Hwaseong FC, coached by Kang Kang, has been crowned the 2023 K3 League champions.
Hwaseong FC won the K3 League Round 29 away match against Changwon City Hall 2-1 at Changwon General Sports Complex at 7 p.m. on March 3. With the win, Hwaseong increased its lead over second-place FC Mokpo to seven points and clinched the 2023 K3 League title regardless of the outcome of the remaining matches.
Hwaseong FC’s title was already decided before the match. Second-place FC Mokpo, four points behind Hwaseong, needed a win to catch up to Hwaseong, but they were coming off a 1-3 reverse against Daejeon Corail at 3 p.m. earlier in the day.
Hwaseong FC took the lead in the 11th minute off a corner kick, and Ruan added a second goal in the 38th minute off an assist from Jang Young-woo. Changwon City Hall pulled a goal back in stoppage time through Tae Hyun-chan, but it was not enough to secure the win.
The 2023 K3 League featured 15 teams in a home-and-away format, with the final standings determined by regular season results alone. Hwaseong FC started the season with a 17-match unbeaten streak, and after 29 rounds of 27 matches, the team has 16 wins, 9 draws, and 2 losses for 57 points.
This is the third league title for Hwaseong FC since its inception. In 2014, when the K3 League was called the K3 Challengers League, Hwaseong FC won the championship after finishing second in the regular season. In 2019, they topped the regular season in the K3 League Advance and defeated Yangpyeong FC in the championship. It was their first title since the league was reorganized into the unified K3 League in 2020.
While the K3 League does not yet have a promotion system to the higher-level K League 2, the bottom two teams (14th and 15th) in the final K3 League standings will be automatically relegated to the K4 League. The third-place team (13th) from the bottom of the K3 League will play the winner of the K4 League playoffs (3rd vs. 4th) for promotion. With the relegation of last-place Yangju Citizens Football Club confirmed, Yangpyeong 사설토토 FC (13th place, 26 points) and Changwon City Hall (14th place, 26 points) will be automatically relegated and qualify for the playoffs depending on the outcome of the final round, which will be held on November 11 at 2pm.
Meanwhile, Yeoju FC leads the K4 League with 57 points, three points clear of second-place Daegu FC B with one game less to play. Yeoju FC will clinch the K4 League title with a draw or better against FC Chungju on May 5 at 3pm.