Split War expected on Sunday in the K-League

25 Aug

Now, this is not just going to be ordinary football. South Korean football fans are expecting to see some drama on Sunday in the domestic K-League.

K-League introduced the split system this season. In this system, after 16 teams play 30 regular rounds, the league will be split into two groups; the Group A, which consists of top eight, will compete for the league trophy and the 3 AFC Champions League tickets while the Group B, made up of bottom eight teams, will fight to escape from relegation.

With the Round 30 scheduled to kick off simultaneously on this Sunday evening, fans are excited to see who will end up in which group.

In fact, seven teams have reserved their places in the Group A, and 4 teams are competing for the last spot in the Group A. Incheon United and Daegu FC have 39 points respectively but Incheon United is currently ranked above at 8th with better goal difference record. Gyeongnam FC has 37 points while underachieving giant Seongnam is clinging to the last hope with 36 points.

Obviously, it is Incheon United that has the momentum here. Weeks ago, Incheon was sitting on the bottom of the table and had not won any in the last 12 matches. Coach Huh Jung-Moo, who led South Korea to last 16 in the 2010 World Cup, had to step down and assistant manager Kim Bong-Kil replaced him as a caretaker with such burden. However, Kim Bong-Kil has shown some magic, and now the United could even compete for the AFC Champions League ticket if they secure the 8th place. Incheon has won the last 5 games consecutively and Thursday’s victory
against the reigning champion Jeonbuk was the climax showing Incheon’s determination and confidence.

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Daegu FC, ranked at 9th, cannot let this opportunity slip away. Before the season, Daegu appointed Moacir Pereira, who had been working for the Brazil U-23 team as the assistant manager. He brought with him quality Breazilians, such as Leandrinho who featured in the Brazil U-20 team and has shown “Moacir Magic”. Earlier this season, Daegu was one of the most impressive teams and although recent form is not as good, Daegu has been constantly staying in the middle of the table. Daegu FC cannot just pass on this opportunity.

For Gyeongnam FC, a place in the Group A could mean some breakthrough. Gyeongnam has had some inner problems throughout this season. As the main sponsor STX was financially struggling, Gyeongnam had to reduce
the budget significantly. In the process, there were some conflicts as the club tried to fire some staff and refused to propose contract extension to the legendary goalie Kim Byung-Ji. However, a place in the top 8 could clear up some problems for the club.

Seongnam has been embarrassing this season. One of the highest spenders, Seongnam was aiming for a treble before the season. After early exits in both the AFC Champions League and the FA Cup, Seongnam needs to chase at least the Champions League ticket. However, a failure to drive into the Group A would mean one of the worst seasons in the club’s history.

Four desperate clubs chasing one last ticket. Everything will be decided in 90 minutes. South Korean fans are about to witness one of the most thrilling moments in the history of domestic football.

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