The ‘Lee Jung-hyo Magic’ finally works in the Ulsan tiger’s den.
Gwangju FC, led by head coach Lee Jung-hyo, defeated K League 1 leaders Ulsan Hyundai to reclaim third place. Gwangju won 2-0 away from home against Ulsan in the 29th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at Munsu Stadium in Ulsan on March 3.
With 12 wins, 9 draws, and 8 losses (45 points), Gwangju won its second straight game and its ninth consecutive game unbeaten (4 wins, 5 draws), heading for its best finish in club history. Ulsan, on the other hand, went winless for the second straight game (1 loss, 1 draw) and continued its dreadful run of 2 wins, 2 draws, and 4 losses in its last eight games. They remain at the top of the table with 61 points (19W4D6L), but the gap between them and second-place Pohang Steelers (53 points) has shrunk to eight.
It has been more than eight years since Gwangju beat Ulsan, with a 1-0 away win on July 11, 2015, under Nam Ki-il. Prior to that victory, Gwangju had been plagued by the ‘Ulsan jinx’, having lost five and drawn 11 of their previous 16 matches.
They have played well under Lee this season, but lost 1-2 (away) in April and 0-1 (home) in July. They finally succeeded in catching the ‘big fish’ Ulsan on their third attempt.
Gwangju was missing striker Heo Yul and Uhm Ji Sung, who scored two goals in the previous match against Suwon Samsung Electronics (4-0 win), while Asani, who scored one goal, did not play due to accumulated cautions. Timo, a key part of the defense, was also left off the roster as he recovers from injury.
“It was hard to prepare,” Lee said before the game, referring to his team’s lack of four starters. Heo Yul, Uhm Ji-sung, and Asani were unavailable, and Hyunta (Reality Awakening Time) came four days ago, but we improved. It’s important to play our colors no matter who comes in and out. We will press a lot and be aggressive,” he said, showing his unique confidence.
The coach, who has become one of the best strategists in the K League, was not exaggerating. Gwangju started with Lee Kun-hee and Becca as the top two, while Ha Seung-woon, Lee Hee-gyun, Jung Ho-yeon, and Kim Han-gil lined up in the second line. The team pressured Ulsan with strong forward pressure from the start, forcing them into mistakes. They scored the first goal in the 17th minute. Ulsan made a mistake in the buildup at the back, and Gwangju’s second line quickly pressed. A scramble broke out in front of the penalty box, and Ha Seung-woon won the ball with great tenacity before passing it to Lee Kun-hee, who broke through on the left side. He beat the Ulsan defense and opened the scoring with a left-footed shot.
Gwangju continued to apply their promised pressure, with the front and second line of Beka, Lee Hee-gyun, and Jung Ho-yeon maintaining a consistent gap between them and the last line of defense. Ulsan tried to find a solution with their two foreign wingers, Bako and Rubikson, on the flanks, but were unable to make any headway. Lee Dong-kyung, who started as a third striker, moved up front, but it was not enough. 온라인바카라
Gwangju lost side defender Lee Min-ki to injury in the 35th minute, bringing on outside back Aaron. Still, they didn’t falter. In fact, they added another goal in the ninth minute of the second half. On a counterattack opportunity, Lee Hee-gyun’s shot bounced off the body of Ulsan center back Kim Young-kwon, and Becca struck an exquisite right-footed non-stop shot into the Ulsan goal.
Before the game, Lee said, “Our field players