This weekend the K-League Challenge returns under it’s new moniker of K-League Two as the battle for promotion begins with the usual suspects all expected to by vying for the automatic promotion slot or at the very least one of the three playoffs spots.
Busan will hope to build on an exceptional 2017 and go one further than last year’s playoff final, The Police have a pretty decent squad with FC Seoul’s Ju Se Jong and Daejeon’s Hwang In Beom two to watch. Suwon FC have also strengthened with Kim Dong Chan making the move along the Bundang Line from Seongnam and they definitely look like they means business and want to avenge last year’s poor showing. And speaking of Seongnam, they fired their manager, sold half the team and only a month ago looked like they would be propping up the table, they have since brought in Eder from Jeonbuk and Muralha from Pohang who should add both guile and strength to a midfield all too often lacking both last year.
Two of the promotion contenders go head-to -head in match day 1 in what is a carbon copy of last season’s opening week and is undoubtedly the main match in K-league Two this weekend.
2018 K-League Two ~ Match Day 1 – ‘Match of the Day’
Busan I-Park vs Seongnam FC
Last year both teams were being tipped by most to be the two teams fighting it out for the title but a pretty horrendous start from Seongnam put paid to any dreams of them lifting the trophy high come November. Gyeongnam’s incredible form, especially at the start of the year, meant that Busan were really only ever chasing their coat tails rather than serious challengers. Both teams will again start the season expected to be challenging for a playoff spot at the very least.
There have been big changes at both clubs with players such as Lee Jung Hyub and Kim Dong Chan leaving for pastures new. Seongnam did however manage to retain the services of both Kim Dong Jun (pictured right) and Marin Orsulic and both will be huge players for them. Orsulic had a great debut season for The Magpies and public opinion is that if he had been able to play in playoffs we might be previewing their opening K-League One match instead such was his influence at the back. While the loss of J-League bound Lee will be huge for Busan they have kept Ko Kyung Min and Romulu (pictured left) who both have the ability to turn a match on it’s head. It was the latter’s goal at Sangju which took the playoff 2nd leg to extra time and penalties and he will no doubt be a thorn in the side of most defences this season too.
It was honors even in the clashes between the teams last season, Busan won the opening match courtesy of a fantastic header from Lee Jung Hyub, Seongnam would exact revenge when they traveled South a few months later as a 2nd half Hwang Uijo penalty would win the match 2-1 for the visitors. The final two matches would be draws 1-1 and 0-0 respectively as both teams would end up canceling each other out. The two teams have met each other 40 times with Seongnam winning the lion’s share of those with 19 victories. It is definitely likely to be another close affair this time with neither team wanting to give any ground away.
Prediction : Score Draw : Busan 1 Seongnam 1
Also in K-League Two this weekend we have …..
Daejeon v Bucheon 1995 ~ Prediction 1-1
Gwangju v Anyang ~ Prediction 1-0
Suwon v Seoul E-Land ~ Prediction 2-1
Asan Mugunghwa v Ansan Greeners ~ Prediction 2-0