The K League One table is in flux. The summer transfer window has seen a major upheaval, with bottom-placed Gangwon FC, Daejeon Hana Citizen and Incheon United catching teams in the top half of the table, from leaders Ulsan Hyundai to FC Seoul and Daegu FC.
온라인바카라 Gangwon beat Ulsan 2-0 in the 26th round of the K League One at Gangneung Sports Complex on Wednesday to move off the bottom of the table, ahead of Suwon Samseong, who drew with Jeonbuk Hyundai earlier in the day. It was the first win for Gangwon since Yoon Jeong-hwan, who took over on 15 June, after five draws and two defeats in seven games, and the club escaped a 15-match winless streak (seven draws and eight defeats).
The game was dominated by transfers. Gabriel, who joined Gangwon last month, set up Lee Min-woo’s first goal with a clever heel pass on the counter-attack in the 37th minute, and then sealed the win in second-half stoppage time when he converted a penalty that Yago had earned himself. Defender Lee Ji-sol, who joined the team from Jeju United, also kept a clean sheet after coming on in the 19th minute of the second half.
The upsets continued the next day. Ninth-placed Incheon rode the return of “Pangum’s Finisher” Mugosa to a 3-1 win over sixth-placed Daegu to move into seventh place and within striking distance of the top split. Mugosa scored his first goal in the K League after a 417-day absence since June last year with a powerful right-footed finish from a Jerso pass inside the penalty box in the 22nd minute, and set up Jerso’s goal in first-half stoppage time with a defence-breaking through ball.
Incheon, which won four and drew one last month, saw its unbeaten run come to an end with a 0-2 loss to Jeonbuk in the 25th round on 6 June, but Mugosa kept the momentum going with a goal in his second game back after linking up with Gerso.
Incheon United’s Mugosa celebrates scoring the opening goal during the K League 1 Round 26 match against Daegu FC at the Incheon Football Stadium on 13 November. Courtesy of Incheon United
Eighth-placed Daejeon leapfrogged into sixth place with a hard-fought 4-3 win over Seoul. Trailing 3-2 in second-half stoppage time, defender Kang Yun-sung drove down the left flank and scored the fourth goal of the game to break the deadlock. Kang Yun-sung joined Daejeon from his original club Jeju in June after completing his military service with Gimcheon Commerce.
With seven games left in the regular round (Round 33), the mid-table battle for the top two spots is heating up. Only four points separate fourth-placed Seoul from ninth-placed Daegu, so the standings can change from round to round. From round 34, the top split will play the top six teams in Final A and the bottom split will play the bottom six teams in Final B for five rounds.
Kim Dae-gil, a KBSN sports commentator, told The Seoul Shinmun, “There are many variables in the summer, such as the effect of player recruitment and the decline in physical fitness due to the heat. “The key points to watch are whether Gwangju FC, a promoted team, and Daejeon will join Final A, and the final ranking of Incheon, whose attacking energy has been strengthened by the addition of Mugosa,” he said.