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Preview: Ulsan Hyundai vs. FC Seoul

Ulsan Hyundai host FC Seoul on Saturday afternoon with both teams looking to climb up the table after disappointing starts the campaign. Seoul are yet to win away from home, while Ulsan have not beaten the side from the capital in eleven attempts. Will the Horangi heap further misery on Hwang Sun-hong's side? Or can Seoul continue their run of form in this fixture? Daniel Croydon previews this exciting matchup for us. 
(image via uhfc.tv)

Game: Ulsan Hyundai vs. FC Seoul
Kick Off: Saturday 14th April, 14.00 KST
Venue: Munsu Stadium, Ulsan

Last Time Out

Ulsan Hyundai
Ulsan climbed to 9th in the table after their midweek win away at Daegu. The game was a scrappy affair for long periods that did little to excite the less than 500 fans who showed up to watch. Ulsan manager Kim Do-hoon elected to rest some tired legs by rotating much of his midfield and attack and switching to an orthodox 4-4-2.  Yohei Toyoda returned upfront alongside Kim Seung-jun, Richard Windbicher reprised his midfield role in place of Park Joo-ho, and Han Seung-gyu was moved out to the left wing in place of Orsic.

Perhaps because of this new attacking formation, Ulsan failed to create much in the way of chances in the first 45, forcing their manager to make changes at the break. With the introduction of Park Joo-ho, Junior, and the ever-dangerous Orsic the Horangi started to move the ball much quicker, stretching Daegu's defense and causing errors to creep into the hosts' play.

Orsic was first to pounce on one such error, latching onto a scuffed clearance and slotting the ball past goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo.  The result was then put beyond doubt when Windbichler played in Junior and the Brazilian's neatly dinked finish made it two nil.  Junior has now scored in his last three K League 1 appearances and looks well on his way to beating his tally of twelve goals last season for Daegu.

Daegu vs. Ulsan Highlights here

FC Seoul

Hwang Sun-hong's men finally got their first victory of the season on Wednesday, coming back from a goal down to see off the challenge of Pohang Steelers in a 2-1 victory at home. One-club man Go Yohan bagged a brace with a goal either side of half-time after Kim Seung-dae had put the visitors in front early on.

(image via kleague.com)

Seoul had enough of the ball in the first period but Pohang were content to sit and let Seoul try to play around them. The likes of Kim Seong-jun and Jung Hyeon-cheol looked to get the ball into the feet of Anderson or Evandro centrally for the Brazilians to either play each other in or to turn and shoot. Anderson had a couple of opportunities from long range and looked much sharper than in his recent offerings in an FC Seoul shirt.

Anderson may not have got on the scoresheet but he was credited with the assist for Go Yo-han's first, putting pressure on Pohang left back Kang Sang-woo. The former Sanfrecce Hiroshima forward picked Kang's pocket before sending a left-footed ball into the box towards Go Yo-han who showed great determination to get Seoul back on level terms.

The eventual winner came midway through the second period when, after a tremendous save from Kang Hyun-moo in the Pohang goal, somewhat of a goalmouth scramble ensued before Seoul's vice-captain, unmarked, guided the ball home. The win will be a relief more than anything and ought to ensure that Hwang can take his team down to Ulsan with some of their confidence having been restored somewhat.
by Paul Neat

FC Seoul vs. Pohang Highlights here


Previous Meetings

Seoul have had much the better of this fixture in recent years. Indeed they are undefeated in their last ten league meetings with the Horangi, winning five and drawing the others.

Memories of Seoul's last game against Ulsan will be fresh in Hwang Sun-hong's mind as his team ran out convincing 3-0 winners at Sangam; a victory which took them within a point of the Horangi and kept their AFC Champions League dream's alive. It was a breathtaking performance from Seoul as they completely swept aside an out-of-form Ulsan team with three first-half goals. Unfortunately, a heavy 4-0 loss at Gangwon followed and ultimately Seoul did not qualify for continental competition.  But Hwang will be hoping for a repeat of that Ulsan game this weekend, as yet again he finds himself under the managerial spotlight.

