The relegation zone in the K League has been shaken up again. In the 26th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 on the 12th, the bottom three teams – 10th-ranked Suwon FC, 11th-ranked Suwon Samsung, and 12th-ranked Gangwon FC – were in action at the same time. Due to the tight point differential, the outcome of a single game can change the outlook, and that was the case on this day.
First, the last place changed hands. Suwon dropped back to last place, while Kangwon jumped to 11th. Suwon drew 1-1 with Jeonbuk Hyundai at Jeonju World Cup Stadium. They picked up a point, taking their tally to 19 points. Suwon, who had been completely outclassed in their previous 15 matches with just one win, two draws, and 12 losses, played a gritty game, taking the lead through Han Ho-gang’s early goal, to earn a valuable point away from home. With Kangwon traveling to “nemesis” Ulsan Hyundai next, it looked like Suwon would hold onto 11th place.
Then came the upset. Gangwon upset the odds with a 2-0 victory over ‘absolute favorites’ Ulsan Hyundai. It was the first time Gangwon had defeated Ulsan at home since its inception. Kangwon broke a 25-match Ulsan jinx. With the win, Gangwon moved to the 20-point plateau in the standings. They reclaimed the 11th spot they briefly lost to Suwon.
While the bottom two teams picked up points, 10th-place Suwon FC failed to accumulate any. They faced Jeju United at Jeju World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. and suffered a 0-3 defeat. Coming off a win in the Suwon derby against Suwon in the previous round, Suwon FC failed to capitalize on early chances, conceding two goals to Yuri Jonatan and back-to-back goals to Hayes. The absence of Lars, who was suspended for drunk driving, was greatly felt. The loss leaves Suwon with 23 points and one game in hand on Gangwon.
With the loss, Suwon’s relegation is now locked in. In fact, if Suwon had caught Jeju, they could have cut the gap to 9th place to 5 points. This season, 메이저놀이터 the K League 1 is a “1+2” league, meaning that up to three teams can be relegated to the second division. The bottom team will be relegated directly, while the 11th and 10th place finishers will face the winners of the K League 2 3-5 team playoffs and a relegation playoff to determine their fate. With a double-digit point gap to the ninth-placed team, it’s effectively down to a three-team battle. Immediately, the relegation zone could change once again depending on the outcome of the match between Gangwon and Suwon FC at Gangneung Sports Complex on April 19.