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The Campaign Comes to a Close: Three Takeaways

The 2022 K League campaign has come to a close.  Suwon Samsung Bluewings evaded relegation by edging past FC Anyang, while Daejeon Hana Citizen put forth a very convincing second leg display against Gimcheon Sangmu, sending the Purples up to the top tier for the first time since 2015.  Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors overcame FC Seoul in the FA Cup final and finish out the year with a piece of silverware and a place in Asia for next season.  KLU's Branko Belan looks back at the conclusion of the football year.


Bluewings Survive the Drop

After a scoreless first leg, everything was left up in the air for the return at the Big Bird with FC Anyang still very much in contention to make their first leap to K League 1.  The hosts would jump in front inside the first twenty minutes courtesy of a goal from An Byong-jun, who headed the ball into the net from Lee Ki-je's corner.  The teams would trade chances for the rest of the half, with Suwon coming close to doubling their lead just before halftime, but Myung Jun-jae's effort from outside the box was kept out by Jeong Min-ki, who got down well to keep the shot out.

Boadu Maxwell Acosty would level proceedings ten minutes into the second half and for a long while, it looked like there would be no winner in sight as regular time could not decide a winner.  Oh Hyeon-gyu proved to be the man of the hour, scoring at the death to seal a 2-1 win for Suwon, the biggest goal of his career to date, and that should certainly put him on the radar for next season as one of the strikers to watch out for.

Purples Back in the Top Tier

Kim In-gyun found the back of the net in Daejeon's emphatic win.
Daejeon Hana Citizen made an emphatic statement in the return leg of their tie with Gimcheon Sangmu, netting four goals on the road, thanks in large part to a brace from Lee Jin-hyun, while Kim In-gyun and Kim Seung-sub also got their names on the scoresheet.  Gimcheon dominated in terms of possession, but Daejeon executed where it really mattered - by finding the back of the net at key times over the course of the match.

The victory secured Daejeon's return to the first division for the first time since the 2015 season.  They will be looking to improve on their previous two campaigns in the top flight, as they finished bottom of the league the last time they were up, and also finished last in 2013, when there were 14 teams in K League 1.  The ambition is there to do great things, however, as the club has recently announced that they are targeting the Asian Champions League in two years time, so it will be interesting to see how they fare in the winter transfer window in their attempt to bolster their ranks.


FNR   
Jeonbuk Clinch Asian Spot With FA Cup

Cho Gue-sung netted a pair of goals in Jeonbuk's second leg victory. Photo Credit: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors won this year's edition of the FA Cup with a 5-3 aggregate victory over FC Seoul, closing the deal with a 3-1 home win in the second leg.  Modou Barrow opened the scoring after just eleven minutes and Cho Gue-sung provided a pair of goals to see off the club from the capital in style.  Park Dong-jin scored the only goal of the match for the black and red.    

It was the fifth cup win in the competition in the club's history, earning them a spot in Asia for the sixth consecutive year.  They were semi-finalists last season, bowing out to Urawa Red Diamonds after a penalty shootout.  The last time they won the competition was back in 2016 when they defeated Al-Ain 3-2 on aggregate for their second continental success.  It should be a busy off-season as they look to improve the side after finishing runners-up in the league after five years at the summit.

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