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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Ulsan Hyundai

K League 1 Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Ulsan Hyundai

The two in-form sides in the league lock horns this Wednesday evening at the Changwon Football Center. This Gyeongnam FC and Ulsan Hyundai clash has all the ingredients to be an intriguing encounter with both sides almost unbeaten since the World Cup break. With confidence riding high in both camps, which team will come away midweek with their winning streak still intact?

Match: Gyeongnam FC v Ulsan Hyundai.
Venue:  Changwon Football Center, Changwon.
Kick off: Wednesday, August 15th.  19:30 (KST)

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam 3-0 Jeonnam Dragons

The score line did flatter the home side somewhat. The Dragons enjoyed a lot of possession throughout the game but just lacked that final ball in and around the Gyeongnam penalty area. The Reds' quality shone through in the end with Brazilian attacking midfielder Paulinho opening his account for his new club right on the stroke of half time. The ball rebounded perfectly into his path inside the box and he wasted no time by firing the ball low past the away side's goalkeeper Park Dae-han. The Reds brought on the big guns at half time in Marcão and Kunimoto and within minutes the inter-changing passing and movements between the duo was proving a pleasure to watch. Jeonnam simply couldn't handle them and Marcão doubled the lead with a trademark header to bag his 16th goal of the campaign just past the hour mark. Late substitute Jo Jae-cheol ran through an exhausted Jeonnam defence and blasted in a third on 81 minutes to make the three points safe for the home side.

Ulsan Hyundai 1-0 Suwon Bluewings

Ulsan took home the spoils here with a winner from pacey winger Hwang Il-soo with just nine minutes remaining on the clock. Hwang is in fine scoring form, winning the last two games for Ulsan with two goals in as many matches. He scored a late winner last week against Jeonnam with the second in a 2-1 victory, before then going on and wining the game last Sunday against a high flying Bluewings outfit. The Horangi outfit have really turned the corner in recent months and have been unbeaten since league leaders Jeonbuk defeated them at home 2-0 back on the 11th July; a run of eight games.

Previous Meetings

Ulsan Hyundai have the upper hand when it comes to previous meetings between the two sides, with 17 wins from 27 games played whereas Gyeongnam have only won five times over their neighbours. Five games have also ended in a draw. Two of these five draws have actually happened in this current 2018 K League 1 season; a goalless draw back in April and a 1-1 draw at the Munsu in the middle of May.

Team News

Striker Kim Hyo-gi will sit this one out after picking up his third booking against Jeonnam last Sunday. The squad has been rotated a lot during these balmy sticky conditions over the past month or so.  Marcão and Kunimoto will be pushing for a start after only playing 45 minutes on Sunday. They are two of Gyeongnam's best players and, in a game of this magnitude, will be vital to the team if they are to get anything from the clash.

As for Ulsan, our columnist Dan Croydon had this to say about their team news:

"There are no new injury worries for Kim Do-hoon heading into Wednesday night.  Starmen Lee Jong-ho and Park Joo-ho are still sidelined, but Ulsan seem to have the strength in depth to cope.  Kim will almost certainly shuffle the attacking trio behind Junior, but with another hot and humid evening predicted, we could see all of Escudero, Han Seung-kyu, Kim In-sung, Hwang Il-soo, Lee Keun-ho and Kim Seung-jun feature at some point."


Ulsan are finally hitting their stride as the summer night sweatfests give way to the vital autumn period. They have now won five of their last six games in all competitions. Sunday night's victory over Suwon Bluewings, their first against an ACL chasing rival since August last year, has moved them within a point of third place. Things are looking up for Tigers fans as they make the short trip to Changwon on Wednesday.

Thanks to some shrewd signings, Kim Do-hoon has managed to put together a more balanced team since the World Cup break that marries possession-based tactics with some quick-fire counterattacks.  The returning Lee Keun-ho and a rejuvenated Hwang Il-soo have taken their share of the attacking burden, allowing Brazilian striker Junior more freedom to get involved in build-up play, while Mix Diskerud has provided some real quality to the central midfield. The team is still occasionally shaky in defense and could definitely be more ruthless in front of goal, but in terms of organization, strategy, and sheer effort, this is a much better Ulsan side than the one that relied so heavily on individual pieces of magic at the start of the season.
- Dan Croydon

One To Watch 


The Brazilian winger was a bit hit-or-miss during his first few months at the club. He is now showing the Gyeongnam faithful what he is all about. After the World Cup break he has simply been in breathtaking form, terrorizing defences that come up against him. He is a confidence player and, with him playing his best football of his career to date, he is showing his true credentials now.  Negueba never gives the opposition's back line a moments rest and he chases down everything. The player gave his all on Sunday against Jeonnam and was replaced before the end to rest him with this game in mind. He has become a real fan favourite and is adored by the Gyeongnam fans. The link up play and chemistry he has with Marcão and Kunimoto has been a pleasure to watch, with the way they interchange with each other proving, at times, to be a nightmare for opposing defenders.


These are two sides in great form. I expect this to be quite a fiesty affair between two evenly matched teams.  It's also a derby (in a way) with it being only an hour away from each other. The heat might play a factor here with both teams playing last Sunday as well so it is difficult to determine who will come out on top.

Prediction: Gyeongnam FC 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai

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