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ACL Preview: Ulsan Hyundai vs. Perth Glory


Friday evening sees Ulsan Hyundai take on Perth Glory in the AFC Champions League Group F for the second time this week. Victory for the Korean side would take them within touching distance of the knockout rounds, while anything less than three points for Perth would likely see them bow out of their competition debut. Ulsan columnist Daniel Croydon previews this one for us.

Match: Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) vs. Perth Glory (AUS)
Venue: Education City Stadium, Qatar
Kickoff: Friday November 27th, 2020; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Perth Glory 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai
It took some late heroics from Ulsan substitutes Kim In-sung and Junior Negrao to snatch all three points for the Group F leaders last Tuesday. 

Despite their depleted squad and youthful line-up, Richard Garcia's Perth Glory were able to match Ulsan for the majority of the 90 minutes.

Glory's organisation and hard work restricted the Horangi to a handful of half chances in the first 45, and the A-League looked to be on course for their first ever ACL points when 22-year-old Daniel Stynes tucked his shot inside the upright on 71 minutes.

But Kim Do-hoon's men managed to find another gear, and eventually equalised through Man of the Match Kim In-sung with just seconds of regular time remaining.

Kim In-sung was involved in Ulsan's stoppage time winner too, latching on the Bjorn Johnsen's flick on before providing a pinpoint cross for Junior to volley home for his first ACL goal of the campaign.

The result was tough on Perth, who showed impressive stamina despite effectively being in preseason training.

Highlights:


Ulsan manager Kim Do-hoon on Tuesday's dramatic win: “The good thing is that we got the result that we wanted, and the players showed their desire to win the game today, which was a great positive for our team.”

“I’d like to thank my players. They played until the end and left everything on the pitch, and they must be applauded. The same goes for Perth Glory, who also gave everything."


Perth Glory coach Cristian Ola on a heartbreaking defeat: 
“I think we played a very good game. We stepped up in a number of areas from the first game, and the result is a bit cruel and sad by the end of it.”

“In principle, I think the discipline and structure that we maintained will build up the force and power of our team, regardless of the age of our players who showed that we can stand together and stand tall.”

Team News

Ulsan Hyundai
With such a condensed schedule, Kim Do-hoon has been upfront about the need to rotate his team to keep them fit and fresh. Fortunately for him, Ulsan have been able to take a comparatively strong squad to Qatar, with several strong options, especially in attack.  

However, the alternative forward line of Bjorn Johnsen and Lee Keun-ho were unable to create much in the last game, and it was only when Junior and Kim In-sung were introduced off the bench that the Horangi found a way to hurt Perth.

So, with three points almost guaranteeing Ulsan a spot in the final sixteen, Junior is likely to retake his place upfront as the Horangi chase the win. Likewise, Kim In-sung will probably get the nod out wide. 

Elsewhere, midfield dynamo Lee Dong-gyeong has been pictured back in training; the Korean Olympic team star has been allowed to rest since the U-23 friendlies a fortnight ago, but he looks close to rejoining the matchday squad.

However, Lee's international teammates Won Du-jae, Kim Tae-hwan and Jung Seung-hyun continue to train separately from the main squad due to COVID-19 protocols.



Perth Glory
The Western Australian's will be looking on enviously at the depth of Ulsan's squad when the two teams meet for the second time in four days this Friday. 

Manager Richard Garcia was forced to bring a swathe of youth prospects into the squad that travelled to Qatar, and indeed the likes of 20-year-old defender Luke Bodnar, 16-year-old fullback Joshua Rawlins, and 19-year-old attacker Bryce Bafford have started both of Glory's games so far.


The experienced duo of Bruno Fornaroli and Diego Castro will be integral to Perth's chances of winning their first ACL points this Friday, but they could also be helped by the return of ex-Preston North End and Leeds United midfielder Neil Kilkenney. The Socceroo made his first appearance since August as a 79th minute sub on Tuesday night.   

FNR

Prediction

Most predicted an relatively simple win for Ulsan last Tuesday, but Perth's combination of discipline and youthful temerity brought them very close to upsetting the K League giants.

So it would be silly to predict a big Ulsan win again, knowing now what Glory are capable of.  That being said, the brief turnaround between games is bound to have more of an effect on Glory's squad than Ulsan's, especially as the A-League is still in preseason mode.

If Ulsan open the scoring, they should have the legs and the personnel to see out the game. But if Perth manage to take the lead as they did earlier this week, they could very well hang on for at least a point this time.  


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