Suwon ‘escapes last place for the first time in 104 days’ in K League 1 relegation battle

After more than 100 days at the bottom of the K League 1 table (12th), Suwon Samsung has finally escaped the bottom. The once overwhelmingly last-place Suwon has moved up to 11th place, making the race for survival even more intense.

Suwon won 2-1 away from home against Gangwon FC in the 24th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at Gangneung Sports Complex in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 22. With the win, Suwon improved to 18 points (4W6D14L), knocking Gangwon, who remained at 16 points (2W10D12L), to the bottom of the table, and escaped from the bottom after “104 days” since April 9.

It was Suwon who took the lead first. In the 22nd minute, Lee Sang-min’s cross from the right was met on the left inside the Gangwon penalty box by Kim Joo-chan, who got in front of the defense and fired a right-footed curling shot that hit the crossbar. However, Gangwon equalized in the 40th minute through Shin Min-woo, who slotted a pass from Kim Young-bin into the back of the net with the outside of his right foot from inside the Suwon box.

Suwon had the last laugh. In the 15th minute of the second half, Suwon regained the lead when Go Seung-bum took a cutback pass from Jeon Jin-woo inside the opponent’s box and took a right-footed shot that hit the crossbar and went into the goal. The goal proved to be the game-winner and helped Suwon escape the bottom of the table.

Suwon had one of the most disastrous first halves of the season. In their opening 10 games, they drew two, lost eight, and picked up just two points. In the meantime, head coach Lee Byung-geun was fired and acting coach Choi Sung-yong took over.

After a narrow first win against Incheon United in Round 11 on May 5, Suwon looked to rebound with the appointment of Kim Byung-soo, a renowned tactician in the K League, as their new head coach. However, the team managed just one win (1 draw and 6 losses) in over a month, from the Round 12 match against Jeonbuk Hyundai on May 10 to the Round 19 Super Match against FC Seoul on June 24. The K League 1 plays 38 regular-season games in a season, and Suwon had played half that number, 19, with only two wins.

That changed for Suwon. After a string of draws against powerhouses Daegu FC, Daejeon Hana Citizen, and Pohang Steelers, the team pulled off an upset with a 3-1 victory over leader Ulsan Hyundai on the 15th. On the 22nd, they beat Gangwon for their first back-to-back wins of the season to escape the bottom of the table. Gangwon was also looking to rebound after firing coach Choi Yong-soo and appointing Yoon Jeong-hwan, but they were unable to make much of an impact and allowed Suwon to overtake them in the standings.

K League 1 teams need to secure at least a ninth-place finish to secure retention based on regular-season standings alone. However, the gap between 9th-place Jeju United (30 points) and 10th-place Suwon FC (20 points) is 10 points, which is not easy to overturn anytime soon. 토토사이트

Therefore, the primary goal for the “relegation trio” of Suwon FC, Suwon Samsung, and Gangwon is to avoid the bottom of the table. While the 12th place finisher in K League 1 is automatically relegated to K League 2 next season, the 10th and 11th place finishers get the last chance to stay in a relegation playoff against a K League 2 team. All three teams are within two points of each other, so their positions could change every round. Avoiding the bottom of the table for now

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