I said let’s finish it this week!”
Professional soccer team Ulsan Hyundai finished second in K-League 1 for three consecutive years starting in 2019, then lifted the championship trophy for the first time in 17 years last year and experienced the joy of becoming champions for the third time in total.
Coach Hong Myung-bo, who took the helm of Ulsan starting in the 2021 season, led the team to victory in the second season following a runner-up finish in his first year as K League 1 head coach.
This season, in his third year in office, ‘Hong Myung-protected’ Ulsan is on the verge of losing its second consecutive K-League 1 league title.온라인카지노
Until the 34th round of Hana One Q K League 1 2023, Ulsan has accumulated 67 points and is ahead of second place Pohang Steelers (59 points) by 8 points.
Depending on the results of the 35th round, which will be held on the 28th and 29th, Ulsan is in an advantageous position to secure an early victory regardless of the results of the remaining three games.
There are prerequisites for Ulsan to secure victory in the 35th round.
First, Jeonbuk Hyundai must win or draw against Pohang at Jeonju World Cup Stadium at 2 p.m. on the 28th.
If Pohang fails to beat Jeonbuk and Ulsan defeats Daegu FC at Ulsan Munsu Stadium at 2pm on the 29th, Ulsan’s ‘early victory scenario’ will be completed.
However, Jeonbuk suffered three consecutive losses against Pohang this season.
Jeonbuk, which has fallen out of the K-League 1 championship, must close the gap with third-place Gwangju FC (57 points) in order to secure a spot in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) next season.
Jeonbuk also advanced to the semifinals of this year’s Korea Football Association Cup (FA Cup), but it is safe to secure at least third place in K League 1 to secure a spot in next year’s ACL.
Although Jeonbuk suffered three losses to Pohang this season, if we compare recent performances, they are ahead of Pohang in terms of upside.
In the last 4 games, Jeonbuk had 3 wins and 1 loss (6 goals, 4 goals conceded), while Pohang had 3 draws and 1 loss (1 goal, 2 goals conceded).
Pohang suffered from no points in three consecutive games from rounds 31 to 33, and ended their scoreless streak with a 1-1 draw with Incheon in round 34.
In particular, Pohang’s core players – Wandelsson, Oberdan, Grant, and Baek Seong-dong – were missing due to injury, and they even traveled to Saitama, Japan for the third game of the ACL group stage on the 24th.
At least, it is encouraging that Pohang lifted the mood by winning 2-0 against the Urawa Reds in Japan.
Even if Jeonbuk catches Pohang on the 28th, Ulsan must ultimately achieve an ‘early win’ on its own.
Ulsan has also not been performing well recently.
In K League 1, there were 3 consecutive games without a win (2 draws, 1 loss) and no scores. The only consolation is that they defeated Johor Barul Takzim (Malaysia) 3-1 in the third match of the ACL group stage on the 24th.
However, in the game against Johor, Ulsan also showed weaknesses in the mid-first half, with Kim Tae-hwan being sent off for accumulating warnings and lack of concentration in defense even in the process of conceding goals.
As Ulsan enters the second half of the season, there are frequent instances where the players’ concentration breaks down for a moment, which is not typical of the ‘absolute top tier’, and it does not seem to be properly corrected until the end of the season.
Director Hong is also worried about this.
In a phone call with Yonhap News, he said, “I told the players to finish it this week,” and emphasized, “But we must not always let our guard down.”
Hana One Q K League 1 2023 Round 35 Schedule▲ 28th (Sat)
Jeonbuk-Pohang (14:00, Jeonju World Cup Stadium)
Gwangju-Incheon (16:30, Gwangju Stadium)
Gangwon-Jeju (16:30, Gangneung Sports Complex)
▲ 29th (Sun)
Ulsan -Daegu (14:00, Ulsan Munsu Stadium)
Suwon-Daejeon (14:00, Suwon World Cup Stadium)
Suwon FC-Seoul (16:30, Suwon Sports Complex)