The race for mid-table in the K League 1 this season is in chaos.
The regular season is coming to a close. All 12 teams have played 28 games, with five games remaining in the regular round. This is a crucial time for all teams, as the 34th round will decide the fate of Final A (1st-6th) and Final B (7th-12th).
However, the mid-table standings are still up in the air. While first-place Ulsan Hyundai (61 points) continues to dominate, and second-place Pohang Steelers (50 points) has amassed enough points to stabilize, the teams below them are still in the mix. No more than seven points separate third-place Gwangju FC (42) and ninth-place Jeju United (34), meaning that any of them could be in contention for an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) ticket.
In Round 28, promoted Gwangju and Daejeon Hana Citizens shook up the standings. Gwangju moved up to third place (39 points) with a 4-0 win over Suwon Samseong on the 27th. Jeonbuk Hyundai (42 points) dropped to fourth, while another promoted team, Daejeon Hana (8th – 37 points), made a strong showing in a 1-1 tie with Jeonbuk on the 25th.
Fifth-ranked FC Seoul (40 points) and sixth-ranked Incheon United (40 points, 33 points) also have a large stake in the mid-table movement. Seoul showed signs of rebounding with a 2-2 draw at Ulsan on Nov. 27, the first game under acting head coach Kim Jin-gyu. Incheon also extended its unbeaten streak to three games with a 2-1 victory over Suwon FC on the 25th. The rise of the two teams is making the battle for mid-table even more intense.
The gap between seventh and ninth place is also tight. Daegu FC (38 points), Daejeon Hana, and Jeju all remain in the hunt for a spot in the ACL alongside their Final A counterparts. With all three teams capable of rising at any time, even the top teams can’t rest easy. 온라인카지노
The fierce mid-table battle is also helping to boost the K League 1 box office. According to the Korea Professional Football Association, this season’s K League 1 averaged 10,000 fans per game in the first half. This is the highest attendance since 2013, when the promotion system was introduced. Fans come to the stadiums to witness the ups and downs of the standings and to experience the thrill of the game. This is what makes the K League 1 so appealing as an ‘unexpected league’.