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Korean Football Round-up 16th Dec.

Ulsan Hyundai reach the AFC Champions League final, there are new rules in K League and UK-based Korean stars are nominated for some prestigious awards. The latest Korean football news from Paul Neat.

Horangi claw their way to ACL final

Ulsan Hyundai have reached the 2020 AFC Champions League Final thanks to a Junior Negrao penalty in the last minute of extra time. The Horangi needed an extra 30 minutes to overcome a stubborn Vissel Kobe side but sealed a first final appearance in eight years thanks to a 119th minute Júnior Negrão penalty. 

Ulsan went a goal behind early into the second half with Yamaguchi Horatru converting for the J.League side. On came Bjørn Johnsen from the bench, though, and levelled for the Horangi on 81 minutes to force extra time. Then, with an opportunity to avoid going to penalties, Ulsan were awarded a penalty in the last minute of extra time. Icy cool, Júnior stepped up to convert to send Ulsan through. Kim Do-hoon's men take on Persepolis this Saturday night at 9PM Korea time.

Kim go soon?

Ulsan Hyundai boss Kim Do-hoon has admitted that Saturday's final could be his last in charge of the Horangi. Speaking to the press after the semi-final win over Vissel Kobe, Kim said that because this could be his last match with this group of players, they simply must return to Korea with the ACL trophy. More here

#KLUPod: The Weekend Preview w/ Júnior Negrão

K League rules

The K League on Tuesday announced some new rules and regulation. From the year 2023 K League will introduce salary caps and has put a limit on win bonuses: 1,000,000 Korean Won for K League 1 teams and 500,000 for K League 2. Other changes also include the introduction of K League B teams to K4 and loan players will not be able to play against their parent clubs. More here (in Korean)


Former Daejeon Citizen manager Ko Jong-soo has been handed a six-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ko was found guilty of obstruction of business after falsifying assessments for trial players during his time at Purple Arena. The 40-year-old was first arrested in December 2018 and was found to have added the son of an acquaintance, the former chairman of Daejeon City Council Kim Jong-cheon, to the list of successful candidates. More here (in Korean).

Ki Yeong-ok resigns

Facing a police investigation on embezzlement charges, Ki Yeong-ok has resigned as CEO of Busan IPark. It was reported last week that Ki, father of FC Seoul's Ki Sung-yueng, was facing a police investigation on charges of allegedly embezzling around $270,000 of Gwangju FC club funds when he acted as the club's general manager. Ki has now stepped down from his role despite only been appointed in November. More here (in Korean).

Queen of the King's Road

Chelsea Women forward Ji So-yun has become the first female South Korean footballer to be nominated for the FIFA Best XI. Ji was named among the 55 best female players in the world for 2020 announced by FIFA and FIFPro on 11th December. The winners will be announced on Thursday 17th December. More here (in Korean).

"I was almost dead": Hwang Hee-chan 

Leading German football magazine, Kicker, recently reported the severity of Hwang Hee-chan's condition after the RB Leipzig forward contracted COVID-19. The 24-year-old revealed that he was "almost dead". Hwang returned to Germany three weeks ago after testing positive while on international duty with the Taeguk Warriors and is unlikely to play again in 2020. RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann last Friday said that Hwang had "strong symptoms" and "wasn't doing well". More here (in German)

Tor-tal Football

SC Freiburg forward Jeong Woo-young scored his first goal of the season on Saturday. Jeong added the second in a 2-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld in time added on. It was Jeong's first goal in the German top flight having previously scored for Bayern Munich II in 3. Liga, and Freiburg's second string in Regionalliga. The 21-year-old has featured nine times so far this season, starting once.

2 Jae-sung 

Two goals and an assist in a 3-2 Holstein Kiel win has earned Lee Jae-sung a place in Kicker's 2.Bundesliga team of the week. A quickfire double from the former Jeonbuk attacking midfielder with goals on 32 and 37 minutes preceded an assist for Fin Bartels in the second half. Holstein Kiel sit top of the league with Lee having scored three goals in 11 appearances so far this term. 

Picked for Puskas 

Son Heung-min has been nominated for FIFA goal of the year, known as the Puskas Award. Son’s incredible solo strike against Burnley last December is one of three candidates for the annual Award. Established in 2009, the FIFA Puskas Award is presented to the player, male or female, who is judged to have scored the best goal in that given year. 

Eulji Lewis

KFA Awards

Son Heung-min has been named as KFA Player of the Year, Won Du-jae KFA Young Player of the Year while Jang Sel-gi Women's Player of the Year and Choo Hyo-joo Young Women's Player of the Year and Cho Gue-seong wins goal of the year.

New K4 team

There will be a new team in K4 next year with Pyeongchang United set to join the league in 2021. The team will play their home matches at Jinbu Sports Park Football Stadium. More here (in Korean).

Seo's Time

Suwon Bluewings legend, Seo Jung-won, is back in management having taken up a role with Chinese side Chengdu Better City. Seo had been out of work since departing Big Bird in 2018 but will now lead the Chinese League One side. More here (in Korean).

Evergrande exit

Departing China, however, is Park Ji-soo. The Guangzhou Evergrande defender is due to return to Korea to embark on military service after a two-year spell in the Chinese Super League. Under legendary centre back Fabio Cannavaro, Park and Guangzhou won the CSL title in 2019 and finished runners up in 2020.

Gue-sung to Gimcheon

Joining Park Ji-soo at Gimcheon Sangju next season will be Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors forward Cho Gue-sung. At the age of 22, Cho has decided to start his military service early and will turn out for a third club in as many years. More here

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