26,004 football fans gathered at Ulsan Munsu World Cup Stadium on the 14th, when Ulsan Hyundai, who ranked first in the professional soccer K League 1 (division 1), faced off with FC Seoul, who ranked second. Ulsan coach Hong Myung-bo (54) is a star who needs no explanation. The Seoul coach is Ahn Ik-soo (58), who was somewhat far from a star. Coach Hong is called ‘Brother Leadership’ and Coach Ahn is called ‘Father Leadership’, and each draws a different team color.
Seoul has been recording a disastrous record of 4 draws and 12 losses since 2018 against Ulsan, so Ahn’s determination for the game that day was extraordinary. The desire to win at any cost was evident from the start. From the list of starting players, key players such as Na Sang-ho (27), Ki Sung-yong (34) and Hwang Eui-jo (31), who are the league’s top scorer (8 goals), were subtracted. It was an irregular tactic. Coach Ahn said before the game, “Let’s see why I did this.” It was a strategy to conserve the stamina of key players, lock it in the first half, and then bet on the game in the second half. Director Hong did not change, saying, “We will do what we always do.”
The flow did not go as director Ahn intended. In the 14th minute of the first half, Martin Adam (29, Hungary) of Ulsan, after selecting an exquisite position, hit the ball in front of the goal and scored the opening goal. Nevertheless, coach Ahn raised the number of wins with the start of the second half as originally planned. Na Sang-ho, Ki Sung-yong, and Hwang Ui-jo were put in at the same time. The effect was visible in the first minute of the second half. Kim Shin-jin (22) of Seoul kicked the ball right in front of the goal and scored the equalizer. Now start from scratch. As the trio of ‘Na Gi-hwang’, who still had their stamina, were actively moving, the Seoul players were excited with confidence that they would ‘take Ulsan now’.
However, motivation alone does not change the game. Ulsan, who did not change tactics with perseverance, took a 2-1 lead when Bakko (30, Georgia) gently trapped the ball from the right side in the 3rd minute of the second half and inserted it into the left side of the goal. Even in the 22nd minute of the second half, Bako scored a key goal with a powerful and accurate right-footed shot in front of the goal.
In Seoul, in the 43rd minute of the second half, Hwang Eui-jo decided to wind up the shot and hit the post, and Park Soo-il (27) scored a chase goal in extra time, but it was already too late. Ulsan beat Seoul again, 3-2. 4 draws and 12 losses became 4 draws and 13 losses. The confrontation between coach Hong and coach Ahn ended with a decision victory by coach Hong. Director Hong said, “I predicted how Seoul would come out in the second half. We just stuck to our football.”
Seoul was ahead in possession (59%-41%) and number of shots (17-13), and steadily pushed Ulsan to the extent that effective shots (11-11) were the same, but as the losing team always did, it left a sense of disappointment in goal-making. Na Sang-ho of Seoul made several shots, but throughout the second half, he could not surpass Ulsan goalkeeper Cho Hyeon-woo (32).
Coach Ahn stressed the players with shouts and big gestures throughout the game. Is it because the game didn’t go as planned? In the 7th minute of the second half when he allowed an additional goal, he was sent off after receiving two warnings in a row while fighting with the referee over a sideline out. Seoul coach Kim Jin-gyu (38), who attended the post-game press conference in place of coach Ahn, said, “It is difficult to say anything because the coach’s departure is the referee’s decision. As you can see in the second half, I kept pushing, but it is regrettable that no goal was scored.” Ulsan recorded 34 points with the victory that day, comfortably widening the gap with 2nd place Seoul (23 points) to 11 points. Coach Hong said, “There will definitely be a hurdle this season,” and “I will predict and prepare.”안전놀이터
Jeonbuk Hyundai, whose head coach Kim Sang-sik resigned voluntarily on the 4th after taking responsibility for poor performance, drew 0-0 with Incheon United on the same day. Although it maintained 9th place (15 points), it is showing a gradual recovery with 1 win and 2 draws in 3 matches under the system of acting manager Kim Doo-hyun. Incheon failed to escape the relegation zone, remaining in 10th place with 13 points.
Jeju United won 5-0 in an away game against Suwon FC, and rose from 5th to 3rd place (23 points) with 5 consecutive wins. From the 23rd minute of the second half, he showed off his firepower by scoring four goals. Suwon FC (15 points) stayed in 7th place.