Last weekend finally confirmed Seongnam FC’s place in the 2020 K-League One as they came back from Sangju 1-0 winners courtesy of a second half Seo Bo-min strike. There was no change at the foot of the table as Gyeongnam and Jeju drew 2-2 while Incheon came from behind against Bluewings to snatch a share of the points in the 90th minute. As well as securing Seongnam’s safety those results also mean that as we head into the final three games there is only the solitary point between Incheon and Gyeongnam in the battle to avoid the playoffs.
This weekend the Relegation Group play on the Saturday with Incheon travelling to Jeju and Gyeongnam hosting Sangju…..both of which come after the Bluewings v Seongnam Derby which kicks off at 2pm.
Bluewings vs Seongnam (2pm)
Seongnam come to town on the back of two victories and one draw in their clashes with their bitter rivals so far this year. The last clash was a pretty drab 0-0 at Tancheon although if that game was boring the previous match at The Big Bird had everything from a red card to a late winner and even some rubber chicken shenanigans in the away end (I think I might still be banned). There are only 3pts separating the two teams and the Seongnam fans would love nothing better than to finish above the team they so lovingly dub “The Chickenwings”. As mentioned above they did win last weekend but it was pretty much a ‘smash and grab’ job as they were on the backfoot for most of the game and once again looked lost without the movement of Eder. Bluewings traveled to Incheon last weekend and after a 22nd minute Taggart strike looked to be on course for an easy victory, they were unable to kill the game off however and Myung Jun-jae’s equalizer for the hosts was fully deserved. With both teams having nothing to play for we might get to see some new, and maybe some old, faces especially with Bluewings having the FA Cup next week.
Jeju United vs Incheon United (4pm)
Fresh from their comeback against Bluwewings it’s time for Incheon to pack their suitcases and fly down to Jeju for a clash that were they to get even a point from would see them avoid automatic relegation. Jeju have looked like a team that has resigned themselves to visits to and from Bucheon FC next season which to be honest for those of us with longer memories is something for the neutral to look forward to given their history. Last weekend against Gyeongnam the Islanders twice took the lead only to be pegged back both times and it’s that lack of belief/killer instinct that has haunted the men in orange all season. Incheon on the other hand look like a team that will not go down without a fight and followed up their victory over Seongnam with that spirited draw against Bluewings. They actually had the ball in the net twice but the first was chopped off for offside. They have players that can exploit lapses in concentration and gaps in midfield and with Mugosa up front they don’t need too many chances to punish their opponents. Over 11,000 fans turned up for the Incheon v Bluewings game and the football fan in me wants to see them remain up to see if they can keep pulling in the crowds as there are fewer better places on match day than a busy Incheon Football Stadium.
Kicking off at 6pm, Gyeongnam will be hoping for a draw in the Jeju-Incheon match and the chance to leapfrog Incheon while avoiding automatic relegation. They continue to be the league’s enigma as they really do have a squad that should be fighting near the other end of the table instead of wrestling for scraps at the bottom. Summer signing Deric continued his rich vein of form as he scored their first against Jeju for his 8th goal in 14 games. It would be a Kim Won-il OG that would finally earn them the draw but from the looks of things it was more a case of when and not if the second equalizer would come. Sangju are, of course, already safe and despite putting in a commanding first half display against Seongnam finished on the losing end. The applications are in for their squad next season with Jeonbuk’s Moon Seon-min probably being the highest profile name. They have lost some of their more influential players but do still have Incheon’s Park Yong-ji on their books and he might just want to guarantee that he’s playing K1 football next year. We’ve seen two draws and a Sangju victory when the teams have met this year, another close game is on the cards.