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Preview: Daegu FC vs Ulsan Hyundai

K League 1 Preview: Daegu FC vs Ulsan Hyundai

In-form Daegu FC face their toughest test in weeks as Ulsan Hyundai make the short trip to Daegu Stadium tomorrow night.  Victory for the Sky Blues would give them four top-flight wins in a row for the first time since 2009. But it certainly won't be easy as ACL chasing Ulsan are unbeaten in ten away from home.  Dan Croydon and Jung Muyeol preview what promises to be an exciting encounter.   
(image via K League)

Game: Daegu FC vs. Ulsan Hyundai
Kick-off: August 18th, 19.00 KST
Venue: Daegu Stadium

Last Time Out

Jeju United 2-3 Daegu FC

This surprise win was Daegu's third on the trot, and more importantly, it moved them six points ahead of Incheon United and further away from the threat of relegation. In a topsy-turvy tie, the two teams took it in turns to hold the lead before defender Kang Yun-ku won it with his first goal for Daegu - a memorable 30-yard screamer a minute into injury time. The win moved the Sky Blues within six points of Jeju in eighth; a clear indication of the swing in form the two clubs have experienced since the World Cup break.

Video highlights here

Gyeongnam FC 3-3 Ulsan Hyundai

For 80 minutes this was the complete performance Ulsan have been threatening of late.  Upfront, Junior ran the show, scoring a brace and laying another on a plate for strike-partner Kim Seung-jun, to give the Horangi a commanding 0-3 lead.  In defense, Ulsan players were first to every ball while Richard Windbichler kept Marcao virtually silent.  But then, with ten minutes left, the madness began. First, the Ulsan centrebacks were caught napping, allowing Choi Young-jun to wander into the six-yard box unopposed before prodding home.  Then a poor defensive header from a corner fell kindly to Marcao and he instinctively struck it beyond the helpless keeper. Finally, as the clock ticked off the last few seconds of injury time, there was a mixture of disbelief and inevitability as Marcao rose highest to head home a last-ditch lofted cross. 3-3 it ended as a shellshocked Ulsan dropped to the floor.

So not for the first time this year, Ulsan snatched a draw from the jaws of victory.  Kim Do-hoon will have to pick his players up quickly and focus them on the fact they are level on points with Suwon and they have now lost just once in nineteen league outings.

Video highlights here

Previous Meetings

Recent meetings between these two clubs have been overwhelmingly one-sided, as Ulsan have notched up five wins in a row against their Gyeongsang neighbors.  The two encounters so far this campaign have finished 2-0 to Ulsan, with Junior Negrao netting the decisive second goal for the Horangi both home and away.  However, while the Skyblues have never won at Ulsan, the record is much more even at Daegu Stadium, with the home side winning six, drawing four and losing seven.

Team News

Ulsan Hyundai
As always with the busy K League schedule and summer humidity, Kim Do-hoon is expected to rotate his lineup.  There seems to be no discernable pattern to whose names are on the team sheet for any given game, as Kim has the luxury of an almost fully fit squad. Striker Kim Seung-jun has started the last two matches and therefore looks most likely to drop to the bench for this match, perhaps making way for Hwang Ilsoo to face his former employers.  Mix started on the bench last Wednesday so he could come back into the team to replace Lee Youngjae. One guaranteed absence is Richard Windbichler, who is suspended after receiving his third yellow card at Gyeongnam. This means captain Kang Minsu will return to partner Lim Jongeun in central defense.

The Adversary

Daegu FC
A dramatic 3-2 win over Jeju marked the first time Daegu have registered three wins in a row in this season and the record is extended to four games if the FA cup win over Yangpyeong is included. Besides, the bottom two teams Incheon and Jeonnam either earned a point or failed to win. So, at the moment, the atmosphere around Daegu could not be better.

Despite the intense run of fixtures, once again, Andre’s selection for the Ulsan game will be pretty similar to the previous game judging by the selections he has made recently. I assume that the manager is unwilling to rotate the team in the situation where the team are smoothly cruising. While Daegu have no players suspended, a couple of key players remain doubtful. Edgar is still sidelined, while Cho Suk-jae is likely to miss out again. Also, Cesinha remains doubtful as he didn’t make the squad last game. I hope that this was merely to conserve his energy for the Ulsan game, but this might be related to a suspected injury.

As usual, Zé Roberto, Kim Daewon and Jung Seungwon will likely start. The Brazilian failed to increase his goal-scoring record in the win over Jeju but showed good link-up play with his teammates. Kim and Jung occasionally made clumsy mistakes in that match, but contributed with a goal and assist. Behind them, Kang Yun-ku, Hwang Soon-min, Ryu Jae-moon, and Jung Woo-jae will move back and forth. In defense, captain Han Hee-hoon, Hong Jung-woon, and Park Byung-hyun will protect the goal with Choi Young-eun between the sticks while Jo Hyun-woo is representing Korea in the Asian Games 2018.

by Jung Muyeol


Ulsan may be on an excellent run of form, but their inability to hold onto a lead away from home is keeping them from challenging at the very top of the table.  The Horangi have drawn seven of their last ten away games in the league, giving up leads in four of them. Meanwhile, Daegu are playing with the confidence and assurance bred by an impressive run of victories.

But Ulsan's excellent 80-minutes against Gyeongnam, coupled with their win over Suwon a few days before, should not be overlooked. On recent performances, Kim Do-hoon's team look one of the strongest outfits in the K League.  The disastrous end to Wednesday night will have knocked Ulsan's confidence, but I think they simply have too much quality for Daegu.  I predict a late-drama-free away win.

Prediction: Daegu FC 0-2 Ulsan Hyundai

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