Professional soccer team Ulsan Hyundai became the K League 1 champions for the second consecutive year for the first time since its founding, earning the fourth ‘winning star’ in its history.
Ulsan won 2-0 at home against Daegu FC in the 35th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 Final A at Ulsan Munsu Stadium on Monday, thanks to Kim Min-hyuk’s header in the 23rd minute and Jang Si-young’s wedge goal in the 44th minute.
With the win, Ulsan, which has accumulated 70 points from 21 wins, seven draws and seven losses, extended its lead over second-place Pohang Steelers (60 points) to 10 points and secured the 2023 K League 1 title regardless of the outcome of the remaining three matches.
Pohang, whose chase for the title was halted by a 1-1 draw at fourth-placed Jeonbuk Hyundai (53 points) the previous day, cannot catch Ulsan even if they win all three of their remaining matches.
Ulsan, which reached the top of the K League in 1996 and 2005, clinched the top spot again this year to win the title for the fourth time in its history (1996-2005-2022-2023) after last year’s “return of the champions” after a 17-year hiatus.
In particular, Hong Myung-bo became the sixth manager in history to lead Ulsan to back-to-back K League championships.
In the 40-year history of professional soccer, only six managers have won more than two consecutive K League titles: Kim Ho (1998-1999 – Suwon Samsung), the late Park Jong-hwan (1993-1994-1995), Cha Kyung-bok (2001-2002-2003 – Seongnam Ilhwa), Choi Kang-hee (2014-2015, 2017-2018), Jo Je Morais (2019-2020 – Jeonbuk Hyundai), and Hong Myung-bo (2022-2023 – Ulsan).
Ulsan also reached the 300,000 home attendance mark for a single season with 18,933 fans at the stadium.
Ulsan struggled to break through Daegu’s thick defense, which sat deep from the start of the first half, but were unable to create any chances.
In fact, in the eighth minute of the first half, Ulsan allowed Daegu’s Go Jae-hyun to make a crucial breakthrough on the counterattack, allowing him to shoot with his right foot, but a super save by ‘Spider Hand’ Cho Hyun-woo narrowly avoided a goal, and the first half ended scoreless.
The second half continued with Ulsan’s one-sided offense and Daegu’s ‘payback’ situation.
Ulsan missed a golden opportunity to score in the 19th minute when Ataru changed direction with his right foot from the right side of the goal area after Uhm Won-sang drove into the right corner of the penalty area, but his shot just missed the left post.
In the 19th minute of the second half, Hong Myung-bo took off Kim Sung-joon and brought on Kim Min-hyuk, a move that proved to be a stroke of genius.
Kim rattled the Daegu net in the 23rd minute with a header from the right side of the goal area off a cross from the left flank by Ataru.
It was Kim Min-hyuk’s ‘winning goal’ just four minutes after taking the field.
Substitutes were responsible for Ulsan’s second goal.
Ulsan substituted Jang In-gyu and Jang Si-young in the 39th minute of the second half, and in the 44th minute, Jang In-gyu’s long ball into the back of the defense from near the center line was met by Jang Si-young, who rushed to the right of the goal area and scored a wedge goal to seal the victory.
Relegation-threatened ‘old guard’ Suwon Samsung had to settle for a shock draw at home to Daejeon Hana Citizen at Suwon World Cup Stadium after leading 2-0 with 10 minutes to play.
Suwon took the lead in the first half through goals from Kim Joo-chan in the 20th minute and Acosti in the 29th minute and looked to be on the verge of a ‘breakthrough’, but a combination play from Daejeon’s Masa and Thiago in the final minute of the game disappointed the 10,000 fans in attendance.
In the 35th minute, Thiago finished off a cutback from Kang Yoon-sung with a non-stop right-footed shot to give Daejeon the lead.
With his 16th goal of the season, Thiago overtook Lee In-jong-kyu (15 goals, Ulsan) to become the league’s top scorer.
In the 49th minute, Thiago’s header pass was converted by Masaga in the box to make it 2-2.
With only one point, Suwon remained at the bottom of the table (26 points). The gap between them and Gangwon FC (27 points), who drew 1-1 with Jeju United the previous day, remained at one point.
At the Seoul World Cup Stadium, home team FC Seoul came from behind to beat Suwon FC 4-3 in a nail-biting match.
Suwon FC took the lead in the 29th minute through Lopez, but Seoul fought back to make it 3-2 in the second half through goals from Ki Sung-yueng (11th), Willian (14th), and Bjorn Johnson (28th).
Then, in the 46th minute, Lopez scored a penalty kick goal and it looked like the game would end in a draw.
However, just a minute later, Seoul’s Kim Kyung-min scored the winning goal to put Sangambeol on the board. 파워볼분석