Gangwon FC, battling at the bottom of professional soccer’s K League 1, caught Daejeon Hana Citizen off guard and opened up a gap on last-place Suwon Samsung.

Gangwon defeated Daejeon 1-0 in the 36th round of the Hana One Q K League 2023 Final B at Daejeon World Cup Stadium on Nov. 11.

Kangwon, which is now winless in its last five matches (three draws and two losses), remains in 11th place with 30 points.

Gangwon is four points ahead of 12th-place Suwon Samsung (26 points), who face Suwon FC on Wednesday, and two points behind 10th-place Suwon FC (32 points).

In K-League 1, the 12th-place team is automatically relegated to K-League 2 next season, while the 10th and 11th-place teams fight for survival in a promotion playoff (PO) against K-League 2 teams.

This season, the ‘battle for the top spot’ has effectively been narrowed down to a two-way tie between Suwon Samsung and Gangwon, with the latter picking up three valuable points at a crucial juncture.

Eighth-ranked Daejeon (47 points), which clinched a spot in the top flight earlier in the final round, saw its six-match unbeaten run (two wins, four draws) halted.

Kangwon, more desperate to avoid ‘direct relegation’, were the more aggressive in the first half.

After subbing in Wellington for U-22 player Lee Seung-won just 13 minutes into the match, they had several scoring chances.

In the 22nd minute, Lee’s right-footed mid-range shot from the left side of the penalty arc sailed just over the bar, and in the 27th minute, Wellington’s exquisite header following a pass from Lee was saved by Daejeon goalkeeper Lee Chang-geun.

Daejeon, led by top scorer Thiago (16 goals) and second-leading assists Leandro (seven), held Kangwon to just two shots on target in the first half compared to nine shots (two on target), and looked to bolster its offense with cards for Masa and Kim In-gyun at the start of the second half.

Two minutes into the second half, Kangwon Wellington’s right-footed shot from the right side of the penalty area off a pass from Lee Jeong-hyeop rattled the net, but the goal was disallowed due to offside as Lee received the ball from a teammate.

Gangwon’s persistence paid off in the 24th minute.

A cutback from Yoo In-su on the left side of the penalty area was cleverly played by Lee Jung-hyeop to Kim Dae-won, who was in a better position to finish with his right foot.

A fierce bench battle ensued, with Gangwon substituting Gabriel and Gallego for Lee Jung-hyeop and Wellington, and Daejeon replacing Thiago with Yoo Kang-hyun.

At the end of the second half, Daejeon took advantage of a gap in Gangwon’s defense, but Gangwon held on to the lead until the end. 스포츠토토사이트

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