Daejeon beat Gimcheon to earn promotion to K League 1
K League 2 club Daejeon Hana Citizen have earned a spot in the K League 1 next season after beating Gimcheon Sangmu 4-0 on Saturday. In the other playoff, the Suwon Samsung Bluewings narrowly escaped relegation, beating FC Anyang 1-0.
While Suwon was held to a 0-0 draw against Anyang on Wednesday, Daejeon had already beaten Gimcheon 2-1 in the first leg of the playoffs, racking up a 6-1 score on aggregate.
After winning both legs, Daejeon returns to the top tier for the first time in eight years while Gimcheon is pushed back to the second tier only a season after being promoted. Last year, Gimcheon had to play the season in the K League 2 after being relegated on a technicality.
The Bluewings, who were facing possible relegation for the first time in the club’s history, get to keep their seat in the top tier while Anyang missed their chance at playing in the K League 1 for the first time ever.
In the K League, the bottom club from the K League 1 is automatically relegated and the top team from K League 2 takes their place in the top tier. The second-to-last K League 1 team competes in a playoff each year with one of the runners-up from the K League 2. If the K League 2 club wins, they are promoted and the K League 1 club is relegated.
The 2022 season was the first time there were two K League 1 seats up for grabs in the playoffs. In addition to the previous promotion-relegation playoff, the 10th K League 1 club — the second-from-last in the 12-team league — had to play the winner of a series of playoffs played between the third to fifth K League 2 clubs.
The runners-up of the K League 2 were Daejeon while Gimcheon was second-from-last in the top tier. The 10th K League 1 club was the Bluewings and the winner of the series of K League 2 playoffs was FC Anyang.
On Saturday at Gimcheon stadium, the visitors were looking confident with one win under their belt while Gimcheon were desperate to use their home advantage to flip the score.
As expected, Gimcheon started hammering at Daejeon’s goal as soon as the whistle blew. Despite Gimcheon’s efforts, it was Daejeon who opened the scoring in the 30th minute. Lee Jin-hyun capitalized on a loose ball dropped by Gimcheon goalkeeper Hwang In-jae, slotting it in for the sole goal of the first half.
Daejeon found another chance in the 52nd minute when Lee was awarded a free kick from outside of the box. Lee stepped up himself, firing the ball past Hwang to take the score to 2-0.
Visibly shaken by the deficit, Gimcheon narrowly avoided a series of attempts on goal before Kim In-gyun came through with goal No. 3 in the 74th minute. Kim Seung-seop added No. 4 10 minutes later and with five minutes left in the game and five goals behind on aggregate, Gimcheon were well and truly beaten.
At Suwon World Cup stadium, it was Oh Hyeon-gyu to rescue the Bluewings from relegation during extra time. The Bluewings had opened the scoring in the 16th minute but Anyang leveled the score in the second half with Maxwell Acosty’s goal in the 54th minute.
The Bluewings and Daejeon will play in the K League 1 next season alongside K League 2 winners Gwangju FC and the nine remaining top-tier clubs.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]