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South Korean K1 League GW1 Preview


There are under 10 new cases of COVID-19 every day in Korea and following a two-month delay, their premier football league will begin to be played behind closed doors. Due to the time lost, the 12 teams will now play each other twice instead of the usual three times like previous seasons. 

All players and officials tested negative for Coronavirus and mandatory tests that were required to be carried out were all successfully submitted by 1 May.

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Friday 8 May

Jeonbuk Motors 15/20
Draw 51/20
Suwon Bluewings 34/10
(12:00)

The reigning champions kick off action and will be raring to go. Jeonbuk played two Asian Champions League games before the lockdown was enforced. Suwon Bluewings will be counting on Australian striker Adam Taggart, who scored 20 goals in 33 appearances last season. The visitors have shared the pitch with “Don” Andres Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe on 19 February 2020 during their ACL match. I’m backing the hosts at 15/20.

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Saturday 9 May

Ulsan 13/20
Draw 11/4
Sangju Sangmu 36/10
(07:00)

Ulsan will be trying to better last season’s performance of finishing runners-up by winning the league. Sangju Sangmu is the sports division of the Military of South Korea, playing under the tutelage of coach Kim Tae-wan. Players leave their respective clubs and play for Sangju Sangmu when called in for military service and return to their teams after usually a two-year period. Ulsan won the last meeting 5-1, back them at 13/20.

Incheon United 43/20
Draw 9/4
Daegu 12/10
(09:30)

Incheon United managed to survive relegation thanks to Montenegro forward Stefan Mugosa. The hosts had a very slow start to last season and know early points are crucial. Daegu, on the other hand, will be aiming to top last season’s fifth finish, their best ever. The Sky-Blues talisman is Brazilian Cesinha, 2019’s K-League best midfielder. Daegu are unbeaten in the last four meetings, winning three times. Back them to claim maximum points at 12/10.

Gwangju 15/10
Draw 43/20
Seongnam 18/10
(12:00)

There’s been a two-year absence since Gwangju won the league. The Griffins will be hoping their Brazilian number nine Felipe can better his 2019 tally of 19 goals. Seongnam finished safe at 9th following promotion from the K2 League. They have signed Croatian Tomislav Kis, who banged in 27 goals in Lithuania. There were four goals in each of the last three meetings between these sides. I’m backing Over 2.5 Goals in the Totals market at 11/10.

Sunday 10 May

Pohang Steelers 19/20
Draw 23/10
Busan I’Park 11/4
(07:00)

Pohang Steelers narrowly missed ACL qualification after back-to-back fourth finishes in the last two seasons. The hosts will be hoping to finally break that barrier and have a winnable tie on home soil to kick off their campaign. Newly-promoted Busan I’Park finished second in K2. Their key player is their left-footed number 10, Romulo. Take the home win at 19/20.

Gangwon 37/20
Draw 22/10
Seoul 14/10
(09:30)

Gangwon’s coach will be hoping his team won’t be blighted by injuries like last season which derailed his aims and finally finished fifth. The hosts play a brand of football called “Byung-soo ball” named after their coach and enjoyed the most ball possession in the 2019 season. Seoul beat Melbourne Victory 1-0 in ACL action in February. Their goalkeeper Yu Sang-hun has an amazing record of saving 8/15 penalties in his career. These teams are tipped to cancel out each other at 22/10.

TREBLE @ 5/1
Jeonbuk Motors Win 15/20
Ulsan Win 13/20
Daegu Win 12/10

Written by Bryan Naicker