K League 1 season to wrap up Oct. 23

SEOUL– The top South Korean football league announced the fixtures for the final phase of the season on Wednesday, with the competition set to wrap up on Oct. 23.

With 33 matches in the books, the top six teams in the 12-team K League 1 have been paired into “Final A” and the rest have ended up in “Final B.”

Starting Oct. 1, teams will play five more matches within their groups to finish out the season.

In a bid for their first title since 2005, Ulsan Hyundai FC finished the first portion of the season in first place with 66 points. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, five-time defending champions, trail Ulsan by five points.

The two rivals’ one last showdown is set for 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 in the southeastern city of Ulsan.
Teams will face a schedule crunch next month, with the league committed to ending the season in October to accommodate the national team’s preparation for the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

After playing on the first weekend of October, teams will have three matches scheduled between Oct. 8 and Oct. 16.

The top two teams in the K League 1 each year earn tickets to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League for the following season, while the third-ranked team will be in the qualifying playoff for the top Asian tournament.

Teams in Final B will battle to avoid relegation to the K League 2. The 12th-ranked team in the K League 1 will face direct relegation to the second division. The two teams directly above them will have to survive playoff matches against K League 2 clubs to stay with the big boys in 2023.

Through 33 matches, Seongnam FC occupied last place at 25 points, nine back of both Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Gimcheon Sangmu FC, and 10 behind Daegu FC.

The six teams in Final B will have their season finale all starting at 3 p.m. on Oct. 22, and the half-dozen teams in Final A will play their last matches at 3 p.m. on Oct. 23.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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