Daejeon Citizen claimed the K League Challenge title on the weekend after Ansan Police could only manage a draw in their match against Anyang FC, giving Daejeon an eight point lead over second-placed Ansan with two matches left.
Daejeon was relegated to K League Challenge after they finished bottom of K League Classic last season. While the other relegated teams Daegu FC and Gangwon FC were considered the favourites for promotion, few experts expected Daejeon to perform well this season. Those predictions seemed to be justified after Daejeon were defeated 1–4 by Suwon FC in the opening game of the season.
However, after their 4–1 victory over Goyang Hi FC in the second round, Daejeon went on a 14-game undefeated run. Adriano was a key to the success of the team with 27 goals in 31 games, making him the league’s top scorer ahead of Gangwon’s Alex, who has scored 15 goals.
Adriano did not carry the team on his back alone, though. Kim Eun-jung, one of the club’s legendary players who won the team’s first trophy (FA Cup) in 2001, returned to Daejeon this year, more than a decade after he left the club in 2003.
Rim Chang-woo is another player who had a standout season. The 22-year-old defender helped the team have a balance between attack and defence. His impressive performance led him to be the only player from K League Challenge to make an appearance in the 2014 Asian Games, where he scored a dramatic winning goal in the final against North Korea.
As a result of winning K League Challenge Daejeon gain automatic promotion to K League Classic in 2015, while second-placed Ansan have qualified for the promotion play-offs regardless of any future results.