In a 10-man battle, bottom-ranked Suwon Samsung (12th place – 29 points) kept their hopes of staying up alive with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over fellow local club Suwon FC (10th place – 32 points).
Suwon defeated Suwon FC 3-2 away from home in the 36th round of the K League One 2023 Final B (teams ranked 7th-12th) at Suwon Stadium on Wednesday. Suwon had lost to Suwon FC in all three “Suwon Derby” meetings this season, but they were victorious in the last encounter.
Eleventh-ranked Gangwon FC (30 points) had beaten Daejeon Hana Citizens (8th-ranked – 47 points) 1-0 away the previous day to extend their lead over Suwon to four points, but Suwon’s three points on the day narrowed the gap back to one. Suwon FC also joined the two-way battle between Suwon and Gangwon, who are battling for the title.
Any team that fails to secure a win in their remaining two matches will be automatically relegated to the K League 2 next season. The 10th and 11th-place teams will also play a relegation playoff (PO) against a K League 2 team to determine their fate.
Suwon was outnumbered by Kazuki’s sending off in the 14th minute of the first half. Disadvantaged by the early and unexpected dismissal, Suwon seemed to crumble as they conceded the first goal to Hugo Gomes in the 30th minute, but a first-half consolation goal in stoppage time made it 1-1 at the break.
Suwon fought back to take the lead in the eighth minute of the second half through Ahn Byung-joon’s mid-range shot, but seven minutes later, Suwon FC forward Kim Hyun equalized to make it 2-2.
It was Suwon who had the last laugh in a back-and-forth affair. In the 33rd minute of the second half, Kim Joo-chan scored the game-winning goal with his foot on Mulicic’s exquisite pass. “I just wanted to get this win,” said Kim, who saved his team from relegation, after the game.
Suwon’s acting head coach Yeom Ki-hoon was delighted, saying, “Despite being one man short, the players gave everything they had on the field,” adding, “It’s an unbelievable victory.”
Suwon fans, who enthusiastically supported their team in the cold, shared their joy with the players by unfurling a banner that read, “Suwon has always been strong in crisis. 무지개토토 주소
Ulsan Hyundai (1st – 73 points), who have secured the title this season, won the ‘East Coast Derby’ at home against the second-placed Pohang Steelers (60 points) 3-2. Ulsan forward Lee In-gyu scored the team’s third goal to move into a tie with Daejeon Thiago for the league lead in goals (16).
Fourth-ranked Jeonbuk Hyundai (54 points) and fifth-ranked Incheon United (53 points), both battling for a spot in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL), played to a 1-1 draw at Incheon Stadium.