Rookie Kim Joo-chan (19) and foreign player Acosti (32) of the bottom-ranked Suwon Samsung in professional soccer’s K League 1 have shown their determination to stay in the top flight.
Suwon defeated Suwon FC 3-2 in the 36th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at Suwon Sports Complex on April 12.
Suwon had a difficult start to the match, with Kazuki being sent off for an unsportsmanlike foul in the first 15 minutes and then conceding the opening goal. However, Acosti equalized just before halftime, and Ahn Byung-joon grabbed the lead at the start of the second half. It was the first time Suwon had come from behind in a league match this season. Despite conceding again in the seventh minute, Kim Joo-chan scored the final goal in the 33rd minute to secure a thrilling three points.
The result tightened the gap between the relegation zone contenders from 10th-ranked Suwon FC (32 points) to 11th-ranked Gangwon FC (30 points) to 12th-ranked Suwon (29 points).
The bottom 12 teams in K League 1 this season are automatically relegated, while teams in 10th and 11th place head to the promotion playoffs (PO). 12th-place Suwon has two games in hand. They have a “super match” against FC Seoul on Nov. 25 (away) and a final match against Gangwon on Dec. 2 (home). The final match against Gangwon is predicted to be a guillotine match. 무지개토토
Despite the dramatic win against Suwon FC, the players’ reactions were mixed. “Even though we had one player sent off, I think the players played hard and didn’t give up until the end to bring home the win,” said Kim Joo-chan, who was named the Suwon FC Player of the Match. “Every game is the same. It’s not ‘let’s do better, let’s prepare,'” he said, adding, “We just look at the (upcoming) game and try to play until the end.”
Acosti, who scored the equalizer and assisted on the game-winner against Suwon FC, reflected in the post-match press conference at the Mix Zone: “We won because the players showed strong mental strength.” Meanwhile, he has memories of last year’s promotion PO with FC Anyang. He scored the tying goal in the second leg of the promotion PO against Suwon. Recalling that time, Acosti reiterated that “mental strength is the most important thing” and encouraged, “It’s a tough season, but it’s not over yet.”
Neither player mentioned “automatic relegation” once. It will be interesting to see if the fans’ rag “Suwon has always been strong in times of crisis” will be recognized once again.