K-League Classic Round 33 Previews
This week sees the final set of matches before the ‘dreaded’ split. It’s a full card of action on the Sunday as we’ll finally confirm just who’s season has been a disaster and who’s going to have the pleasure of travelling to Jeonju for a trip to the ‘bribedome’ in the last few weeks.
Suwon Bluewings vs. Suwon FC (2pm)
First up we have the third ‘Suwon Derby’ in history as Suwon Bluewings host Suwon FC, when the fixtures were drawn away back in Feb this would have been planned as the final encounter between the two but so poor has Bluewings season been that we will be treated to another serving before Christmas. Both sides are deep in the relegation battle and three points for either team could swing the pendulum. Bluewings are undefeated in seven games though an incredible six of those have been draws. I watched Suwon FC last weekend at home to Jeonnam and it was not a pretty 90 mins to be polite. This one will be close and with so much at stake it might be experience that takes it.
Prediction: Home Win : Bluewings 1 – Suwon 0
Sangju Sangmu vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai (2pm)
Jeonbuk Hyundai were given a 9 point deduction on Friday evening for referee bribery and as such this match no longer has title winning potential for the visitors. Sangju, after performing so well in the first half of the season, haven’t won in the last six, and have in fact lost four of those. Without Park Ki Dong, now returned to Jeonnam, they look an average team. Jeonbuk are still undefeated in the league this season, and in midweek continued their superiority over the K-League by destroying Seoul in the Champions League to all but seal their place in the final. Jeonbuk will be favorites to win this and the title looks destined to be staying in Jeonju for at least another year.
Prediction: Away Win : Sangju 1 – Jeonbuk 2
Ulsan Hyundai vs. Incheon United (2pm)
A more contrasting pairing would be hard to find this week as third placed, FA Cup semi-finalists Ulsan take on a beleaguered looking eleventh placed Incheon. Ulsan currently occupy the final Champions League spot and have won their last two on the bounce and seem to be one of those teams that really does ‘play to the final whistle’ having come from a goal down to Seongnam to win 2-1 in the 93rd minute recently. They are on a great run of form and have only lost one match in the last couple of months. Incheon are also capable of their own fightback and came back from two goals down to the Bluewings to draw last weekend in injury time, but then again it was only the Bluewings!! This one should have goals in it and nobody will leaving before the final whistle that’s for sure.
Prediction: Home Win : Ulsan 2 – Incheon 1
Seongnam FC vs. Pohang Steelers (2pm)
Seongnam host Pohang Steelers in one of the key games in the battle for a top half finish this weekend as both could end up in either half of the table depending on other results. Flying high for most of the start of the season, Soengnam have been nothing short of woeful the last 3/4 months. It started with the sale of Tiago and continued with some bafflingly defensive tactics from Kim Hak Bum. In fairness since Kim stepped down the boys in black have looked better but it’s looking too late now. Pohang haven’t done much better, and in fact have had the worst season in many a year. They made huge changes in the transfer window to stem their poor form but it hasn’t helped and one win in five games leaves them in the unfavorable plight of being in the Relegation Group but out of the relegation battle and the resulting five ‘friendlies’ that brings. A tough match to call but the hosts need the win more.
Prediction: Home Win : Seongnam 1 – Pohang 0
Gwangju vs. FC Seoul (2pm)
A match that was all about Gwangju making the top six has now been given an extra dimension after Jeonbuk’s midweek points deduction as Seoul are back in with a chance of the title however slim that chance might be. Gwangju have been around and about the top half of the table most of the season but last week slipped back into the bottom half. They will need a win this round if they are to stand a chance of securing their place in the Championship Group. Seoul seemed to have given up the ghost of winning the title and have been poor of late with just the one win in their last six and even that was a last minute win against bottom dwellers Suwon. It will be interesting to see if they find some more energy about their game after that Jeonbuk decision.
Prediction: Away Win : Gwangju 1 – Seoul 2
Jeonnam Dragons vs. Jeju United (2pm)
The final game of the weekend has more of an impact on the ACL spots than on the post-split league groups. Jeonnam have come from nowhere to find form over the last few months and are now looking like the form team in the league. That this form has come after the departures of Stebo and Orsic is all the more incredible. Jeju United are also one of the top teams in the country at present as their utter domination of Sangju last weekend showed. They are the second top scorers in the league behind Jeonbuk and hold a whopping 20 goals over Ulsan who sit just above them in the table. The game is being played in Suncheon as Jeonnam take the team on the road. What impact that has will be revealed by 4pm on Sunday.
Prediction: Away Win : Jeonnam 1 – Jeju 2