The pride of ‘Hyundai rivals’ Ulsan and Jeonbuk, which had been fiercely competing for the K-League 1 title for the past few years, sparked off from the Media Day held ahead of the opening. The strong desire to win the championship was also revealed without hiding it in the heavy emotions contained in the words that came and went.
At the 2023 K League 1 Opening Media Day held at The-K Hotel in Yangjae-dong, Seoul on the 20th, it was Ulsan and Jeonbuk that drew the most attention. The hot competition between the two teams that had been going on since 2019 continued until 2021, when Jeonbuk always laughed in the back judgement at the last minute, but last year Ulsan finally won the championship and the situation was reversed.
Jeonbuk promises to become the ‘absolute top 1’ again through a massive reinforcement of power ahead of this season. In particular, among the recruited players, Japanese midfielder Amano Jun, who contributed greatly to Ulsan’s championship last year, brought the emotional battle between the two teams to a climax during the off-season. When Ulsan coach Hong Myung-bo expressed regret to Amano, saying, “I broke my promise by leaving it,” Amano did not lose and said, “Ulsan’s proposal was late.” Then, in Ulsan, he refuted again by disclosing the entire negotiation process.
Both teams were contenders for the championship recognized by everyone. Most of the coaches of the 12 K-League 1 teams, excluding Ulsan and Jeonbuk, announced that Ulsan and Jeonbuk would fight for the championship.
As it was a public event, there was no mention of Amano on the day, but the battle of nerves between the two teams was sharp.
Jeonbuk coach Kim Sang-sik flew the ball first. When asked, “Please pick a team that is likely to make it to the semifinals,” coach Kim said, “I think teams like Incheon United, FC Seoul, and Jeju United will make it to the semifinals.” “I want Gangwon to beat Ulsan and advance to the semifinals. I lost 4 times to Ulsan last year, but I want to work hard and make it to the semifinals.” Gangwon has never won since May 2012 with Ulsan and 22 times with 4 draws and 18 losses. Last season, they also suffered 4 losses in 4 matches, and in particular, Ulsan confirmed the championship with the loss of the last confrontation held at home in October of last year. Director Choi, who heard this, said, “It is a jinx that cannot be accepted. Last year, coach Kim persistently asked (to beat Ulsan). I will prepare to catch Ulsan this year, and I don’t think coach Kim has to worry.” Director Hong Myung-bo’s face hardened little by little as he listened to the two directors.
The war of nerves between the two coaches continued until the question, ‘Please select one player you want to bring among the players who attended Media Day’. Here too, coach Kim attacked first. Coach Kim picked Jeong Seung-hyun, who attended with coach Hong, and said, “(Ulsan) is a rival team. All Ulsan players are coveted.” Then, this time, coach Hong also counterattacked. Coach Hong said, “There is an old saying that always recruit players who bully our team and put them on the bench. (Director Kim’s words) prove that Jeong Seung-hyun is a good player. Jeong Seung-hyun, who received the microphone, said, “When I was at Kimcheon Managing Director, Director Kim chose me. He was grateful,” but replied, “But under Director Hong, I will never leave.”
There was also a battle of nerves between the players of both teams. When asked, “Please pick a team that wants to win all three matches before the final round,” Jeong Seung-hyun picked Jeonbuk and said, “Of course it is Jeonbuk. If you win all 3 times, you get 9 points. 토토사이트 All other teams have to win, but Jeonbuk still wants to win.” Hong Jung-ho, who was listening to Jeong Seung-hyun’s answer, made a puzzled expression and said, “It’s fun. We also want to beat Ulsan. If I win 3 wins over Ulsan, I think I will win.”
Ulsan and Jeonbuk will face each other in the opening match of the season at Ulsan Munsu Soccer Stadium on the 25th. Jeong Seung-hyun said, “We are entering the season as defending champions. Although there are pressures and burdens, I will do my best with a sincere heart to start over from the beginning with the attitude of a challenger. I will do my best to win.” Hong Jeong-ho also said, “Last year was the first time I didn’t win after coming to Jeonbuk. So, this season is a burden,” he said, “but I will recapture the championship as a challenger.”