Meanwhile, Ulsan will be desperate to finally beat the capital club as their last victory came all the way back on the opening day of the 2015 season. Goals from Yang Dong-hyun and debutant Server Djeparov were enough to seal the win in front of a crowd of over 12,000.

Team News

Ulsan Hyundai
Kim Do-hoon is likely to ring the changes again for Saturday's game.  Expect Junior and Orsic to start, along with a possible return for winger Hwang Il-soo.  Oh Seung-hoon looks set to return in goal too.  The only real question mark for Ulsan is the fitness of midfielder Park Joo-ho, who received treatment after a nasty kick to the shin in the Daegu game, although he was able to go on and finish the match.

FC Seoul
Seoul's only long-term absentees are midfielders Song Jin-hyeong and Ha Dae-sung. Still on his way back from injury, Park Chu-young made another cameo appearance in the win over Pohang but could be ready to be selected from the start should Hwang Sun-hong opt for experience down at Munsu. Left fullback Park Dong-jin, as well as midfielders Jung Hyeon-cheol and Shin Jin-ho, are all just one booking away from a one-match suspension.

Against Pohang Hwang Sun-hong made no changes to the starting eleven from that which drew against Suwon Bluewings in the Super Match and, given that his side recorded their first maximum of the season, barring unforeseen injuries in training, might result in an unchanged team for the third game in a row.
by Paul Neat

The Adversary

FC Seoul are still looking for their first away win of the season, although they were given a tough start on the road by the fixture compilers; after facing Ulsan this weekend they will have played all of last year's top four teams away from home.

Hwang Sun-hong's preference is to play a 4-2-1-3, even at home. The two defensive midfielders, Jung Hyeon-cheol and Kim Seong-jun allow Seoul to have plenty of possession in the middle of the pitch and will look to thread passes into the two forwards, Evandro and Anderson. Failing that, Shin Jin-ho has the range of passing to spread play should the midfield get too congested.

Who To Watch

(image via uhfc.tv)
Richard Windbichler 
The 27-year-old Austrian continues to be a talisman for this Ulsan team. Arriving in Korea in 2017, it did not take long for his determination and competitive mindset to win over the Ulsan fans.  Indeed 'Richard' was one of the main reasons Ulsan were able to win silverware last season - last-gasp blocks becoming something of a specialty for the bleach-blonde defender.

Recently though Windbichler has been able to show his more cultured side as he was moved into a holding midfield position for the games against Melbourne and Daegu. His role in Junior's goal midweek shows there is more to his game than shoulders and slide tackles.

Anderson Lopes
Brazilian forward Anderson Lopes is yet to get off the mark for FC Seoul thus far, but he looked much livelier against Pohang Steelers than in the previous rounds. Furthermore, it was as clear as day that his assist gave him a boost in confidence, which was evident in his second-half performance in midweek. Anderson seemed to have an extra spring in his step and a verve that had been somewhat missing in FC Seoul's performances as a whole, not just Anderson's. Having grown in confidence, the 24-year-old showed flashes of potential, cutting in and shooting with power and came close to breaking his duck with a rasping effort towards the end of the second half on Wednesday.

Image via K League
Hwang Sun-hong has stuck by his Anderson, even after a somewhat insipid second-half display in the Super Match, perhaps because of the understanding he has with compatriot Evandro. Wearing the number nine shirt for FC Seoul, especially given who wore it before him, may have been a weight on his shoulders, but an assist and an improved performance on Wednesday, along with the backing of his manager, will do Anderson the world of good.
by Paul Neat

Prediction

Given the recent history between these two K League giants, it would be hard to predict a win for Ulsan.  Seoul have certainly been struggling to put winning performances together though.  I'm going to go with my head on this one and say a draw.

Dan's prediction: Ulsan Hyundai 2-2 Seoul




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