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At the International Break: Three Takeaways

The international break has arrived and there has been movement in the table again, as Jeju United scored a major away victory against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors thanks to a brace from Joo Min-kyu, while Ulsan Hyundai now have a ten point cushion at the top.  In the second division, meanwhile, Gwangju FC have a six point lead, but the playoff race is heating up.  KLU's Branko Belan looks at the talking points from the last round of matches.


Joo Min-kyu in Fine Form

Joo Min-kyu scored a pair of goals in Jeju United's win over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors as the first division now goes on pause for three weeks for the international break and the beginning of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.  It was a welcome return to the scoring chart for the islanders' forward after being kept goalless in his previous two matches.  His new tallies bring his season totals to nine goals and three assists, with six of those goals coming in the last five matches.  Those totals also make him the sole leader in the division in terms of attack points, one ahead of Incheon United's Stefan Mugoša, who leads all scorers with eleven goals.

Jeju's win moves them back into second place, but with quite a bit of work to do to catch Ulsan Hyundai, who have built a ten point lead on the rest of the pack.  The international break comes at a good time for Nam Ki-il's men, who have been riddled by injuries of late, so once the league returns to action, the likes of Lee Chang-min, Koo Ja-cheol, and the rest of the group should be ready to go.  Jung Woon will also return from suspension, meaning that they should be back to full strength when they host Incheon United on June 18th.

Ulsan Prevail Over Suwon FC

Ulsan have a healthy lead atop K League 1 following the weekend's action.
Ulsan Hyundai continued their successful string of results with a 2-1 victory over Suwon FC over the weekend.  They went a goal down just before halftime when Lee Seung-woo found the back of the net but were quick to respond after the restart, as Valeri Qazaishvili and Jun Amano struck within five minutes of one another to turn the result in the league leaders' favor.

It will be back to the business end of things for Hong Myung-bo's men when they take on Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors after returning from the international break.  Jo Hyeon-woo, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Tae-hwan, and Eom Won-sang earned call-ups to Paulo Bento's senior team for friendlies in June, with all expected to get an opportunity to play in matches against Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Egypt. 

Second Division Taking Shape

Gwangju recorded a convincing victory to keep their lead in K League 2.
In K League 2, things are starting to look a bit more defined, with the top five finally starting to look clearer.  Gwangju FC now lead by six points over Daejeon Hana Citizen, who nipped into second spot following their 1-0 win over Seoul E-Land on Saturday afternoon.  Idle Bucheon FC 1995 slipped to third, while FC Anyang are still fourth having played one match more than the rest of the clubs in the division, excluding Jeonnam Dragons, who played in the group stage of the Asian Champions League, and Seoul E-Land, who will play one of their re-scheduled matches in June.

Perhaps the surprise of the season thus far is Chungnam Asan, who are fifth following the latest round of matches, fresh off a 1-0 win over Jeonnam Dragons on Sunday evening.  Park Dong-hyuk has surpassed expectations to this point of the campaign given the limited resources at his disposal.  Yoo Kang-hyun has been a real find for the Owls, and the team has found ways to win this season, something which evaded them a year ago, thanks in part to some poor luck.  Their next four matches could be defining - away to Gwangju FC next week, home for the second Chungcheong Derby on June 13th, home to Seoul E-Land on June 19th, then away to Gyeongnam FC on the 22nd.  Momentum will be key, but they have a chance to show they belong with the best in the division. 

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