Who will win the ‘promotion derby’ between Gwangju and Daejeon?
On the 10th of this month, fans will be treated to the ‘Promotion Derby’, the most important game in the K League before the A-Match break.
Daejeon Hana Citizens, led by head coach Lee Min-sung, who led them to promotion after eight years and is praised for his fiery attacking football, and Gwangju FC, led by head coach Lee Jung-hyo, who is studying at the University of Daejeon and is attracting attention with his charming interviews, are set to face off at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium on Saturday (10 October).메이저놀이터
Both teams are in a similar mood, but Gwangju have been in better form of late. Away from Daejeon, Gwangju have impressed as a promoted side this season, winning four, drawing one and losing five of their first ten league games through a combination of organised tactics and disruptive positional football. They hit their first bumps in the road, however, with two draws and two defeats from rounds 11 to 14 of the league, but three consecutive wins against Suwon FC, Pohang and Suwon Samseong from rounds 15 to 17 have lifted their spirits ahead of their clash with Daejeon.
Similar to Gwangju, Daejeon have also impressed since their promotion, going unbeaten in five league games since the start of the season and defeating title favourites Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai in succession. Hovering near the top of the league standings and performing as well as they could as a promoted side, Daejeon recorded five wins, two draws and three defeats in their first 10 games of the season, but their early momentum has been dampened by a run of just two wins from rounds 11 to 17. However, the momentum of the early matches has been temporarily dampened by a thrilling victory over ‘nemesis’ Gangwon FC, which broke a four-match winless streak.
Gwangju’s ‘undefeated jinx’ for four years?
Gwangju hasn’t lost to Daejeon in the league in almost four years. The last time Daejeon won against Gwangju was on 9 November 2019, when they defeated Gwangju in a K League 2 match at the Daejeon World Cup, thanks to consecutive goals from Kim Seung-seop (Jeju), Kim Chan (Busan) and Yoon Sung-young (Chungju).
Since then, Daejeon has suffered from the Gwangju jinx, with three draws and two losses in five league matches against the club.
Of course, Daejeon and Gwangju didn’t meet for two seasons after Gwangju’s promotion in 2020, as Gwangju remained in K League 1 for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but when they met again in 2022, the two teams battled it out for the top spot in K League 2, with Gwangju winning two of the four league matches and drawing the other two to secure direct promotion over Daejeon.
The Gwangju jinx is alive and well as Daejeon failed to take the three crucial points against Gwangju, failing to secure direct promotion and also failing to win their first meeting since promotion this season.
With the head-to-head record between the two sides at 10 wins, 9 draws and 9 losses, Gwangju will be looking to continue the jinx with a win against Daejeon to equalise the head-to-head record, while Daejeon will be looking to break the jinx and take a clear advantage in the head-to-head record.
With Daejeon trying to break the jinx and Gwangju trying to continue the jinx, it will be an interesting ‘promotion derby’ to watch and intuit.
Two teams in need of a win Currently, only one point separates fifth-placed Daejeon and sixth-placed Gwangju (Daejeon 25 points, Gwangju 24 points). It’s not just the difference in points between Daejeon and Gwangju that should be of concern, but the situation of 7th-placed Jeonbuk (24 points) and 8th-placed Daegu (24 points) below them.
This is because if they fail to pick up three points in the ‘promotion derby’ with a loss or a draw, both teams will be in the worst possible position to drop down to eighth place. With only one point separating them, and with the position being up for grabs with every game, these are two teams that need to win.
With both teams in need of a win to maintain or break the jinx and leapfrog into the top half of the table, who will emerge victorious in the ‘promotion derby’ after impressing their fans with some hot football since promotion? Let’s find out on Saturday 10th October.