K-League 29th matchday: Playoff positions go down to the wire

K-League 29th matchday: Playoff positions go down to the wire

The six teams that will take part in the post-season K-League championship playoff series were confirmed last night, however the fight to determine which sides will occupy each position will go to the final round of fixtures this Sunday after Suwon Samsung Bluewings were finally ruled out of the playoff running.

Suwon had failed to win in their previous eleven league visits to the Daejeon World Cup stadium, and they fell behind to Daejeon Citizen in the 41st minute after Fabio Rogerio Correia Lopes opened the scoring for the home side. Hwang Jae-won levelled for the Bluewings two minutes after the half-time interval but the point wasn’t enough to keep their playoff hopes alive.

FC Seoul took advantage of Jeju United having the night off to leapfrog their southern rivals to top spot in the league. Lee Seung-ryul put FC Seoul ahead away to AFC Champions League finalists Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, but they were pegged back in the 16th minute after Jo Dong-keun netted his second of the season. Jung Jo-guk’s 27th minute goal proved the difference between the sides and put FC Seoul in pole position to secure a guaranteed berth in the championship playoff final.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors remain third despite going down to a Jung Sung-hoon goal in what could be Hwang Sun-hong’s last match in charge of Busan I’Park, whilst Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i made sure of their playoff place in emphatic style by crushing basement side Daegu FC 5-0.

A 30th minute goal from Song Jung-hyun gave Chunnam Dragons victory away to Gwangju Sangmu Phoenix, a result that saw Sangmu end their relationship with the city of Gwangju on a losing note and a match that was played in front of the lowest crowd of the 2010 season so far with just 1,019 spectators in attendance.

Pohang Steelers recorded a morale boosting victory as they defeated championship hopefuls Gyeongnam 3-0 at home, whilst Gangwon FC came from behind to record their second consecutive victory as efforts from Kim Young-hu, Seo Dong-hyun and Ahn Sung-nam overturned Samir Begric’s opener for home side Incheon United.

K-League Results (Wednesday November 3rd, 2010)
Pohang 3-0 Gyeongnam
Ulsan 5-0 Daegu
Daejeon 1-1 Suwon
Gwangju 0-1 Chunnam
Busan 1-0 Jeonbuk
Seongnam 1-2 FC Seoul
Incheon 1-3 Gangwon

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Four sides remain in contention for the final three playoff spots in the National League ahead of the final round of fixtures this Friday after Cheonan City and Ulsan Mipo Dockyard were finally ruled out of the running following Tuesday night’s penultimate round of fixtures.

Gangneung City’s 3-1 win over Ulsan Mipo moved the defending champions top of both the second stage and combined rankings table, whilst at the same time eliminated the visiting side from the playoff race. With Gangneung visiting a Yesan side that have lost all thirteen of their second stage matches on the final day of fixtures this Friday they look a safe bet to qualify for the playoffs as second stage winners.

Suwon City remain well placed to capitalise on any Gangneung slip-up as a Yoon Dong-min header gave them victory at home to Cheonan City. Suwon lie second in the second stage on goal difference but travel through to face mid-table Changwon City on Friday in a game they have to win to have any hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Busan Transportation Corporation and Goyang Kookmin Bank are the two other sides with playoff ambitions and both picked up 2-1 victories on Tuesday. Busan left it late to turn things around at home to Ansan Hallelujah, as an 83rd minute Park Joon-hong equaliser and a Jang Ji-su winner three minutes into injury time overturned Yoon Hyung-tae’s opener for the visitors and kept their playoff hipes alive to the final day. Goyang Kookmin Bank also left it late away to first stage winners Daejeon Hydro & Nuclear Power, Jo Young-min scoring in injury time to give the visitors a 2-1 victory.

Gangneung remain favourites to win the second stage as they should comfortably see off the challenge of Yesan to top the standings. Goyang travel to face second-bottom Mokpo in a match which they should win with little difficulty, whilst Suwon City will start as favourites in their match away to Changwon City although they will have to work hard to pick up the three points they require. Busan have on paper the most difficult match as they travel to face a Chungju Hummel side who still have an extremely slim chance of topping the second stage should they win and both Gangneung and Suwon suffer heavy defeats.

The championship playoff semi-finals will take place on November 12th, with the two-legged final taking place on November 16th and 19th.

National League Results (Tuesday November 2nd, 2010)
Suwon City 1-0 Cheonan City
Mokpo City 0-1 Changwon City
Chungju Hummel 3-1 Incheon Korail
Yesan 1-2 Gimhae City
Busan TC 2-1 Ansan Hallelujah
Daejeon HNP 1-2 Goyang KB
Gangneung City 3-1 Ulsan Mipo

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