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scouting

FA Cup Final 2nd Leg Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Vs. Ulsan Hyundai


Sunday afternoon sees recently crowned K League 1 Champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors host the division's runners-up Ulsan Hyundai in the second leg of the FA Cup Final. The Green Warriors are on the verge of claiming the first 'double' in the club's history but standing in their way are a Horangi side looking to prove a point.

First Leg

Ulsan Hyundai 1-1 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

After a closely fought campaign, the pair met once again last Wednesday in Ulsan for the first leg where they played out a 1-1 draw, handing Jeonbuk an away goal advantage going into this weekend's clash. The visitors started strongly, finding the woodwork on three occasions in the opening 45 minutes yet both sides went into the interval goalless.

Jeonbuk did eventually take the lead shortly into the second half through Murilo. The Brazilian had struggled for minutes this season due to the form of Modou Barrow and Han Kyo-won, in addition to the K League's U22 quota favouring the selection of Cho Gue-sung, but the winger seized his opportunity when presented it, darting into the box to convert a pull-back pass from the byline from Modou Barrow.

The goal seemed to fire the home side into life, finding an equaliser within ten minutes of going behind. K League's golden boot winner Junior Negrão timed his run to perfection, beating the Jeonbuk offside trap to latch onto a through ball from Yoon Bit-garam and convert past goalkeeper Song Beom-keun. The goal surprisingly marks Ulsan's first in open play against Jeonbuk in four meetings this season and perhaps finely underlines the difference between these two sides despite the Horangi's dominance over the rest of the division. 

Things turned sour for the visitors when right-back Lee Yong collided with Ulsan centre-back Dave Bulthuis, which saw Lee land awkwardly and require medical assistance. It was reported post-match that the defender had broken his collarbone, ruling him out for this weekend's second leg in addition to the upcoming AFC Champions League competition. Lee was replaced by Choi Chul-soon and likely will be for the rest of the year.

Shortly after, Junior had looked to have given the hosts the lead when he converted in a crowded penalty box on the 70th-minute mark but it was rightly adjudged to be offside. Ulsan continued to press Jeonbuk in search of a winner but were unable to find one, pausing things at one apiece ahead of Sunday.

[LISTEN: FA Cup final preview on the latest KLU Podcast]



Team News

As mentioned, Jeonbuk's biggest injury concern is regarding Lee Yong after the right-back broke his collarbone in the first leg clash. Lee is likely to be replaced by Choi Chul-soon with Lee Ju-young keeping his position at left-back. Lee's absence would not only make both full-back positions targets for Ulsan's wingers this Sunday but also could greatly reduce the chances created for the home side.

There are also doubts surrounding winger Han Kyo-won who, after returning from injury to face Ulsan in their last league meeting, has been out of Jeonbuk's squad for the last two matches. Given Murilo's performance in the first leg though, the Brazilian winger may well hold onto his place on the right-wing regardless.

There is also some speculation as to whether or not Lee Dong-gook could make an appearance during this match despite his retirement ceremony last weekend, something acknowledged in the club's media statement released ahead of the game. In his 23-year playing career, the 'Lion King' has never picked up an FA Cup medal and has not made an appearance in this year's competition. It would be likely that any appearance would be from the bench with Gustavo expected to start in attack.

As for Ulsan, not many changes are expected from midweek either, although right-back Kim Tae-hwan and attacker Bjørn Johnsen could be rotated out but would they would be expected to make appearances from the bench later on if so. Junior Negrão is expected to keep his position upfront and remains Ulsan's biggest goal threat.


FNR

Prediction

With the game balanced on a knife-edge, anticipating the outcome of this second-leg proves rather difficult. Ulsan had looked to have found the right gear in the second half of Wednesday's encounter and with Jeonbuk's defensive injuries, could look to capitalise coming into this game, particularly if they channel their efforts down the wings. Jeonbuk have had the upper hand over Ulsan in their meetings this season though and will feel confident in delivering the result required once more, especially in front of a home crowd. Either way, expect yet another closely fought affair between these two sides.

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