K League 1 is back in action after only a one day break from Wednesday night's fixtures and this week's installment of Friday night football with FC Seoul hosting Daegu FC. Elsewhere, Ulsan Hyundai, fresh from gaining their place at the top of the table, will travel to Jeju United in a game that has permutations at both ends of the table, whilst Jeonbuk Hyundai will hope to get back to winning ways when they travel to a red hot Gangwon FC.
Friday, August 2nd
#SEOvDAE: FC Seoul (3rd) vs Daegu FC (5th) 20:00
Exactly one week on from the Team K League friendly match with Juventus, Seoul World Cup Stadium will once again play host to Friday night football. This time it’ll be FC Seoul taking on Daegu FC, two teams who will be looking to get back on track after midweek defeats. The Sky Blues make the trip to Seoul with an identical record of just one win in five with three losses. Despite still without star striker Aleksandar Pešić, Choi Yongsoo’s side will be confident of a win over Daegu having come out on top in both the previous meetings this season.
Daegu, meanwhile, will be without Edgar Bruno who is recovering from a dislocated shoulder, Park Gidong is expected to lead the line alongside fellow new recruit Rildo. Cesinha, who put on a scintillating display against Juventus last week, will be one to watch. The Brazilian ace leads K League 1 in terms of the number of shots made, number of shots on target, number of shots from open play, and the number of shots from outside the box. FC Seoul are no strangers to shots from distance either with Osmar, Park Chuyoung, and Alibaev all finding the target from long range this season.
Saturday, August 3rd
#JEJvULS: Jeju United (10th) vs Ulsan Hyundai (1st) 19:30
Jeju United picked up a respectable draw away to Jeonbuk Hyundai in midweek and will hope that they can go one better when they take on Jeonbuk's title rivals on Saturday evening. The Islanders are now unbeaten in four, and although only one win has come in that period there are signs that Jeju are beginning to turn their season around. New signing Oh Seunghoon could be vital to this turnaround. He was instrumental in that midweek draw and will need to be on top form again as he takes on a rampant Ulsan Hyundai.
Ulsan cemented their grip on 1st place this week, beating FC Seoul at home whilst Jeonbuk slipped up against Jeju. The Horangi are now two points clear at the top of the table and haven't lost a game in the league since early May. Midfielder Kim Bokyung will be the main threat for Ulsan having had an amazing July. Kim not only scored three goals but also laid on two assists in the six games he played in in July.
#SANvGYE: Sangju Sangmu (7th) vs Gyeongnam FC (11th) 20:00
Sangju Sangmu failed to build on their mini revival after falling to a 1-0 away loss to Seongnam FC. The army side had previously picked up four points from a possible six with a win over Daegu and a 2-2 draw with league leaders Ulsan Hyundai. However, a 90th minute Park Jaewon strike condemned the army side to their third defeat in five. The result leaves Kim Taehwan's men in seventh and three points behind Suwon Bluewings in sixth.
Up next is the visit of Gyeongnam who just can't seem to break the habit of turning wins into draws. The Reds have drawn three of their last five and six from their last eight outings. The run has meant that manager Kim Jongboo has to hark back to 30th March for the team's last league win, a 2-1 victory at home to Daegu FC. However, testament to how tight the bottom three is in K League 1, a win for Gyeongnam, coupled with a Jeju loss to Ulsan, would result in the Changwon-based outfit climbing up place in the table.
Sunday, August 4th
#INCvSFC: Incheon United (12th) vs Seongnam FC (8th) 20:00
Incheon United failed to leapfrog Gyeongnam FC in the table on Tuesday night, limping to a 1-1 draw against their relegation rivals. This weekend they take on an in-form Seongnam FC in yet another must win game for the side at the bottom of the league. Incheon haven’t ever beaten Seongnam at the Sungui Arena and have failed to beat Seongnam in their past fourteen attempts. However, they are unbeaten in two games and could still yet lift themselves from the bottom of the table provided results go their way elsewhere.
Seongnam FC registered back-to-back wins for just the second time this season in midweek with a 1-0 victory over Sangju Sangmu. The Magpies continue to have the 2nd worst attack in the league but also boast the stingiest defence in the bottom half of the table. All but one of their seven victories this year have come by a single goal margin and four of those wins came courtesy of keeping a clean sheet. Seongnam will look to keep things tight again as the two worst offences in the league go head-to-head.
#GANvJHM: Gangwon FC (4th) vs Jeonbuk Hyundai (2nd) 20:00
In-form Gangwon FC will be looking for their second win over Jeonbuk this season having already come out on top when the two sides met at Jeonju Castle at the beginning of the season. Gangwon, lead by Kim Byungsoo, find themselves in fourth place with “Byungsoo Ball” all the rage in Chuncheon. Uros Deric may have departed for Gyeongnam but Gangwon have find their goalscoring form in recent weeks. Including the 5-4 comeback victory over Pohang, Gangwon have found the net 18 times in seven outings, averaging just over 2.5 goals per match in that time. Such form has enabled Gangwon to move up to fourth place and just five points behind FC Seoul.
Up next, however, is the visit of current K League 1 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Jeonbuk are unbeaten in the league since May having picked up 28 points from a possible 36 but still do not find themselves at the K League 1 summit. A 2-2 draw with relegation-threatened Jeju United, and an Ulsan win over FC Seoul 24 hours prior, meant that it was the Horangi who clawed their way to the top of the table. However, Jeonbuk have added further attacking options with the likes of Kim Seungdae and Brazilian forward Samuel Rosa. Rosa came on as a second half substitute against Jeju last time out and so could be in line for a full debut come Sunday.
#SSBvPOH: Suwon Bluewings (6th) vs Pohang Steelers (9th) 20:00
The Suwon Bluewings will have a chance to climb one place in the table this weekend provided Daegu's result goes in their favour. The Bluewings now have just one defeat in their last eight matches and have won five of their last six games as they continue to recover from a poor start to the season. Adam Taggart had a superb July scoring in every single game he played in in the month. He has now been joined by fellow Australian Terry Antonis and the midfielder set up Taggart for his goal in midweek. Min Sang-gi will remain out of the team for the visit of Pohang though as he serves the final match of a two game ban.
Pohang continued their fall down the table with a 2-1 loss to Gangwon FC in midweek and they now have just one win in their last 11 games, and come into this match after suffering back-to-back losses. The Steelers remain 10 points away from the relegation spots but with the teams below them improving it won't be long until they are dragged further into that dogfight unless they drastically improve.