Gwangju is first Korean team relegated in 30 years

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm •  Published: November 29, 2012
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While two teams are relegated, promotion will not be introduced until 2014 as the K-League reduces its number of teams from 16 in 2012 to 12 in 2014.

"What can you, the first coach to be relegation in 30 yearsm, say?" said coach Choi Man-hee following Gwangju's loss at Daegu. "It would have been good if we had won tonight.

"As this is just the second season, there is a gap in experience with the established teams. As the coach, I take responsibility for the results."

In Japan, which introduced relegation in 1999, four teams are trying to avoid the last two spots.

The biggest surprise is that Gamba Osaka is in danger. The 2008 Asian Champions League winner has seen a number of top players depart, and despite being the highest scoring team in the division, a porous defense means it sits in the relegation zone.

It can still throw up surprises and before the start of the season, few expected 2008 Asian Champions League winner Gamba Osaka to be in the relegation zone with one game left to play. Consadole Sapporo and Albirex Niigata are already relegated.

If Vissel Kobe, a point ahead of Gamba, and Cerezo Osaka, three points better off, both win then Gamba is relegated regardless of the result in its game at Jubilo Iwata.

Only if rivals drop points can Gamba hope to survive.

There are also worries about what will happen to Gamba's best players, especially Japan international midfielder Yasuhito Endo if the team drops to J2. Endo has been linked with moves to other J-League teams and there is rumored to be overseas interests. "Even if we are relegated, then we will do our utmost to keep our best players such as Endo," club president Kikuo Kanamori told local media earlier this week.

Consadole Sapporo is already relegated while Albirex Niigata must win and hope that other results are favorable.



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