Domestic soccer playoffs set to goAll the spots for the K-League soccer playoffs have been finalized. The Suwon Blue Wings fought to a scoreless draw at Incheon United on Saturday, enough to secure the top spot in the second stage of the K-League season.
They join the Pohang Steelers, winners of the first stage of the K-League season, along with the Cheonnam Dragons and Ulsan Tigers, the two teams with the highest point totals among the non-stage winning teams.
The semifinals take place on Dec. 5 at 3 p.m.; Suwon meets Cheonnam at home, while Ulsan travels to Pohang to take on the Steelers. The winners will meet in a two-leg final to be held on Dec. 8 and 12.
Suwon and Cheonnam are both led by experienced coaches who returned to the K-League this year after long hiatuses. Suwon coach Cha Bum-kun returned after 10 years; Lee Jang-su, of the Cheonnam Dragons, came back after six.
Lee had a tough go of it after coming back from the Pro-League in China, but dragged his side through the adversity, taking them on a nine-game winning streak in the second half.
There has been a war of words in the buildup to the other semifinal. Pohang coach Choi Soon-ho claimed to be relieved to be facing an opponent he knows so well. His counterpart at Ulsan, Kim Jang-nam, said Pohang would be the easiest to defeat among the other teams in the playoffs.
by Kang Hye-ran
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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