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August Recap: Twists and Turns Galore

The ten-goal thriller at the DGB Daegu Bank Park was the perfect way to bid farewell to another exciting month of action in the 2020 K League 1. The league leaders Ulsan Hyundai, FC Seoul, and newly-promoted Gwangju FC produced impressive results, while Pohang Steelers and Daegu FC had a month to forget. Guest contributor Parameswaran P Sankaranarayanan takes a closer look at the results from August.

New manager, newfound belief 

Smiles are back on the faces of FC Seoul and Incheon United fans after a change in the dugout at both the clubs. The 2016 K League 1 champions, who had lost nine of their first 13 matches in the league, grabbed three consecutive wins under interim manager Kim ho-Young and has an outside chance of sealing the third AFC Champions League (ACL) spot.

Meanwhile, Incheon United’s survival hopes received a big boost after clinching their first win of the season under new manager Jo Sung-hwan. The Mariners grabbed three points in their next game and are now six points adrift of safety. Suwon Samsung Bluewings, who too had appointed a new manager in the middle of the season, grabbed a crucial point against Ulsan Hyundai and a victory over Busan IPark at home in August.

Neck and Neck - Ulsan & Jeonbuk

Gangwon FC became the latest team to play the spoilsport in the title race as they inflicted Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors their third defeat in the league on Sunday. The defending champions, who were on a five-game winning run, had cut the deficit to a point after Ulsan Hyundai’s goalless draw in Round 15. The Horangi have won eight of the nine games since the 0-2 defeat to the defending champions at home. With nine rounds left in the 2020 campaign, the neutrals would be hoping for more twists and turns in the title race.

Points Per Month
Month
Ulsan Hyundai
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
May
8
9
June
12
15
July
12
5
August
13
12


Open race for ACL berth

Four points in five matches! Things didn’t go according to the plan for the ACL hopefuls Pohang Steelers and Daegu FC in August. The poor run from both teams helped the impressive Sangju Sangmu to climb to third in the table and also put Gangwon FC, Gwangju FC, and FC Seoul in the ACL qualification mix. An intense battle is on the cards for the coveted Champions League berth.

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Onwards & Upwards - Gwangju FC

Only two teams remained unbeaten in August - Ulsan Hyundai and Gwangju FC. The newly-promoted side picked up seven points on the road while grabbing a point each from Gangwon FC and FC Seoul at home. They have climbed to seventh in the table and have a nine-point cushion over bottom side Incheon United. A place in the Championship Round could be the icing on the cake for the Park Jin-sub coached team.

August Standings (Top four)


Tricky test for Seongnam

Seongnam FC was comfortably placed in eighth in the table, heading into Round 14. But three defeats in five games have dropped them to tenth in the table and seven points separate them and Incheon United now.  The Magpies, who face Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Sangju Sangmu in the next two rounds, are expected to avoid the drop, but Incheon’s resurgence and tricky fixtures provide a stern test for seven-time K League 1 winners.



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