Gwangju FC, the ‘promoted team’ of professional soccer K-League 1, is dreaming of a fairy tale like Leicester City, which won a miracle in the English Premier League (EPL). From the first game of Final A, they have continued to create a storm by beating first-place Ulsan Hyundai, creating an uproar in the league.
Gwangju coach Lee Jeong-hyo said after winning the K League 2 (second division) last year, “I heard that Leicester City’s probability of winning in 2016 was 0.02%. “I thought there was nothing we couldn’t do someday,” he said. In the 2015-2016 season, Leicester City reached the top of the EPL for the first time in 132 years since its founding. Leicester City’s victory, which narrowly avoided relegation the previous season, brought hope and emotion to many soccer fans.도메인
Gwangju is showing the actions of a ‘Korean version of Leicester City’ in this year’s K League 1. We entered the season with the attitude of a challenger and advanced to Final A in 3rd place. In the 34th round match against Ulsan held at Gwangju Soccer Stadium on the 21st, thanks to Lee Kun-hee’s dramatic winning goal, they won 1-0 and reached the 57-point mark. Gwangju became the only team to beat Ulsan twice this year, following a 2-0 win last month.
Gwangju’s entire team is united as one and looking to higher heights. Captain Ahn Young-gyu said, “We prepare with only one upcoming game in mind each week.” He added, “All players are not satisfied with their current performance and desire growth. “I think that kind of earnestness is strength,” he said. Coach Lee said, “It is everyone’s first time in the first division, but we promised to continue challenging ourselves ahead of this season. “We shared that if we take on the challenge with courage, we will reach the rank we aim for,” he said.
Gwangju has 4 games left in Final A. They are closely following the second-place Pohang Steelers (59 points). The possibility of advancing to the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) for the first time in the club’s history has also increased. Although it is not realistically easy to surpass leader Ulsan (67 points) and win, runner-up is a very possible scenario.
The best performance in the first year of any promoted professional soccer team is runner-up. In 2018, Gyeongnam FC took second place in Final A. Gwangju will meet Incheon United, Daegu FC, Jeonbuk Hyundai, and Pohang in order in the remaining games.
Meanwhile, in the Final B match, 12th place Suwon Samsung (25 points) was pushed to the brink by losing 0-2 to Jeju United on the 22nd. Suwon, which failed to get out of last place, has a high probability of being automatically relegated to K League 2. Gangwon FC (11th place, 26 points) also failed to smile as they lost 1-2 to FC Seoul on this day.