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FA Cup Final 1st Leg Preview: Ulsan Hyundai vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors


After six rounds and fifty-two games, the Korean FA Cup reaches its climax this week with recently crowned K League 1 Champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors aiming to make it a double in 2020. Standing in their way are 2017 KFA Cup winners and this year's K League 1 runners-up Ulsan Hyundai. In a two-legged final, the teams will meet first at Ulsan's Munsu Stadium this Wednesday evening before the decisive second leg in Jeonju on Sunday afternoon. 

Venue: Munsu World Cup Stadium, Ulsan
Kick off: Wednesday, 4th November, 7.00pm KST

Road to the Final

Ulsan Hyundai
Round 4: Ulsan Hyundai 2-0 Gyeongju KHNP
Quarterfinals: Ulsan Hyundai 3-0 Gangwon
Semifinals: Ulsan Hyundai 1-1 Pohang Steelers (4-3 pens)

Ulsan reached their third FA Cup final in four years thanks to a nail-biting penalty shootout victory over fierce rivals Pohang Steelers. Progress had been relatively simple up to that point, with comfortable wins over local neighbours Gyeongju Hydro and Nuclear Power of the K3, and fellow K1 side Gangwon FC.  But it took some heroics from Korean international goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo and a rather dodgy penalty spot for them to get past four-time FA Cup winners Pohang.


Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Round 4: Jeonbuk 3-2 Jeonnam Dragons (aet)
Quarterfinals: Busan IPark 1-5 Jeonbuk
Semifinals: Jeonbuk 1-0 Seongnam FC

Jeonbuk made it to their first final since 2013 with a narrow one goal win against a well-drilled Seongnam FC side that had beaten them in the league just a few weeks earlier. But the Green Warriors' toughest test came two rounds earlier in the Honam Derby against K2 outfit Jeonnam Dragons. A late goal from Jeonnam striker Lee Jong-ho against his former team forced extra time, and although two early goals swang the pendulum back in favour of José Morais' men, the Dragons hassled and harried their more illustrious neighbours right to the final whistle.


Previous Meetings

Jeonbuk's 100% record versus Ulsan this season was a big reason why they were able to leapfrog their Hyundai rivals into first place in the final weeks of the K League season.  José Morais' side ran out winners in three tightly contested affairs, 2-0, 2-1 and 1-0.

Unfortunately for Ulsan fans, the results this year came as no great surprise. Despite the fact the title race between the clubs has gone down to the final day two years in a row now, Ulsan have only managed two wins in fifteen meetings with Kim Do-hoon at the helm.

This week's two-legged final may be Kim's last chance to get one over on his Portuguese counterpart as both managers are rumoured to be leaving their posts at the end of this season.
 
Somewhat surprisingly, the two sides have only met twice in the FA Cup before this year: in 2013 and 2014. On both occasions it was Ulsan who were knocked out after losing 0-1 and 1-2, both times at Munsu Stadium.


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Team News

Ulsan Hyundai
Central defender Dave Bulthuis and target man striker Bjorn Johnsen will make a welcome return to the Horangi squad after both missed out on the final fortnight of the league campaign through suspension. No doubt both players will be itching to put their stamp on this final having been forced to watch from the sidelines as Jeonbuk pipped Ulsan to another league title.

Both players look set to start -- Bulthuis replacing Kim Ki-hee in the heart of defence, and Johnsen taking the place of Golden Boot winner Junior Negrao, who has been playing despite an injury whilst Johnsen served his suspension.

Bjorn Johnsen will be hoping to add to the six goals he's bagged in an up and down debut season in Korea

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Veteran striker and Korean football legend Lee Dong-gook bid farewell to Jeonbuk fans last weekend when he lifted his eighth and final K League title with the club. Lee has never won the FA Cup, but the 41-year-old is unlikely to feature on Wednesday night with Brazilian forward Gustavo slated to take his place in the starting line up.
K League's record goal scorer Lee Dong-gook brought his 23-year playing career to an end last weekend

Elsewhere, Kim Bo-kyung could be recalled to the midfield, while U-22 starlet Cho Gyu-seong looks set to keep his place on the wing after his brace in the final day win over Daegu FC.





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