The race at the top of Hana 1Q K League 1 is hotting up with a chasing pack hot on the heels of current league leaders Ulsan Hyundai. Round 27 sees another Suwon Derby at the Big Bird for the second month running, with Park Kun-ha's side looking for revenge against in-form Suwon FC. Elsewhere, Song Min-kyu is set to face his former employers for the first time in Jeonju, while FC Seoul are tasked with stopping Asian Champions Ulsan.
Match of the Round
Suwon Samsung Bluewings (5th) Vs. Suwon FC (4th) - Wednesday 25th August, 20:00 KST
Winning five of their last seven including a 2-1 victory away to the Bluewings, Kim Do-kyun's Suwon FC side's purple patch has catapulted them above their city rivals into fourth place and into contention for a Champions League qualification position. With third to seventh separated by just two points in the table, there are some truly intriguing fixtures to keep an eye on over the coming weeks.
Lee Young-jae's last-minute winner in July is one of many happy memories for the Suwon FC fans this season, going on to beat the league's current title contenders Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in their next two games. Lars Veldwijk will be someone for the Bluewings defence to keep under tabs, netting 14 goals this season to edge out Joo Min-kyu as the division's current top goal scorer. While the Bluewings have picked up just one point since their return from Champions League action, they do boast top talent themselves with Lee Ki-je and Kwon Chang-hoon named in Paulo Bento's latest Korean national team squad.
Team of the Round
Ulsan Hyundai (Vs. FC Seoul, Wed 25th August - 19:30 KST)
Ulsan Hyundai opened up a five-point lead over a Jeonbuk side with two games in hand on Sunday with a comeback victory over Suwon Samsung Bluewings. The Blue Dragon Lee Chung-yong showed his quality, netting a brace before assisting Lee Dong-jun to seal the points in stoppage time. Controlling possession more than any others in K League 1 this season with an average of 60%, Hong Myung-bo is trusting starlets such as Won Du-jae and Lee Dong-gyeong with the ball in central midfield. Striker Oh Se-hun is another young prospect in Hong's armoury, with the 22-year-old returning from military duty at Gimcheon Sangmu to push six-goal forward Lukas Hinterseer onto the bench last time out.
Park Jin-sub's FC Seoul came agonisingly close to victory against 10-man Pohang Steelers on Sunday with former Pohang midfielder Aleksandar Paločević seeing a second-half stoppage time penalty saved with the game delicately poised at 2-2. With new signings Ji Dong-won and Gabriel Barbosa both finding the net in the early stages of their Seoul career, there should be plenty to keep Ulsan's sturdy defence occupied.
Player of the Round
Song Min-kyu (Vs. Pohang Steelers, Wed 25th August - 19:00 KST)
Enjoying over three K League seasons with Pohang's first team as he broke through at the Steelyard, national team winger Song Min-kyu will face his former employers Pohang Steelers for the first time since signing for champions Jeonbuk. The Jeolla outfit's new signing is yet to taste defeat at his new club but is also yet to find the net with consecutive Wednesday night fixtures against Kim Gi-dong's Pohang approaching. He may be joined in the starting line-up by fellow former Steelers' favourites Stanislav Iljutcenko and Choi Young-jun as Jeonbuk look for a fourth consecutive home victory.
Primarily utilised on the left wing, 21-year-old Song ranks highly in terms of dribbles and key passes per 90 minutes this season as well as chance conversion. Of further use to Jeonbuk boss Kim Sang-sik is his eligibility to feature as an U-22 player. Having scored in this fixture for Pohang twice in 2020 including a match-winning goal in Round 24, Song will grab the attention of both fans on Wednesday.
K League 1 Round 27 Fixtures
Tuesday 24th August
: Gwangju FC (12th) vs Seongnam FC (10th) - 19:00
: Gangwon FC (9th) P-P Jeju United (8th) - 20:00
Postponed due to Covid19 precautions.
Wednesday 25th August
: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (2nd) vs Pohang Steelers (3rd) - 19:00
: Incheon United (7th) vs Daegu FC (6th) - 19:30
: FC Seoul (11th) vs Ulsan Hyundai (1st) - 19:30
: Suwon Samsung Bluewings (5th) vs Suwon FC (4th) - 20:00
Where to Watch
Fans in countries with K League overseas broadcasting rights can follow the game live on television. More information can be found here
Alternatively, the matches are also available for FREE on tv.kleague.com
K League United Assistant Editor