The inaugural K League Challenge season finished at the start of December and it was overall a successful season. The quality of football and average attendances where better than many expected and it has increased the number of professional clubs in South Korea which is good to see.
Sangju Sangmu (basically the Korean Army) won the first K League Challenge title and advanced to the relegation/promotion playoff where they faced K League Classic side Gangwon. The 1st leg ended 4 – 1 in favor of Sangju Sangmu and the 2nd leg ended 1 – 0 to Gangwon. There the aggergate score was 4 – 2 and Sangju Sangmu have been promoted to the K League Classic, whilst Gangwon join the K League Challenge for next season.
Here is our summary of the K League Challenge Season with the key facts, stats and thoughts:
K League Challenge 2013 Final Table
As you can see Sangju Sangmu won the league with ease with Korean Police and Gwangju ending up in 2nd and 3rd. Suwon City were the best of the rest closely followed by FC Anyang and Goyang Hi. Bucheon 1995 faded badly after a strong started and finished 7th. Whilst Chungju Hummel have the unfortunate honor of being the bottom side.
Prediction Update and Review
Here is our Prediction from pre-season back in January, also including the changes compered to the final table:
- Sangju Sangmu Phoenix (=)
- Gwangju FC (+1)
- Police FC (-1)
- FC Anyang (+1)
- Goyang Hi FC (+1)
- Suwon City FC (-2)
- Bucheon FC 1995 (=)
- Chungbuk Chungju Hummel (=)
Firstly please bare in mind that we wrote this prediction back in January over a month before the season started and also with few facts and details on the new sides joining the league. However looking at our prediction and the end of the season table they’re not poles apart. Basically Suwon City FC finished a few places higher and Gwangju and Police were 3rd and 2nd not 2nd and 3rd. The top and bottom were both correct.
The Top Goalscorers for the 2013 K League Challenge were:
1st: Wesley Alex (Goyang Hi) – 16 Goals
=2nd: Lee Keun-Ho (Sangju Sangmu ~ on loan from Ulsan Hyundai) – 15 Goals
=2nd: Lee Sang-Hyup (Sangju Sangmu ~ on loan from Daejeon Citizen) – 15 Goals
4th: Lucio (Gwangju) – 13 Goals
=5th: Park Jong-Chan (Suwon City) – 10 Goals
=5th: Yang Dong-Hyun (Korean Police ~ on loan from Busan I’Park) – 10 Goals
K League Challenge Awards (Random Stats)
Here are a few awards (basically random stats) from the 2013 K League Challenge. Some maybe a little surprising whilst others less so.
Top Goal Scorers: Sangju Sangmu (65 Goals)
Weakest Goal Scorers: Chungju Hummel (33 Goals)
Best Defence: Sangju Sangmu (31 Conceded)
Worst Defence: Bucheon 1995 (61 Conceded)
Draw Specialists: Goyang Hi (11 Draws)
Best Attendance: Gwangju vs. Bucheon 1995 (18,560 on Oct 20th)
Highest Average Attendance: Sangju Sangmu (2,556)
Lowest Attendance: Goyang Hi vs. Korean Police (284 on May 27th)
Lowest Average Attendance: Goyang Hi (738)
Worst Discipline: Yang Sang-Min, Korean Police (8 Yellow Cards & 2 Red Cards)
Final Thoughts and Next Season
As we’ve already stated we feel that this inaugural K League Challenge season has been successful. It may take a few years at least to settle and grow into being a true 2nd tier behind the K League Classic. However this season has shown that there is more depth to the game in Korea. The obvious downside this year at least was the slight lack of competition at the top, and repetitive games due to there only being 8 sides. However the future does look bright for the K League Challenge (or K League 2).
Next season, the 2014 season is confirmed however it’s still unclear who exactly with be in the league. It seems highly likely this seasons 2nd to 8th sides plus Daejeon, Daegu and Gangwon from the K League Classic will the competing, however there maybe 1 or 2 new sides joining. There have only been rumors so far, however teams from Ansan and Cheonan have hinted possible entry into the 2014 league. Personally we’d like to see a side from Seoul joining maybe Seoul United as well as maybe a team from Yongin.
If you have any questions regarding the K League Challenge or if you have anything you’d like to add please let us know either here or via our social media channels.