Will Ulsan Hyundai’s ‘No. 1 system’ last until the end? Gwangju FC, who jumped to ‘No. 3’ contrary to pre-season expectations, throws down the gauntlet.
The stage is set for the 29th round of the K League 1 on September 3 at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium.
Ulsan, which has an overwhelming lead in the standings (61 points), has won both meetings with third-place Gwangju (42 points).
Given the difference in quality between last year’s champions and this year’s promoted Gwangju, it’s not surprising, but it hasn’t been easy. Ulsan won by one goal each, 2-1 at home in April and 1-0 in Gwangju in July.
So there is hope that the third meeting will be different. While Ulsan has faltered a bit since their trip to Gwangju, with three wins, two draws, and three losses, Gwangju is unbeaten (three wins and five draws). This is the opposite of the expectation that Gwangju, with its thin roster, would collapse in the middle of the summer. The team was able to move from seventh to third in the standings at this point.
It’s also interesting to note that Ulsan and Gwangju’s team colors have been in opposite directions lately. Ulsan, the team with the most goals (52), has a Plan B of a salty defense that doesn’t leave much space for the opposition, as well as traditional attacking football.
Gwangju, on the other hand, sticks to attacking football without looking back. While Asani (7 goals) is their top scorer, they’ve established themselves as a difficult team to stop, with multiple players contributing to their goals.
It’s unfortunate that the fixers for both teams will most likely not be available for this matchup.
Gwangju’s Uhm Won-sang, who helped Ulsan win the championship last year, and Gwangju’s newest idol, Uhm Ji-sung. Uhm Won-sang won his first match of the year against Uhm Ji-sung, who was a senior at Gwangju Kumho High School.
Uhm wanted to showcase the confidence he gained in his previous match, when he was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 28th round for his multi-goal performance against Suwon Samsung Electronics, but he was called up to the Olympic soccer team.
Uhm will not be able to play against Ulsan because he is participating in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers, which kick off on Sept. 6. According to the Korean Football Association’s rules, the Olympic Asian qualifiers must be called up 10 days before the opening day to commit to the national team. Some clubs had requested to be exempted from the call, but the proximity to the national team’s game date prevented them from doing so. 온라인바카라