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The unrelenting K League schedule serves up yet more mid-week action. Can Ulsan Hyundai maintain their healthy lead at the top of the table? Will Seongnam FC be able to close the gap between themselves and Gangwon FC in 11th? Will FC Seoul be able to keep their place in the top six? All that and more as we look ahead to 2022 Hana 1Q K League 1 Round 13.
Three Suwon players currently on military service could line up to face their parent club come Tuesday night; Ko Seung-beum, Kwon Chang-hoon, and Park Sang-hyeok are all three attacking midfielders who could clip Suwon's blue wings. Gimcheon make the long trip north to Suwon, for what is their first-ever visit to Big Bird, on the back of a 1-1 draw with Daegu FC. Kim Tae-wan's men thought they had done enough to earn all three points but Yoo In-soo's 22nd-minute strike was cancelled out at the death by Cesinha, deep into injury time. Gimcheon are now on a run of just one win in five in all competitions. The first league meeting of 2022 ended as a 1-1 draw, as did the FA Cup tie which followed a few weeks later. Suwon, though, went through on pens.
Daegu FC, meanwhile, came back from the dead to earn a late draw last time out to extend their unbeaten run to three. The manner in which the points were earned in said three matches will give Daegu boss Alexandre Gama reason to believe in his players too, with last-minute equalisers against Pohang and Gimcheon either side of the comprehensive 3-0 win over Suwon Bluewings. Incheon won the first meeting between the two sides this season, earning a 2-1 win in April courtesy of a Stefan Mugoša brace with two spot-kicks. This was despite Incheon being down to 10 men due to Kim Dong-mins 32nd-minute red card. A win for Incheon on Tuesday would go a long way in maintain their place in the top three while a win for Daegu could be the difference in moving into the top six.
Nam Ki-il's men are now on a run of three straight wins, are four unbeaten and will know that a win over Ulsan would narrow the gap down to just two points. Ulsan won the first meeting between the two sides this season, easing past the islanders in a 2-1 victory with goals from Jun Amano and Um Won-sang. Kim Oh-kyu was on the scoresheet for Jeju on that occasion but the centre back will be suspended for Wednesday's match. Should Jeju beat Ulsan, it would be their first win over the Horangi since November 2018, nine meetings ago.
Opponents Jeonbuk, meanwhile, came from behind to draw with Gangwon FC last time out. The point was enough to move the Green Warriors up to fifth and level on points with Pohang. Amongst the Jeonbuk ranks are a couple of former Pohang Steelers players, forwards Stanislav Iljutcenko and Song Min-kyu. Both were on the bench last time out and whereas Iljutencko earned a cameo appearance, Song was an unused substitute. In three appearances against his former employers, Iljutcenko has scored two - a brace in a 3-1 win in April 2021. Song, meanwhile, has played against Pohang twice but is yet to score against the team he began his career with. The first meeting of 2022 ended in a 1-0 Pohang win thanks to a Jeong Jae-hee strike in the 74th minute.
But only one goal behind is the Magpies' opponents this Wednesday, Suwon FC, who have shipped 23. Three of the 23 were conceded last Sunday in the 3-1 loss to Jeju United and two of those were after the 90th minute. Seongnam have gone behind nine times in games so far this season, going on to lose all nine matches. Suwon FC, meanwhile, have also gone behind in nine but have managed one win and one draw. At the other end of the pitch, Suwon have taken the lead in six matches so far this term and have gone on to win three, draw one, and lose two. Seongnam, meanwhile, have taken the lead three times but have won just once, drawn once and lost once. The first meeting this season was a genuine K League classic with both sides trading blows in a 4-3, seven goal-thriller. It was Seongnam's only win this season thanks to goals from Fejsal Mulić, a Shin Jae-won own goal, Park Soo-il, and Kim Min-hyeok.
As well as Choi, Yu Sang-hun, Yun Suk-young, and Kim Won-gun have all spent time on the books at FC Seoul and all three will be looking to help Gangwon get revenge after what happened in the last meeting between the two sides. At Sangam in early April, Gangwon earned themselves a 2-0 lead thanks to a brace by Kim Dae-won. However, a Na Sang-ho spot-kick on 68 minutes narrowed the deficit before Han Seung-gyu steered home a 76th-minute equaliser to see the spoils shared. Revenge won't be easy, though, as Seoul are in form having picked up three wins on the spin and have moved up to sixth. The most recent win was against Pohang thanks to a Na Sang-ho strike in the second half. The capital club are now on a run of six unbeaten.
However, all games are available on K League TV.