Déjà vu. Gyeongnam FC and Bucheon FC1995, both seeking promotion to the K League 1, meet again on a wooden bridge.
Gyeongnam and Bucheon will play the K League Two 2023 Semi-Playoffs (PO) at the Changwon Football Center on the 29th at 7pm. It’s a single-elimination game. If the PO ends in a draw, the winner will be the team with the highest ranking without extra time.
Gyeongnam, which finished the regular season in fourth place, has a number of advantages over fifth-place Bucheon. Gyeongnam only needs a draw to advance to the PO. Bucheon, on the other hand, must win away to advance to the next stage. The winner of the semi-PO will face third-placed Gimpo FC at Gimpo Solter Stadium on March 2 to determine the challenger for the promotion PO.
It’s another meeting between two teams at the first gateway to promotion. Bucheon and Gyeongnam also met in the semi-finals last year, with the match taking place at Bucheon’s Anbang, and Gyeongnam coming away with a thrilling win thanks to a Thiago (Daejeon Hana Citizen) header just before the end of the match. However, Gyeongnam, who also beat Bucheon at the time, failed to advance to the promotion PO as they drew with FC Anyang in the PO.
Both teams have been on a roll of late, as they look to overcome each other this time around. Gyeongnam hasn’t lost since last month’s 1-0 loss to Busan I-Park. They are unbeaten in their last five matches (3 wins, 2 draws). In addition to Gleison (13 goals), the fourth-leading scorer in K League 2, they have “killers” in Won Ki-jong (10 goals) and Mo Jae-hyun (6 goals). Midfielder Park Min-seo is also in fine form, having scored in back-to-back games recently.
Most importantly, Gyeongnam has reached the semi-finals twice since Seol Ki-hyun took over as head coach in 2020 and has never lost.
Bucheon raised the bar with a 4-1 victory over the Jeonnam Dragons in the final regular season match on April 26. Ahn Jae-joon, who helped the team win gold at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, scored a hat trick against Jeonnam, while “goal-scoring defender” Nilsson Jr. (five goals) continued to find the back of the net. Bucheon, which struggled last season, has two wins and one loss in three meetings with Gyeongnam this year. 무지개토토
Ahead of the crucial match, Gyeongnam head coach Seol Ki-hyun said in a press release, “We play Bucheon often, so we’re used to it. Last year, we were in a must-win position against Bucheon, but this time, I think we have a little more advantage because we are facing them at home as the fourth-ranked team.” “In the semifinals, we need to take care of not only the result but also the content so that we can get results in the PO and promotion PO,” he emphasized.
Bucheon coach Lee Young-min said, “We’re playing Gyeongnam in the semi-finals again, and of course we want to avenge last year’s result. However, we will focus on this one match and study and prepare to win. We will do our best,” he said.