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Playoff Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs Gyeongnam FC

league 2022.10.17   I   hits 1069

The 2022 K League Promotion Playoffs begin this Wednesday when Bucheon FC 1995 take on Gyeongnam FC. Bucheon only need a draw to advance to the next stage whereas Gyeongnam simply have to win. Both sides are seeking a winning change in the playoffs having never won in K League's post-season before.

Playoff Record

This is Bucheon's third attempt at winning promotion via the playoffs having reached this stage in 2016 and 2019. However, the Reds have never made it past the semifinals. In 2016, Bucheon lost at home to Gangwon FC and in 2019, were knocked out by FC Anyang following a 1-1 draw away from home.

Gyeongnam FC haven't had much luck in the playoffs either. In fact, the Roses have been relegated via the playoffs twice - first in 2014 following a 4-2 aggregate loss to Gwangju FC, then in 2019 to local rivals Busan IPark. In 2020, Gyeongnam lost to Suwon FC in the final following a dramatic, late An Byong-jun penalty.

Playoff Format

Bucheon FC 1995 finished fourth and so have earned home advantage against Gyeongnam FC who finished fifth. The winners will then advance to a promotion final against FC Anyang who finished third. The winners of that single-leg contest will face the team which finishes 10th in K League 1. At present, that could be FC Seoul, Suwon Samsung Bluewings, or Gimcheon Sangmu.

Daejeon Hana Citizen finished second and so head straight to a two-leg final against the team that finishes 11th in K League 1 - either Gimcheon Sangmu or Suwon Samsung Bluewings.

Recent Form

Bucheon FC 1995 had lost their previous three heading into the last day of the regular season and so took on Jeonnam Dragons looking to regain some momentum for the playoffs. The Reds struck very late to earn a 2-2 draw against Jeonnam Dragons after Yun Ji-hyeok's 94th-minute goal was allowed to stand following a VAR check. 

Lee Si-heon had given Bucheon the lead on 65 minutes only for goals from Leonard Pllana and Ko Tae-won on 71 and 78 minutes respectively turned the game on its head. Yun Ji-hyeok's goal ended a run of consecutive losses but Bucheon are now without a win in four matches.

Overall, Bucheon have only lost at home three times this season, once against Gyeongnam, having won 11 of their 20 matches and drawn six.

Gyeongnam, meanwhile, were at home to FC Anyang on the final day and picked up an impressive 1-0 win. The result made sure their place in the playoffs was beyond doubt having only needed a draw heading to the last match of the season. For the last seven matches, Seol Ki-hyeon's side have been alternating between winning and losing. 

Away from home, Gyeongnam have just one win in their last six. Overall, the Roses have six wins, five losses and 10 losses.

Team News

Bucheon FC 1995 boss Lee Young-min likes a back three and has used a 3-4-3 formation more than any others this term, 35% of the time in fact. However, Bucheon have also been set up in a 5-4-1 formation (30%), and 5-3-2 (22%). The 3-4-3 was used twice against Gyeongnam this season.

Gyeongnam FC boss Seol Ki-hyeon, meanwhile, has used 39 different players this season with 38 different starting lineup combinations. One thing that has largely remained a constant, though, is Seol's preferred 4-4-2 formation. It has been used 70% of the time this season with the former Premier League star opting to field two strikers, most likely Tiago Orobó and either Ko Kyung-min or Mo Jae-hyun.

Neither team have any suspensions to be concerned with.


In regular league play, Bucheon and Gyeongnam met four times in 2022 with the former winning three and the latter once. The most recent encounter ended in a 3-0 away win for Bucheon thanks to goals from Nilson Junior, Han Ji-ho, and Ahn Jae-jun. The most recent meeting in Bucheon also ended in a win for Lee Young-min's men, 3-1 following goals from Kim Ho-nam, Nilson Junior, and Song Hong-min. However, the first encounter of the season in Bucheon ended in a 1-0 Gyeongnam win - Tiago Orobó with the game's only goal on 54 minutes.

In total, there have been 23 meetings between Bucheon and Gyeongnam. Bucheon have recorded eight wins, Gyeongnam 12 and three draws.

What to Watch

Nilson Junior vs Tiago Orobó

Whoever comes out on top in the Nilson Junior versus Tiago Orobó battle may just decide which way this tie goes. Tiago has enjoyed a fruitful spell in front of goal in what is his debut season in K League, scoring 18 and coming close to winning the golden boot. He has also scored against Bucheon already this season. Defenders in K League have remarked that Tiago is a difficult striker to play against, Cho Yu-min for example in a recent interview with K League United. Tiago finished second for shots in K League 2 but first for headed shots and eighth overall for aerial duels - fifth as a forward player.

While this is Tiago's first taste of the K League playoffs, Bucheon's Nilson Junior is no stranger to K League's post-season. The goal-scoring centre back has featured in the playoffs for Busan IPark, Bucheon in his first spell with the club, and FC Anyang. Nilson is third for interceptions and ranks third at Bucheon for defensive duels and 11th overall for success rate - sixth as a defender.

There's potential to be goals in this one as both Bucheon and Gyeongnam sit in the top five for goals scored this term. Gyeongnam, too, are third for goals conceded whereas Bucheon have one of the best defensive records in K League 2. The task at hand, then, will be for Bucheon's stern defence to keep the likes of Tiago and 

Where to Watch

Watch the action LIVE, for FREE and in HD on TV.KLeague.com.

Paul Neat
Managing Editor