[Preview] Playoff races go down to the wire

[Preview] Playoff races go down to the wire

The race to secure championship playoff positions in all three main leagues in the Korean football set-up looks like they will go down to the wire as the 2010 regular season draws to a close. FootKorean takes a closer look at the current standings ahead of this weekend’s important matches:


Jeju United remain at the top of the standings on 54 points from their 25 matches following their 1-1 draw with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at the weekend. They are closely followed by FC Seoul in second place on 52 points and with a game in hand after Nelo Vingada’s side came from behind to defeat Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i 2-1. With a gap of nine points separating the capital club from their nearest challengers in third place then both sides appear to have booked qualification for the 2011 AFC Champions League and will battle it out with each other to finish top of the pile and book the one automatic spot in December’s K-League championship final.

Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, who have the AFC Champions League final to look forward to in mid-November, lead the way in the race for third spot but their goalless draw with Daejeon Citizen on Friday saw them miss the opportunity to create a cushion between them and the three sides immediately behind them. Seongnam currently lie third on 43 points, level on points with fourth-placed Gyeongnam who were held 1-1 at home by Gangwon at the weekend. Jeonbuk sit a point behind in fifth with Ulsan sixth on 41 points but crucially having played a game more than the three sides directly above them. Suwon Samsung Bluewings remain the only side with realistic hopes of breaking into the top six before the end of the season, however they lie seven points behind Ulsan and it would take an improbable set of results for the Bluewings to make the playoffs.

The post-season championship playoffs will see third take on sixth and fourth take on fifth, with the winners then playing off against each other for the right to play the second-placed team in the playoff semi-finals. The side that prevails will then take on the team that topped the regular season standings in a two-legged championship final to determine the 2010 K-League champions.


National League

Daejeon Hydro & Nuclear Power booked their spot in the post-season championship playoffs as they topped the standings at the end of the first stage of the 2010 season. Gangneung City currently lead the way in the second stage on the 20 point mark, ahead of Suwon City on goals scored as both sides are level on goal difference. With five rounds of matches to go just six points separates first from eighth, so a number of sides remain in the hunt for playoff qualification through stage victory.

The National League playoff set-up also gives two spots to the two sides with the best combined records, positions currently held by Busan Transportation Corporation (first with 42 points) and Ulsan Mipo Dockyard (third with 39 points). Things remain incredibly close in those standings too with Gangneung sitting second on 41 points and even Incheon Korail, on 35 points and down in ninth, retain hopes of qualifying for the championship playoffs.

K3 League

The playoff positions in Group A of the K3 League have already been decided, with Samcheok Sinwoo Electronics guaranteed to finish first and Gyeongju Citizen already having secured second place. Icheon Citizen require just one point from their final two matches to wrap up top spot in Group B, and it is between Pocheon (second on 46 points) and Yangju Citizen (third on 45 points) for the second playoff spot.

Samcheok will take on the runners-up in Group B which will almost certainly see them face either Pocheon or Yangju, whilst Gyeongju should travel through to play Icheon in the other semi-final. The two winners will then face each other on a home-and-away basis to decide the 2010 K3 League champions.

University League

The University League championship playoffs kick off on October 21st with 32 sides having qualified from the regular league season. All ties will be played at the Yongin Football Centre on October 21st and 22nd, with the last sixteen on October 23rd & 24th before the quarter-final stage takes place on October 29th. The semi-finals will be on October 31st, with the championship final scheduled to take place on November 5th.


Suwon Facilities Management Corporation FC won the 2010 Korea Women’s Football League championship on September 30th as they secured a 2-1 aggregate championship playoff final win over Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels at the Busan Gudeok stadium.


K-League Reserve League

With the 2010 K-League Reserve League season split into two separate leagues, FC Seoul and Pohang Steelers emerged victorious in the respective sections to claim the crown of reserve champions. FC Seoul finished three points clear of Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma to top Group A, whilst Pohang edged Gyeongnam into second place to top Group B.

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