Gwangju FC advances to Champions League…Jeonbuk to pull-ups

Professional soccer’s K League 1 Gwangju FC has qualified for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League in its first season of promotion.

Gwangju drew 0-0 with Pohang Steelers in their final 38th round home match of the 2023 season at the Gwangju Football Stadium on March 3. Gwangju (59 points), which finished the season in third place behind champions Ulsan Hyundai (76 points) and runners-up Pohang (64 points), secured a spot in next season’s AFC Champions League Elite Playoffs (PO). Gwangju also achieved the highest finish and number of wins in the first division in club history. Until the previous season, the club’s best finish in the top flight was sixth place (six points) in the 2020 season, which ended early due to COVID-19.

After clinching the title for the second year in a row in the last 35 rounds, Ulsan celebrated its coronation with a 1-0 victory over rival Jeonbuk Hyundai at home. Ulsan forward Lee In-gyu became the league’s top scorer for the first time in two years. In 2021, he was the top scorer while playing for Jeju United, but last year he lost the title to Jo Kyu-sung (Meatwillan), who played for Jeonbuk. He scored the same 17 goals, but was denied the title for the second year in a row because he played more games. According to the KFA rules, if the number of goals is the same, the player who played fewer games and minutes is the top scorer. This season, Lee In-jong-gyu scored 17 goals, the same number as Thiago (Daejeon). This time, however, Injongyu was the top scorer because he played less minutes.

In the final four, Jeonbuk (57 points) will enter the Champions League with a ‘pull-up’. Starting with the 2024-25 season, AFC will split the Champions League into two tiers: Elite, the top competition, and 2, the second tier. AFC has allocated 2 + 1 Champions League Elite spots and 1 Champions League 2 spot to South Korea, with the Korea Football Association awarding the league champion and the Korea Football Association (FA) Cup winner this season a direct ticket to the 2024-25 Champions League Elite. League runner-up Pohang will play in the Champions League Elite as the FA Cup winner. Third-place Gwangju earned a spot in the Champions League Elite PO, while fourth-place Jeonbuk earned a spot in Champions League 2. 캡틴토토 주소

Meanwhile, the K League has reached the era of “3 million spectators” in a season by combining the first and second divisions for the first time since 2018, when the league began officially collecting paid attendance. According to the Korea Professional Football Association, a total of 46,789 paid spectators attended the three matches, bringing the total to 3,015,09.

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