card. Suwon FC crashed out the cup to Daejeon while the Bluewings narrowly edged past the Korean football equivalent of a Springfield Powerplant 11. The biggest difference between the two teams though is that the Bluewings have “derby” match experience with The Supermatch and I think that might just see them through this one.
Prediction: Away Win : Suwon FC 1 – The Bluewings 2
Sunday May 15th 2016:
Sangju Sangmu vs. Incheon United (2pm)
Sangju Sangmu have been the very definition of erratic in recent weeks, winning two, losing two and drawing one of their last five league matches. Add to that their midweek cup exit to Dankook University and you get the feeling this is a team that very much plays on confidence. It should be noted though that they have only failed to score in two matches all season and one of them was away to FC Seoul. What more can be said about their opponents that hasn’t already been uttered. Incheon are having the kind of season that you wouldn’t want to wish on your enemy. Results on the pitch have been mirrored by those in the boardrooom where if rumors are true they seem to be going down the whole ‘hide behind the couch when a scary movie is on’ method of club management. They did manage to get some respite midweek by defeating K3 League side Chungju City in the cup although only by a single goal. Sangju could pile on the misery here.
Prediction: Home Win : Sangju 2 – Incheon 0
Jeju United vs. Jeonnam Dragons (4pm)
The final match of the round sees 4th placed Jeju welcoming 11th placed and confidence-wrecked Jeonnam to Seogwipo. After losing away to Pohang they bounced back in rather emphatic style trouncing Suwon FC 5-2 in Suwon with Brazilian Macelo particularly impressing in that one. They did however lose in the cup midweek in the only match between two Classic sides as Gwangju won on penalties. That match was played in Jeju which makes the end result a little surprising. Jeonnam are currently second bottom in the table with only one win so far this year and they look completely devoid of both ideas and confidence at times. They did manage to put their league woes behind them during the week and defeated Gangwon 4-0 in the FA Cup. They will need another stellar performance like that on Sunday if they are to board the plane with more than just a few bottles of Jeju’s finest Hallasan Soju.
Prediction: Home win : Jeju 2 – Jeonnam 1