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Playoff Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs. Bucheon FC 1995

league 2023.11.28   I   hits 1453

The 2023 K League playoffs begin this Wednesday with Gyeongnam FC taking on Bucheon FC 1995. Up for grabs is a place in the next round away to Gimpo FC and then, potentially, a two-leg playoff with 10th in K League 1.

Overview & Match Information

Fixture: Gyeongnam FC vs. Bucheon FC 1995
Competition: 2023 Hana 1Q K League 2 playoff
Venue: Changwon Football Center
Date: Wednesday 29th November 2023, 19:00 KST

Gyeongnam FC, having sealed fourth place on the final day of the 2023 Hana 1Q K League 2 season, earned home advantage for the playoff semifinal. The Roses host Bucheon FC 1995 needing only a draw to advance to the next round. It is roles reversed from the 2022 playoffs when Bucheon were the hosts meaning Wednesday's clash is something of a rematch. For Bucheon, the match is simply a must-win if they are to advance.

Recent Form

Gyeongnam FC didn't need to win on the final day; a draw would've been enough to seal a place in the playoffs but Seol Ki-hyeon's men made certain they would qualify and seal fourth spot. Park Min-seo's 67th-minute strike away to Gimpo FC - the side they would face next in the playoffs - earned Gyeongnam the three points and extended their unbeaten run to four. Before the 3-1 away win over Seoul E-Land in Round 35, Gyeongnam had suffered something of a dip in form, winning just two in 13 but the Roses have found form at the right time of the season. 

Bucheon's 4-1 win over Jeonnam Dragons on the final day ended a run of four matches without victory. Lee Young-min's men had to come from behind, too, with Jeonnam - who could have leapfrogged Bucheon into the playoff places with a win - taking the lead before a Nilson Junior penalty followed by an An Jae-jun hat-trick earned the three points in emphatic fashion. 


The two sides met at this very same stage last season, only with Bucheon finishing fourth and Gyeongnam fifth. It produced one of the most memorable playoff games in recent memory with each side trading blows before Tiago Orobó found a 95th-minute winner. 

After a goalless first half, Tiago teed up Mo Jae-hyeon to break the deadlock only for Lee Dong-hee to level just five minutes later. Lee Kwang-jin then made it 2-1 on 75 minutes but Bucheon pegged Gyeongnam back yet again, and even faster with Song Hong-min restoring parity on 78 minutes. However, with Bucheon looking as though they had what they needed to advance to the next round, Tiago headed in a dramatic late winner in the dying embers.

Wednesday's clash is the 28th between the two teams. Gyeongnam have picked up 14 wins in this fixture, Bucheon 10 with three draws. In 2023, Bucheon have won two of the three meetings, Gyeongnam one. The most recent came in September in Bucheon where the hosts earned a 1-0 win thanks to a late Kim Young-chan own goal.

What to Watch

First goal wins?

Gyeongnam and Bucheon both tend to go on and win the game after taking the lead. Gyeongnam have gone ahead 16 times this term and have not lost, winning 15 and drawing once. Bucheon have gone ahead 20 times, winning 16, drawing two, and losing two. The team that gets the first goal, then, is likely to go on and win the contest. In terms of individuals, Bucheon's An Jae-jun has scored 11 goals this season and six of them have opened the scoring. For Gyeongnam, Won Ki-jong has had that honour on six occasions too from 10 goals. The former Seoul E-Land and Daejeon Hana Citizen forward made his return from injury last time out after a month layoff.

Who to Watch

Won Ki-jong, Gyeongnam FC

The return of top scorer Won Ki-jong is a huge boost to Gyeongnam's promotion chances. The 27-year-old has 10 for the campaign and is having the season of his of his life having beaten is previous goal tally by six. His very first of the campaign came against Bucheon in a 1-0 win and since then his goals have helped Gyeongnam earn nine extra points with goals in narrow wins or draws. If fit, Mo Jae-hyeon will be worth keeping an eye on. The winger has six goals and six assists to his name the season, no Gyeongnam player has managed more goal contributions than that this season. He also scored one and assisted one in this exact fixture last year.

An Jae-jun, Bucheon FC 1995

A hat-trick last time out took An Jae-jun onto 11 for the season. What's more impressive is that An has only made 11 starts this term and 22 appearances overall, giving him a strike rate of a goal every other game. An sits second in K League 2 for shots on target with 50% and is ninth for touches in the box per 90 with 4.23. The 22-year-old, who was part of the South Korea squad that won gold at the Asian Games in China this September, is in his third season with Bucheon having signed from Czech side Mladá Boleslav in 2021. One man who could be in his final season with the club is Nilson Junior but at 34, is determined to make sure he ends the season on a high. The Brazilian scored last time out and will be looked upon as one of the senior pros to guide Bucheon through.

Where to Watch

Follow the match LIVE, for FREE, and in HD on TV.KLeague.com.