By Ahn Hong-seok Lee Reporter = Professional soccer’s K League 2 (second division) Gimcheon Sangmu won a thrilling upset in the final match of the regular season and was promoted to the K League 1 (first division) for the first time in a season.
Gimcheon defeated Seoul Eland 1-0 in the final match of the 39th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2 2023 at Gimcheon Sports Complex on Saturday, thanks to Kim Hyun-wook’s goal in the 37th minute.
As Busan, the leader before the match, dropped to second place (70 points) after a 1-1 draw with Chungbuk Cheongju, Gimcheon, which was second, pulled off a thrilling upset to win the title (71 points).
Gimcheon, which finished 11th in the 2022 season in K League 1 and then lost in the promotion playoffs (PO) and dropped to K League 2, returned to the top division after one season.
This was the fourth consecutive season in which the team has been promoted directly after relegation, following the 2013, 2015, and 2021 seasons.
In all four of these seasons, Gimcheon won the second division title and earned promotion.
Head coach Jung Jung-yong, who took over in May of this season, has led Gimcheon to the title and promotion in less than a season.
After making a name for himself by coaching South Korea to a runner-up finish at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Chung’s first professional team, Eland, was less than stellar.
In the final round, which kicked off simultaneously at all six venues, Gimcheon opened the scoring. Kim Hyun-wook opened the scoring in the 37th minute with a left-footed shot that beat one defender in front of the goal area.
Busan regained the lead on the live scoreboard in the 23rd minute of the second half with a goal from Pesin.
After intercepting a passing error by Jung Jin-wook, Ramas sent in a penetrating pass that Pesin finished with a cool left-footed shot to make it 1-0.
Gimcheon’s game ended first, and the Gimcheon players stayed on the field to watch the Busan-Chungbuk Cheongju game on the big screen.
Just when it looked like Busan would win the title, Chungbuk Cheongju won a corner kick from the left side in the second half of extra time.
In Chungbuk Cheongju’s last attack from the corner kick, Kim Myung-soon sent a cross from the right side that Georgi difficultly connected with a shot to tie the score at 1-1. It was the 49th minute of the second half.
The players and coaches of Gimcheong, who had won a “miracle victory,” cheered and jumped around, while the Busan players shook their heads.
Now in second place, Busan will make one last push for promotion through the promotion playoffs (PO) against the 11th-ranked team in K League 1, who will play the final match next weekend.
The first leg will be held at the Busan Asiad Stadium on April 6, and the second leg will be held at the home of the 11th-ranked team on April 9.
The team that will face the 10th-ranked team in K League 1 in another promotion PO will be decided in the K League 2 PO, where the third- through fifth-ranked teams in K League 2 will compete.
While Gimpo FC clinched third place early, Gyeongnam FC, Bucheon FC and Jeonnam FC survived the last-minute battle for the fourth and fifth spots.
Gyeongnam, who were in the most favorable position for fourth place, secured a 1-0 win away to Gimpo FC with a goal from Park Min-seo in the 21st minute of the second half to clinch fourth place on their own (57-54 points).
In the match between fifth-ranked Bucheon and sixth-ranked Jeonnam at the Bucheon Sports Complex, Bucheon came from behind to win 4-1 behind Ahn Jae-jun’s hat trick to move into fifth place (57-45 points).
The teams traded goals in the first half, with Valdivia scoring a penalty kick in the 21st minute for Jeonnam and Nilsson Jr. scoring a penalty kick in the 37th minute for Bucheon.
In the second half, Ahn Jae-joon and Cho Soo-cheol showed fantastic chemistry to lead Bucheon to the Promotion PO.
In the 15th and 32nd minutes of the second half, the duo scored two goals in quick succession as Cho’s penetrating passes were finished by the speedy Ahn Jae-jun on the right side of the goal area.
Ahn sealed the victory for Bucheon in the 53rd minute when he beat a defender and made a quick run to the opposing goal before firing a chip shot over the goalkeeper. It was Ahn’s 11th goal of the season.
Jeonnam will have to finish the season in seventh place (54 points) after losing the sixth spot to FC Anyang, who won 2-1 against Cheonan City FC earlier in the day.
The promotion semi-finals between Gyeongnam and Bucheon will be held at the Changwon Football Center, home of Gyeongnam, on May 29.
The winner of that match will host third-place Gimpo in the Promotion PO on May 2. 토토사이트