Gyeongnam withstands Bucheon offense, advances to K League 2 PO for second straight year

Gyeongnam FC has advanced to the K League 2 playoffs after defeating Bucheon FC. They will face Gimpo FC in a one-game playoff for promotion.

Gyeongnam, led by head coach Seol Ki-hyun, played Bucheon to a scoreless draw in the Hana OneQ K League 2 203 semi-finals (single-leg) at the Changwon Football Center at 7 p.m. on the 29th.

Gyeongnam qualified for the playoffs by virtue of the rule that the team with the higher regular-season ranking advances to the next round without extra time if the teams fail to tie in regulation time. Gyeongnam finished fourth and Bucheon fifth in the regular season.

As a result, Gyeongnam will play Gimpo, who finished third in the regular season, in the K League 2 playoffs on March 2 at 4:30 p.m. at Gimpo Salt Soccer. The winner of the playoffs will earn a spot in the promotion playoffs for the right to play in the K League 1 next season.

The playoffs between Gimpo and Gyeongnam will also be played in regulation time with no overtime to determine the winners of the relegation playoffs. This time, unlike the semifinals, Gyeongnam will need to score and win, while Gimpo will only need a draw to qualify for the relegation playoffs.

Last year, Gyeongnam faced Bucheon in the semifinals and won 3-2 to advance to the playoffs, but lost to FC Anyang and failed to advance to the relegation playoffs. This year, however, they once again qualified for the K League Two playoffs, keeping their promotion dream alive. Bucheon, on the other hand, was knocked out by Gyeongnam in the semifinals for the second year in a row.

The winner of the K League 2 playoff between Gimpo and Gyeongnam will face the 10th-ranked team in K League 1 (TBA) in two relegation playoffs (home & away) next month on the 6th (home) and 9th (away) to determine whether they will be promoted to K League 1 next season.

Needing to score a goal and win, Bucheon took the initiative. They increased their ball share and looked for gaps in Gyeongnam’s defense, but Gyeongnam’s defense was too strong. Bucheon was desperate for a goal, but only managed three shots in the first half. None of them were aimed at the inside of the goal. Ahn Jae-jun had to come on in the 35th minute due to an injury to foreign striker Lupeta.

The second half was more of the same. Bucheon maintained around 60% ball possession and pounded on the Gyeongnam goal. In the 24th minute of the second half, Kim Kyu-min, Park Hom-min, and Kim Jun-hyung were introduced at the same time. Gyeongnam also brought on Castro, Won Ki-jong, and Park Min-seo, looking for a counterattack after a solid defense.

Bucheon’s goal didn’t come. In the 42nd minute, Nilsson Junior’s right-footed free kick was saved by goalkeeper Ko Dong-min. The referee’s final whistle ended the match in a 0-0 draw. Gyeongnam was the team heading into the K League 2 playoffs.

On the day, Bucheon dominated the game with over 60 percent of the possession in the second half, but were unable to score a goal. They were outshot by four, 11-7, but only one of their shots found the back of the net.

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