The first day of September marks the end of summer in South Korea and the end of the league as we know it. From now, until the end of the season, the K-League’s 14 teams will be split into two Known simply as Group A and Group B, the top half will fight it out for the title while those downstairs will be hoping to avoid relegation.
After 26 rounds, there are 12 left, meaning that the teams in each group will meet each other twice. Authorities hope that this leads to more meaningful games and more excitement. It does for the top half but for Group B, not so much.
The Title Race is ON
Pohang Steelers are in pole position but only just. Two straight defeats going into the split have cut the lead that the three-time Asian champions have to a single point. Indeed, the top four are just three points apart. It is set to be quite a finish.
The Steelers are not the real story, though the absence of foreign stars is certainly unusual and of interest, and neither are Ulsan Horangi, a point behind in second. In the past few weeks, it has been all about FC Seoul and Jeonbuk Motors. The top two from 2012, have both put together quite a run of results.
Seoul, don’t forget, started the season with four points from the first seven games and even after that, for a while, were not exactly the model of consistency. Nobody ever really thought that the team would miss out on the top half of the league but the defence of the title looked over almost before it begun. But Choi Yong-soo’s men ended the first stage with 28 points from a possible 30 and even …