K League One Gwangju FC and Daejeon Hana Citizen have been promoted side-by-side this year in their first season in the top flight. It’s only the third time in history that two promoted teams have stayed together after Daegu FC and Gangwon FC in 2017 and Jeju United and Suwon FC in 2021. Having exceeded expectations, Gwangju and Daejeon Hana will now turn their attention to the Asian stage.
From the inception of the promotion system in 2012 to last season, 14 teams have been promoted in the K League. Nine of those teams stayed up in their first season of promotion. While a 64.3% retention rate seems high, survival in the top flight is not without its challenges, as a whopping five teams dropped back down to the K League 2 in their first season of promotion.굿모닝토토 주소
For Gwangju and Daejeon Hana, the driving force behind their retention was smart signings in the winter transfer market earlier this year. At the time, Gwangju was struggling with a tight budget and opted to fill their foreign quota instead of signing semi-professional domestic players. As a result, newcomers Timo (Netherlands), Asani (Albania), and Tomas (Brazil) have made history in their respective positions. Daejeon Hana also added Thiago (Brazil), last season’s second-leading scorer in the K League 2, and Azerbaijan national team defender Anton, while holding off promotion leaders Lee Jin-hyun and Joo Se-jong.
Gwangju and Daejeon didn’t stop there. This season’s K League 1 1-2 and FA Cup winners will head to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Elite (ACL) for the 2024-2025 season. The third-place finisher in K League 1 will earn a ticket to the lower tier of ACL2. Third-placed Gwangju (57 points) is highly motivated as they are chasing second-placed Pohang Steelers (59 points). Gwangju head coach Lee Jung-hyo said, “We have to go to the ACL no matter what. Only then can we bring about positive changes, such as improving the club’s infrastructure,” he urged.
Eighth-ranked Daejeon Hana (46 points) will also be looking to qualify for the ACL next season in 2025-2026. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, as parent organization Hana Bank has been investing in the team since it became a corporate club in the 2020 season. “Next season, we want to prepare more solidly and reach the ACL stage,” said Daejeon Hana head coach Lee Min-seong.