Jeonbuk Hyundai earned a 1-1 away draw against Incheon United in the 36th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 on Wednesday at the Incheon Football Stadium. After conceding a goal to Kim Do-hyuk in the 15th minute of the second half, Jeonbuk narrowly avoided defeat thanks to Park Jae-yong’s equalizer seven minutes later.
The draw further diminishes Jeonbuk’s chances of a top-three finish. Jeonbuk is in fourth place with 54 points. They are four points behind third-place Gwangju FC (58). A win in the Round 37 matchup would only close the gap to one point. A draw or loss would eliminate any chance of an upset. At best, they can finish the season in fourth place. For now, a top-three finish would be their first in 15 years, since 2008.
The draw against Incheon hurts. Gwangju drew with Daegu FC in this round, so a win over Incheon would have pulled them within two points of them, which would have meant a head-to-head tiebreaker.
In a must-win game, Jeonbuk was outplayed by Incheon. Incheon was missing a number of key players, including Mugosa, Jerso, Moon Ji-hwan, and Delbridge. However, Jeonbuk was out-shot 5-12. “We should have been more aggressive,” said Jeonbuk head coach Dan Petrescu.토토사이트
Jeonbuk is winless in three consecutive matches following the FA Cup final defeat and the ACL loss to Singapore. It’s a bad run of results that comes at a time when the team can’t afford to miss the Asian Games.
Based on their current standings, Jeonbuk will not be able to qualify for the ACL Elite stage in the 2024-2025 season. This year’s K League 1 and FA Cup champions will go straight to the ACL Elite. The second-place finisher in the K League 1 will head to the ACL Elite playoffs, and since Pohang is currently in second place, the third-place finisher will take over. The fourth-place finisher will instead go to ACL2.
Starting this season, the Asian Football Confederation will split the club competition into ACL Elite and ACL2. The ACL2 is the European equivalent of the Europa League.
If Jeonbuk fails to upset Gwangju, they will have to go to ACL2 instead of ACL Elite. It’s a tough pill to swallow for a team with dreams of conquering Asia, and while they’ll be lucky to get out of there, if they allow Incheon, who are just one point behind them, to pull off the upset, they could slip further down the standings.