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Brazilian Talisman Breaks 20-Goal Mark

How good has Júnior Negrão been in K League 1 this season? The Brazilian has single-handedly scored more goals than Busan IPark, FC Seoul, Gwangju FC, Seongnam FC, Suwon Bluewings, and Incheon United. Júnior is having yet another stellar season in Ulsan colours as he reached 20 goals (on his 100th K League 1 appearance) for the second time in three seasons. Guest contributor Parameswaran P Sankaranarayanan details the journey thus far. 

With the exception of Gwangju FC and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, every K League 1 team has failed to keep Júnior at bay in the 2020 season. The forward kicked off his campaign with a brace against military outfit Sangju Sangmu at home and scored twice again in the reverse fixture in Round 13. Júnior scored his first hat-trick on Korean shores against a lackluster Incheon United and has also struck a brace against defending FA Cup winners Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Seongnam FC, and his former employers Daegu FC.



Goals Worth Points

Ulsan Hyundai was in all sorts of trouble against Suwon Bluewings in their first away match of the season. They trailed by a goal in the first half and conceded another immediately after the restart. But cometh the hour, cometh the champion. Júnior, pulled a goal back before the hour mark and converted a free-kick in the 90th minute to help the visitors complete their comeback. Later in the season, he scored a late winner against Seongnam FC and Busan IPark, while his first-half penalty helped pip Gangwon FC in Round 15.

Prolific partnership with Kim In-sung

Júnior and Kim In-sung are arguably the best attacking pair in the K League 1 this season. They have been a nightmare for defenders, especially Incheon United who Júnior scored a hat-trick against while Kim grabbed three assists against the bottom side. The duo has combined to score 63% of Ulsan’s goals in K League 1 this season, placing Júnior top of the Golden Boot race and Kim top of the assists chart with six.

Like a fine wine

The Brazilian is getting better with age as he has become more ruthless in front of goal than ever. He reached 20 goals in just 17 matches, having scored in 13 of them. Though Júnior had hit 22 goals in his first season at Ulsan, he reached the 20-goal mark in the final stage of the season. With ten matches left in the campaign, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the former Daegu FC striker breaks Dejan Damjanović’s K League 1 record of 31 goals.


Júnior Negrão K-League 1 Goals (season-by-season)


Can Júnior buck the trend? 

The Ulsan Hyundai forward, who has a ten-goal lead over second-placed Stanislav Iljutcenko, is likely to finish as the top scorer in the 2020 season. But since 2013, the K League 1 top scorer’s goals haven’t been enough to win the title for their respective team. The Horangi narrowly lost the championship last season, but their fans will be hoping Júnior can fire them to their third league title.

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