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K League 2 Final Day Recap: Record points totals and worst-ever finishes

The 2022 K League 2 season has come to a close. Daejeon Hana Citizen clinch second place following a 2-1 win over Ansan Greeners, Gwangju FC have set a new points record, while Jeonnam Dragons and Busan IPark set new club records for a lowest-ever finish to a season. 

The title was already wrapped up a couple of weeks ago and K League fans already knew that it was going to be Daejeon Hana Citizen, FC Anyang and Bucheon FC 1995 plus one more. But there were still a few bits and pieces to be claimed on final day. 

Second Place


Daejeon Hana Citizen record their highest finish in K League 2 since winning the league in 2014, sealing second and, more importantly, a place in the promotion-relegation playoff against 11th in K League 1. The Purples don't need to worry about FC Anyang, Bucheon FC 1995, or Gyeongnam FC and will instead wait to see whether it's Gimcheon Sangmu or Suwon Samsung Bluewings that finishes second-bottom of K League 1. Daejeon went into the match knowing that a point would be enough, regardless of what happened between Gyeongnam and Anyang.

The Purples sealed second place following a 2-1 away win over Ansan Greeners. Brazilian forward Leandro gave Daejeon the lead on 14 minutes after tucking away a penalty awarded for a foul on Lee Hyun-sik. Lee Jin-hyun made it 2-0 on 37 minutes with a calm finishing from inside the box. Ansan pulled one back on the hour mark through former Daejeon defender Kwon Young-ho but the score remained 2-1 until the referee blew for full time. 

FNR


Fifth Place

Gyeongnam FC clinch fifth to earn a second playoff berth in the space of three seasons. Gyeongnam have never won a single playoff match and so will be looking to put that right come Wednesday against Bucheon FC 1995. Gyeongnam only needed a draw to clinch fifth but the deed was done following a 1-0 away win over FC Anyang, Lee Kwang-jin with the game's only goal on 76 minutes. The other contender was Chungnam Asan who were away to champions Gwangju and drew 0-0.

Champions and record points total


Gwangju FC were crowned champions with matches still to play but rather than wanting to take their foot off the gas, manager Lee Jeong-hyo set his players a new target of 90 points. Although the Griffins were unable to reach that target, ending the season with 86 is still a record. The previous highest was Gyeongnam in 2017 with 79 but that was a 10-team league. In the two previous seasons with 11 teams in the second tier, Ansan Mugunghwa ended the 2016 season with 70 points, and 2015 champions Sangju Sangmu reached 67. Gwangju could have got a bit closer to the 90-point target but could only muster a 0-0 draw at home to Chungnam Asan.

Wooden Spoon for Gwangyang bulgogi

In finishing 11th in K League 2 and "earning" the Wooden Spoon, Jeonnam Dragons have recorded their lowest-ever finish to a K League season. Heading into the final day, it was down to either Busan or Jeonam to finish 11th and with Bucheon versus the Dragons still goalless at the time, Jung Won-jin's 52nd-minute strike for Busan away to Seoul E-Land saw Jeonnam sink to the bottom of the table.

Over at Bucheon Stadium, Lee Si-heon found a goal for the hosts on 64 minutes. This meant that Jeonnam were bottom and two points behind Busan. But, Kosovo striker Leonard Pllana levelled for Jeonnam on 70 minutes to bring the gap down to just one point. Seven minutes later and Ko Tae-won made it 2-1 to Jeonnam, turning the game on its head and enough to move them back up to 10th and leapfrog Busan IPark. But it wasn't over yet as Bucheon in the 97th minute found an equaliser through Yun Ji-hyeok to earn a point heading into the playoffs. For Jeonnam, it meant a last-place finish.

Jeonnam Dragons is a club that has spent most of its history in the top tier and has three FA Cup wins to its name. The Dragons fell through the trap door of their own dungeon in 2018 after finishing bottom of K League 1 and have spent the last four seasons in K League 2. The 2019 and 2020 seasons saw Jeonnam finish sixth before a fourth-place finish and a place in the playoffs last year. 

Busan IPark, meanwhile, another chaebol-backed club, managed to avoid finishing last but 10th is still the club's lowest-ever finish. The club's previous lowest finish was fifth in K League 2 last year in a 10-team division. The 2022 campaign was Busan's fifth in the second tier but had finished, on average, in the top three having ended the 2017 season as runners-up, third in 2018, and second in 2019. 



K League 2 Table



What's next?

The playoffs begin more or less straight away. On Wednesday 19th October Bucheon FC 1995 will take on Gyeongnam FC for a place in the promotion final. As Bucheon finished fourth and one place higher than Gyeongnam, they will only need a draw to advance. The match is played over one leg.

The winners of that contest take on FC Anyang away. The Violets finished third and so only need a draw to go through to one of the promotion-relegation finals against the team that finishes 10th in K League 1. The first leg is on Wednesday 29th October and the second leg on Saturday 29th. 

Daejeon Hana Citizen finished second and will first play the team that finishes 11th in K League 1 at home on 29th of October and then away to the K League 1 team on the 29th. 

[READ: Your Guide to Promotion and Relegation in the 2022 K League]

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