The eyes of the K-League Final A are on the third place. There’s a reason. It’s because of the variables surrounding Asian Champions League (ACL) tickets. The ACL is undergoing a transformation next season. It will be split into ACL Elite (ACLE) and ACL2. In European terms, the ACL is the European Champions League and the ACL2 is the Europa League. Since the tournament has been split into two, the ticket distribution will also change. Instead of 3+1 tickets for the K League, there will now be 2+1 tickets for the ACLE and 1 ticket for ACL2.레모나토토
The problem is that qualification hasn’t been finalized. The question of whether the FA Cup winner will go to ACLE or ACL2 has become a hot topic. In the case of the original proposal, the first-place FA Cup team would go to the main competition and the second-place team would go to the playoffs (PO), while in the case of the KFA’s proposal, the first and second-place teams would go directly to the main competition and the third-place team would go to the PO. In this situation, the Pohang Steelers won the FA Cup, adding one more variable to the equation. Pohang is currently in second place. Assuming Pohang clinches the second spot, the third-place team will have a chance if things go as planned.
The battle for third place is pretty hot. Currently, Gwangju FC (57 points), Jeonbuk Hyundai (53 points), and Incheon United (52 points) are all in sight. Sixth-place Daegu FC (49 points) is also mathematically possible.
Gwangju, which is looking to qualify for its first ever Asian stage, is counting on a last-minute spurt. A 0-2 loss to second-placed Incheon in Round 35 snapped their winning streak, but the mood is good. Timo is back, and Lee Hee-kyun and Lee Min-ki are back to full fitness. Head coach Lee Jung-hyo has also made no secret of his desire to reach the ACL. For Jeonbuk, who have become irrelevant this season, reaching the ACL would be the last straw. Depending on whether or not they forfeit the game against Pohang due to a controversial ‘substitution mistake’, they may be able to accelerate their pursuit of Gwangju. For now, Jeonbuk is all-in for the rest of the tournament.
Incheon, who missed out on their most coveted FA Cup title, is also putting a lot of effort into their remaining games to qualify for the ACL for the second year in a row. The loss of key resources such as Shin Shin-ho and Delbridge has been painful.