Professional soccer’s K League 2 Busan I-Park took a step closer to returning to the top flight after four years with a thrilling upset win over Bucheon FC.
Busan defeated Bucheon 2-1 at home in the 37th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2 2023 at Busan Asiadju Stadium on Sept. 29.
With the win, leader Busan (20 wins, 9 draws and 5 losses) increased its points to 69.
They are now five points clear of second-place Gimcheon Commerce (64-20 W, 4 D, 9 L), who host Gimpo FC next.
With two games remaining until the end of the season, Busan is in a strong position to win the title.
If Busan, which finished last in the 2020 K League 1 and slipped to the second division, wins the title, it will return to the top division for the first time in four years.
The winner of this year’s K-League 2 gets automatic promotion to K-League 1, while the runner-up will play a promotion playoff (PO) against the 11th-place team in K-League 1.
Bucheon (15 wins, 9 draws and 11 losses – 54 points), on the other hand, maintained its fourth-place position but failed to close the gap on fifth-place Gyeongnam FC (53 points) and sixth-place Jeonnam Dragons (50 points).
It was Bucheon who had the first laugh, with a lucky goal.
In the 29th minute, captain Kim Honam’s mid-range shot from the corner of the penalty area hit Lim Min-hyuk, deflected, and took a trajectory that the goalkeeper couldn’t handle and was sucked into the goal.
After regrouping at halftime, Busan attacked early in the second half and scored the next two goals.
Busan, which tied the game with Choi Joon’s consolation goal in the 24th minute of the second half, completed the upset when Ramas calmly converted a penalty kick in the 40th minute after Jung Hee-woong was adjudged to have committed a handball foul while trying to block a cross.
Earlier in the day, Jeonnam kept their hopes of qualifying for the semifinals alive with a 3-0 home win over Chungbuk Cheongju FC.
With 15 wins, five draws, and 14 losses, Jeonnam climbed above the 50-point mark and into sixth place. In K League 2, the fifth-place team will play the fourth-place team in the semi-finals, followed by the third-place team, and the winner will play the 10th-place team from K League 1 in another relegation playoff.
Currently in fifth place is Gyeongnam FC (14 wins, 11 draws, 9 losses – 53 points), with a goal difference of three points over Jeonnam. With two games remaining until the end of the season, Jeonnam could still pull off an upset depending on their remaining schedule results.
On the other hand, Chungbuk Cheongju (8th-12th-12th), who stopped at 48 points, suffered their 10th loss of the season and saw their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals drop significantly.
Jeonnam took the lead with a ‘one-two’ from Plana.
In the 37th minute, Valdivia, who broke down the left flank, sent in a cross with his right foot, and Plana finished with a left-footed volley that rattled the net.
Five minutes into the second half, Valdivia’s penetrating pass was intercepted by Lee Yong-jae, who saw a diving goalkeeper advancing to narrow the angle and flicked the ball home to make it 2-0.
Thirteen minutes later, Jeonnam drove a wedge into the match when Hanam’s header from Valdivia’s corner kick cross bounced off the body of Noh Gun-woo in the box and crossed the goal line. 토토사이트