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Preview: Ulsan Hyundai vs Sangju Sangmu

K League 1 Preview: Ulsan Hyundai vs Sangju Sangmu

Ulsan Hyundai will be looking to continue their fine run of form this Wednesday night when they host a Sangju Sangmu side without a win in August.  The Horangi have climbed to third in the table, and are now three points ahead of a stuttering Suwon, while Sangju have dropped to ninth after a run of just one win in ten since the World Cup. Can Sangju upset the odds and leave Munsu with all three points?  Ulsan columnist Dan Croydon doubts it.
(image via K League)

Game: Ulsan Hyundai vs. Sangju Sangmu
Kick-off: Wednesday 22nd August, 7.30pm KST
Venue: Munsu Football Stadium, Ulsan

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 0-2 Ulsan Hyundai
Video highlights here
This game was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests.  Daegu had much the better of the first half and should really have gone into the dressing room two goals to the good. And they would have, had it not been for some wasteful finishing, particularly from Brazilian striker Ze Roberto.  Ulsan were forced to bring on the cavalry for the second forty-five, with Junior replacing the ineffectual Kim Seung-jun upfront.  The ex-Daegu player was looking to score against his former employers for the third game in a row, and he got the perfect opportunity when Kim In-sung was bundled over in the box in the seventy-ninth minute.  However, Junior cracked the resulting penalty against the crossbar to the astonishment of the traveling Ulsan faithful. Two minutes later though Ulsan did take the lead through a Park Yong-joo header before Junior finally bagged his customary goal with a neat dribble and finish to seal the victory.  Daegu can count themselves unlucky, but Ulsan somehow managed to pick themselves up from that draw at Gyeongnam and now find themselves in third spot on the K League 1 ladder.

Sangju Sangmu 1-1 Jeju United
Video highlights here
Sangju's steady drop down the table continued after they registered their third draw of the month at home to fellow strugglers Jeju. In a game characterised by a choppy pitch and some very indecisive defending, neither team was able to take control of the game.  Magno put Jeju ahead in the first half when he was first to a rebound in the Sangju box.  Then on the hour, Yoon Bitgaram equalised for the military men after some truly comedic goalkeeping. Jeju's Kim Kyung-min gave away an indirect freekick in his penalty box when he caught his own throw-out. He had been attempting to bowl the ball out to his fullback but somehow managed to throw it straight up into the air instead. Yoon was at hand to hammer home his fourth fo the season from just 10 yards out.  From that point on, both teams canceled each other out and a point apiece seemed the fairest conclusion in the end.

Previous Meetings

Sangju and Ulsan have faced each other twice so far this season with the away team prevailing on both occasions. The first encounter was Ulsan's first home match of the campaign and will be best remembered for Kim Do-hoon's decision to field a severely weakened XI ahead of an ACL tie with Shanghai SIPG.  Of course, Ulsan lost both games, leaving Kim looking extremely silly.  The second meeting was back at the beginning of June and things turned out a lot better for Ulsan fans that time. Sangju managed to come back from two-nil down, only to throw it all away in injury time - Ulsan's winner coming from substitute Lee Young-jae with a rare headed goal.

Overall Ulsan have a very solid home record against the military side.  In the twenty-four games at Munsu, the Horangi have won sixteen, drawn five, and lost just three. However, two of those defeats have come during Kim Do-hoon's reign at Ulsan.

Team News

Ulsan Hyundai
Kim Do-hoon will most likely rotate his front line again for this match, with one eye on Saturday's visit from FC Seoul.  Kim Seung-jun was chosen to spearhead the attack at Daegu last weekend, but did not seem up to the task, meaning Junior could start, or Lee Keun-ho could move into a more central role.  Richard Windbichler is available again after serving a suspension for receiving three yellow cards.


Sangju Sangmu
Meanwhile, Sangju striker Joo Min-kyu made his first appearance since May when he came on as a second-half substitute against Jeju. Joo was K League 1's second top scoring Korean player last season with fifteen goals, but he has been blighted by injury for much of this campaign. Sangju will be hoping his return will help them get a few more points on the board before he and much of the squad return to their parent clubs in a few weeks time.

Prediction

These two sides have been in polar opposite runs of form since the World Cup, and I expect that will still be the case after tomorrow night.  Ulsan are liable to give away chances due to their tendency to defend deep, but the quality of their midfield, along with the pace of their wingers should see them run out comfortable if unspectacular winners.

Prediction: Ulsan Hyundai 2-0 Sangju Sangmu



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