With an aggregate score of 0-0, the Suwon Samsung Bluewings versus FC Anyang Promotion-Relegation Playoff is as delicately poised as can be. After Wednesday's stalemate, the two teams meet at Big Bird this Saturday to earn a place in K League 1 for next season.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings and FC Anyang played out a spirited 0-0 draw on Wednesday night. The Bluewings shaded possession with 52% to Anyang's 48% while the two teams both had eight shots on goal - Anyang landed four on target, Suwon just two.
Suwon's most dominant spell of possession was around the 30-minute mark when their percentage went over 64%. Anyang's best period was the last 30 minutes when they had 53% of the ball.
FC Anyang headed into the tie against Suwon on the back of two matches without a win and just two wins in eight.
At home, though, the Violets were unbeaten in their last three with two wins and a draw. In the playoff semifinal, Anyang drew 0-0 against Gyeongnam FC to seal their place in the next round. Anyang didn't win any of their three final away games of the regular season. Overall, the Violets' away record reads played 20, won eight, drawn six, and lost six.
Suwon Bluewings, on the other hand, had one loss in five and made the short trip to Anyang on the back of two straight wins with six goals and one conceded. In the regular season, from 20 home matches in the league, Suwon won six, drew seven, and lost seven. The 3-0 win over Suwon FC was the Bluewings' first at home in two months following a six-match win-less run at Big Bird.
Since joining K League in 2013, FC Anyang have made the playoffs on two previous occasions. The first was in 2019 before bowing out to eventual winners Busan IPark, the second was just last year but a 3-1 home loss to Daejeon Hana Citizen cut the Violets' playoff campaign short.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings, meanwhile, had never played in the promotion-relegation playoffs before. The Bluewings, by ending the season in 10th, have recorded their lowest-ever finish in K League.
This will be the first-ever K League Promotion-Relegation Playoff 2, with 10th in K League one taking on the winners of third versus fourth or fifth in K League 2. For the first time ever, three teams could be relegated and promoted to and from K League 1.
Away goals do not count extra in this tie. If the score is level after 90 minutes the match will head to extra time and then penalties if necessary.
FC Anyang were able to welcome attacking midfielder Andrigo back to the fold on Wednesday night. The Brazilian had missed the last eight through injury. Right back Koo Dae-young will be hoping he did enough to keep his place in the team as he looks to play against his parent club for the second time in a week.
For the Bluewings, Lee Byung-keun could reinstate Dave Bulthuis in his starting lineup after the Dutchman was named among the substitutes on Wednesday. As too striker An Byong-jun who scored four against FC Anyang last season while playing for Busan IPark, and two in 2019 while playing for Suwon FC.
Before last Wednesday's stalemate, FC Anyang and Suwon Samsung Bluewings had only met twice before and both meetings came in the FA Cup. The most recent was in May 2021 when the Bluewings needed penalties to advance to the quarter-finals. Ryosuke Tamura and Ha Seung-woon were the Anyang players who missed their spot kicks.
The very first meeting came in FC Anyang's very first season in K League, in 2013. In front of an 11,000-strong crowd at Anyang Civic Stadium, the Violets lost 2-1 to the Bluewings on that occasion. Jeong Jae-yong had actually given Anyang the lead on 53 minutes only for a Jeong Hyeon-yoon own goal on 87 minutes to see the tie level. The winner was found in the 94th minute via Seo Jung-jin.
Following Wednesday's 0-0 draw both Suwon and Anyang will be looking to their creative players for inspiration. Luckily, both teams have their respective division's top assister maker within their ranks. Suwon's Lee Ki-je finished the season on 14 assists while Anyang's Maxwell Acosty recorded 11.
Lee Ki-je attempted six passes into the final third on Wednesday, three came off while his only pass into the penalty area proved successful. Acosty, meanwhile, made one key pass to tee up Andrigo in the 48th minute, and both his passes into the penalty area were successful.
Where to Watch
Suwon Samsung Bluewings versus FC Anyang kicks off at 14:00 KST on Saturday 29th October.
Fans in countries with K League overseas broadcasting rights can follow the game live on television. Check local listings for more information
Alternatively, the match is also available for FREE on tv.kleague.com with English commentary