It took Ulsan Hyundai 17 years to reclaim the K League 1 championship last year.
Ulsan coach Hong Myung-bo’s ’10-year cycle fortune’ was a science. He made another promise last year. He said, “With this win, I will change it to the ‘one-year cycle theory.’” That smile is becoming reality.
Ulsan’s ‘D-Day’ has dawned. Ulsan, which reached the top of K-League 1 last year for the first time in 17 years, is getting closer to its first two consecutive losses since its founding. There is only one step left to become the team’s fourth star.
Ulsan will play the second round of the ‘Hana One Q K League 1 2023’ final against Daegu FC at Ulsan World Cup Stadium at 2 pm on the 29th. The second-place Pohang Steelers (60 points) drew 1-1 with Jeonbuk Hyundai the previous day, reducing the ‘magic number’ to ‘1’.
Ulsan is currently leading the team with 67 points. If we beat Daegu, we will reach 70 points. The point gap with Pohang widens to 10 points. There are 3 games remaining. Even if Pohang wins and Ulsan loses, it will not be overturned. Ulsan’s ‘early victory’ is confirmed.
Ulsan had no opponents this season. It was a ‘straight line’ journey. Although he was placed in 3rd place in the second round due to multiple points, he was always in first place in terms of points. Not once did he lose the lead.
Ulsan has slowed down recently. In K-League 1, it is a scoreless draw for 3 consecutive games (2 draws, 1 loss). But there is no big worry.
Although they lost 0-1 in the first round of the finals away to Gwangju, their performance revived. On the 24th, in the Asian Champions League (ACL), they defeated Johor (Malaysia) 3-1 despite being outnumbered with 10 players.
Daegu was also strong this season. They have the upper hand with 2 wins and 1 draw. On May 5, Ulsan won 3-0 in an enemy field and broke the Daegu away jinx (the first away win in Daegu since Hong Myung-bo took office). At that time, Hwang Jae-hwan (2 goals) and Bako scored consecutive goals.
On June 24th, at home, Kim Tae-hwan and Bako (2 goals) hit the net in succession to win 3-1. On August 5th, there was a 0-0 draw away to Daegu.
Of course, 6th place Daegu (49 points) refuses to be a ‘victim for the championship.’ Bae Su-jin was hit to keep the glimmer of hope of playing in the ACL.
If Ulsan secures an ‘early victory’, they will have the space to focus on ACL. It can also boost players’ confidence.
Coach Hong announced that he would try to compete in 1-2 games ahead of the final round. He expressed confidence, saying, “I said this week would be a very important week for the players. I am fully aware of this.”굿모닝토토 주소