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2016 K League Challenge Grades

(image via facebook.com/ansanfc)

With the FA Cup Champion crowned, the book is officially closed on domestic football in Korea for 2016. With that, it's time to take a look back on a dramatic year in K-League Challenge. Along with a few players from the second division more than holding their own in our season Awards, we have a full list of grades for all 11 teams. Look over our staff's assessment and leave your thoughts in the comments below!






A+


In the close season the talk was that Gangwon may be going out of existence. Fast-forward to November and they are beating Seongnam to clinch promotion to the Classic for 2017. Minho's dad seems to have pulled off a minor miracle. Bringing in Luiz Henrique from Jeonbuk was an astute move to give them a bit of impetus to clinch the play-off spot and, just like Suwon before them, see off all competitors to bag promotion. Even the slightly controversial contribution of Syrizilian Serginho can't take the shine off that.@the48clubkorea
A

They are finished in second place in the table and are able to get promotion to the Classic even though they lost their former manager and had poor performances at home.@Daegu_freak

A-

An unexpected run to the title. Ansan dominated and managed to sit on top of the table throughout most of the season. A late collapse almost gave away the title though.  @Gobble_311


B



So near yet so far. An improvement on last season and the added bonus of a great Cup run but home points thrown away in a desperately tight league run-in and then the subsequent play-off loss means there are regrets.  Nevertheless, since Bucheon came back, it's been their most successful season to date and the positives far outweigh the negatives.@korearacing


B-


Top scorers in the Challenge.  We more than held our own against the top 6 sides in the league.  If we keep the majority of our talented squad together in the off season we can really mount a push to get into a playoff place next season.  We would have been higher up the league this season pushing for a playoff place if it wasn't for a -10 point deduction.  @edrupt_james

C


If not for the strong finish the grade would have been lower but that still leaves a feeling of what might have been. A playoff place was minimum target and wasn't achieved despite smaller teams like Bucheon and Gangwon managing it. @the48clubkorea

D


Under-performed massively. Having the league's top scorer should mean a higher finish than 7th place. A lack of plan B or indeed a strategy away from home cost Daejeon. Frankly, the manager's tactics were arrogant.@NeatPaul




D



Very little was expected of Chungju and, in that respect at least, I guess they met those low expectations. Kim Shin did his best to replicate the goalscoring feats of Cho Suk-jae and bagged himself 13 for the season which wasn't too bad at all for a team that finished 17 points behind 9th placed Anyang. It seems like this may be the end of Chungju as they will withdraw from the league. It was always an uphill struggle for them to compete but they will be missed. @the48clubkorea




D


A largely uneventful season for Anyang and it looks like they more or less gave up towards the end. With nothing to play for they ended up losing 7 of their last 8 matches. It's hard to find anything to write home about in their season which was a tale of inconsistency from start to finish. Looking at 2017 Anyang will need to strengthen or they will face a pretty tough battle to be competitive with the big guns in the Challenge.@the48clubkorea

F+

There was only one acceptable outcome for this season and that was promotion back to the Classic. In the end Busan fell short, so an F is the only grade that can be given. However, they get a + for making a good late season run. @ArmchairRegista




F



If there was a G grade then they might well have earned that but an F will have to do. 2 wins in a 40 game season is not pretty, nor is a goal difference of -51 or a total season-long points haul of 16 (which incidentally was also their average crowd more or less). A run-in which saw them lose 16 of their last 18 games sums up their season and was probably enough to convince Zaicro to throw in the towel. Goyang are another team that plan to withdraw from the league for 2017. @the48clubkorea

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