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Recap: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4-0 Ulsan Hyundai

Kim Shin-wook rounds off the evening in style for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors as they beat Ulsan Hyundai 4-0

After suffering a setback in Seoul last Sunday, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors sent themselves six points clear at the summit as they dismantled second place Ulsan Hyundai on Saturday evening in Jeonju.
(Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)

What many had predicted a close game coming into this match, soon turned into quite the one sided affair as a clearly driven Jeonbuk wasted no chances in putting their opponents to the sword, racking up four goals without reply against a team who had threatened to disrupt the title chase in recent weeks.

Despite losing to FC Seoul almost a week prior, Jeonbuk manager Choi Kang-hee saw no reason to change a starting eleven that had played with enough spirit at Sangam to lessen the level of criticism aimed at them. The only alteration was the removal of Shin Hyung-min who had collected two bookings against Seoul and was therefore suspended for this match. Jeong Hyuk started in defensive midfield in Shin's absence.

With newly appointed Republic of Korea manager Shin Tae-yong in the stands keeping tabs on current and potential internationals, both sides got off to a bright start, yet both were seemingly unable to carve out a clear cut opportunity for the first quarter of an hour.

Yet, as time went on, both teams engaged in an end to end affair, countering one another quickly much to the neutral's delight. Shortly before the home side would take the lead, Ulsan notably missed an opportunity to open proceedings when a quick break away from Oršić and Han Seung-gyu saw the Jeonbuk defence scrambling into position. Han would proceed to shoot into the side netting though.

In the twentieth minute however, some incisive passing play on the left wing between Lopes, midfielder Lee Jae-sung and Jang Yun-ho saw Lopes with time and space to send in a cross perfectly weighted for Lee Seung-gi to charge in and stab home from six yards. It was the right winger's first goal for the club since returning from military duty last August.
With the opener claimed, Jeonbuk began to increase the pressure on the away side, yet were unable to find a way through as Ulsan looked to see out the scoreline until half-time. They nearly equalised in final minute prior to the interval however after an unfortuante defensive error played in Oršić who took two shots from a narrow angle with Jeonbuk keeper Hong Jeong-nam rushing it out and saving both.

Any hopes of Ulsan using the break to regroup were soon dashed after some nice passing play on the edge of the box set up Kim Shin-wook to strike. Ulsan keeper Kim Yong-dae met the shot but was only able to spill it into the path of Lopes who made no mistake to double the host's lead. It was Lopes' first goal since returning from a seven-month injury and the relief in his face was there for all to see.

With Ulsan in disarray, Jeonbuk continued to press and scored a third shortly after. A cross in from right back Choi Chul-soon was met by the head of an unmarked Lee Jae-sung to ensure he had a goal to mark his 100th league appearance for Jeonbuk.

With thirty minutes left on the clock, rather than seeing out the match, Jeonbuk continued to look for more. Ten minutes later and they would find their fourth from an unlikely source.

Ulsan centre-back Richard Windbichler, who must be commended on a decent performance despite the one-sided scoreline, fouled an onrushing Kim Jin-su. Four Jeonbuk players initially lined up to take the free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Despite Kim jin-su, Lopes and Lee Seung-gi all in with a good shout of converting, it was surprisingly former Ulsan hero Kim Shin-wook who stepped up, catching the keeper off guard by curling it low and into the bottom corner. He then proceeded to celebrate in the style of his former teammate and set piece specialist Leonardo, much to the annoyance of the away support.

Despite their still being twenty minutes to play, the home side were unable to add to their scoreline despite their continued motivation to press. Ulsan also sought out a consolation but to no avail. In the end, it was a just result for a commanding performance from Jeonbuk, highlighting how big of gap there is between these two sides despite their lofty league positions and hopefully eradicating any doubt that may have formed after last week's defeat. There is still a long way to go until the season's end, but it is increasingly looking like Jeonbuk's title to lose once more.

Lee Jae-sung at 100

Lee Jae-sung celebrates his 100th K League game for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com

As touched upon, Saturday evening also marked the 100th league game for attacking midfielder Lee Jae-sung. For a 24 year-old in a country where youth development can sometimes be laid at the door of the university league to have claimed so many starts is one thing, but to have done it in just over three seasons by becoming a regular at a club that has dominated the league and continent during that period is remarkable.

In his relatively short career, the player has picked up two K League winners medals, a Champions League medal in addition to featuring in the last two teams of the year and picking up the 2015 Young Player of the Year award.

The player is a genuine joy to watch. His technique and close control are that to match any of the league's highest earners (something that he is still somehow far from being), with also a decent assist and goal-scoring record to match and surpass many who also play in a similar position.

With 21 senior international caps to his name also, it is a wonder how he has made it to a century of matches without being picked up by a club from foreign shores. Every transfer window sees rumours of him finally making his move away from Korea, yet he continues on at Jeonbuk, a team whose supporters rightly adore him, yet are all aware that he should be destined for greater things and newer challenges.

The passing of time means his opportunities to move overseas are decreasing, but it should still be considered likely that he will end up plying his trade elsewhere. For now though, Jeonbuk supporters should continue to enjoy him while he is there. He really is a talent to behold.

Highlights from this match can be viewed on YouTube via SPOTV by clicking here.

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