Missing the K-League already? I know a number of us are – but the next best thing to waiting all winter for another season to begin is by tuning in to the Tavern’s newest podcast. We discuss the 2013-2014 season – including that utterly crazy last weekend. Which teams and individuals surprised the Tavern, which teams didn’t show up? Seongnam upsetting FC Seoul in the KFA Cup? Tavern writers Jae Chee, Jinseok Yang and Tim Lee discuss all that, the photo finish for the table’s 3rd place vying for the last Asian Champions League spot and the electrifying results from the scramble to escape relegation. [Looking for the KPA’s in action this weekend? Tim’s got it here.
Please note, the audio is spotty in places – Tavern owner at fault – computer recording software going haywire (North Korean hackers, hmmm? Hey come on – I haven’t talked about assassinating anyone!). Otherwise the conversation itself was sparkling and compact -clocking in at 30 minutes. Thanks to Tim for the backup use of his mp3 recorder and to Jae for the snazzy edits!
Right now we go to Korea for a fantastic result coming in a few hours ago (unless you’re a Gyeongnam supporter): 2nd leg of the promotion/relegation playoff, a 1-1 draw meant a 2-4 aggregate victory for K-League Challenge upstarts Gwangju, a pretty significant upset and more importantly for Gwangju: promotion back to the K-League Classic.
For the 2nd year in a row, a Challenge team upset the Classic side to win the promotion/relegation playoff round. Last year, Sangju Sangmu won that distinction, becoming the first club to win promotion after getting relegated.
The entire promotion and relegation system is relatively new for the K-League. In November 2012, Sangju was among the first clubs to be relegated to the yet to be inaugurated K-League Challenge. The following season, as mentioned a moment ago, they won promotion with talent from 2012 Asian Player of the Year, Lee Keun-ho among others. And they will have the honor of being the first club to be demoted after winning promotion – ending their dismal season at the foot of the K-League Classic table last weekend = automatic relegation. The rate they are going – their new nickname: the Sangju Yo-Yo’s (with apologies to Sangju supporters)). With Lee Yong among the incoming crew having to do their military time, expect the Sangju to wreak havoc in the Challenge, if only for a little while…
Speaking of the Challenge league, Seoul E-Land has conducted trials this week.
— Seoul E-Land FC (@SeoulEland) December 4, 2014
Under ex Whitecaps boss Martin Rennie (who also coached Lee Young-Pyo in his last 2 seasons before hanging up his boots), they may be a force to reckon with, a potentially sound structure organizationally that may revolutionize the K-League (emphasis on may, we will have to see to believe the hype).
Which leads us to foreshadow another podcast coming soon, this time on the K-League Challenge season that also ended last weekend. Tim and I recorded a short podcast which we’ll release soon.
Quick KPA update: Kim Jin-Su went 90 for Hoffenheim on Friday, a 1-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund. It could’ve been 4-0 had it not been for that lack of a killer BVB touch. Kim did ok at times, but got burned several times defensively in his LB role – not as sharp as last weekend. Whistle blew after 4 stoppage time minutes and BVB home crowd celebrated as if they won a title – more like relief actually at halting a massive losing streak in league play. They move out from the foot of the table pending other weekend results in Germany.
Lee (also mayor of the club’s home city; local gov’t runs the club) has been defiant in the face of punishment all week
— Jeeho Yoo (@Jeeho_1) December 5, 2014
We’ll try to update what the league’s eventual ruling might be.
To NYC, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon showing off some of his chugu skills:
— JK (@LSJU97) December 5, 2014
Meanwhile Korea and Japan were awarded 3+1 allocations for Asian Champions League qualifying spots for 2015-2016 (+1 is for extra qualifying round). Australia, with Western Sydney winning the title (after only 2 years in existence) has 2+1, followed by China with 2+2.
Lastly, I couldn’t help but notice Lee Kang-in’s jaw dropping moves for his Valencia academy team this past week. Check it:
Latest footage/goals of Lee Kang-In. His 2nd is a beauty… https://t.co/pfAfF3oWA8
— Takeuchi (@Takeuchee) December 4, 2014