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Ulsan Hyundai made to wait for K League title celebrations


The champagne remains on ice for now as Ulsan Hyundai have been made to wait to celebrate a first K League title in 17 years. A win over rivals Pohang Steelers in the final East Coast Derby of the season would have done it for the Horangi but a 79th-minute Lee Ho-jae goal canceled out Valeri Qazaishvili's opener five minutes before halftime to see the game end all square.


Ulsan Hyundai have had to wait 17 years to celebrate a K League title victory and will have to wait a bit longer still following a 1-1 draw with Pohang Steelers on Tuesday afternoon.

After the dramatic, last-gasp win over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Saturday, Hong Myung-bo's men knew that a win over their bitter rivals in Round 36 would have sealed the title and with a 1-0 half-time lead, things appeared to be going to plan.

Valeri Qazaishvili broke the deadlock five minutes before the interval, latching onto Um Won-sang's pass on the edge of the six-yard box with a tidy, first-time finish.

However, Steelers centre forward Lee Ho-jae, scoring his first goal in a year, nodded in a Lim Sang-hyub cross in the 79th minute to see the spoils shared.

However, Ulsan could still be crowned champions on Tuesday if Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors fail to beat Gangwon FC. 

A point for Jeonbuk would make it eight points clear with two games left.

Tuesday's East Coast Derby kicked off at 3 PM due to the damage caused by Typhoon Hinnamnor to Pohang's Steelyard stadium floodlights.

FNR


Nearly the Perfect Revenge

Had Ulsan sealed the title with a win over Pohang at the Steelyard then it would have been the perfect revenge, something which the Horangi have been waiting to exact for several years. 

In 2013, the K League title was decided on the final day thanks to a late Kim Won-il goal for Pohang Steelers against Ulsan in a match that was winner-take-all. 

In 2019, too, with Ulsan seemingly on course for the title, Pohang played spoiler and beat the Horangi 4-1 on the final day to leave the door open for Jeonbuk to win on goals scored.

Ulsan only needed a draw on that cold and rainy December afternoon and even managed to get themselves level at 1-1 after going a goal down but three Steelers goals in the second half, including two in the last two minutes plus stoppage time, piled on the misery for what was then Kim Do-hoon's team.

The title was therefore decided by goals scored with Jeonbuk and Ulsan finishing the season locked on 79 points.

Ulsan finished two points behind Jeonbuk last year, missing out on the title on the final day despite a 2-0 win over Daegu FC.

In 2020, it was a similar situation albeit with a three-point gap as Jeonbuk sealed another K League crown.

Up next for Ulsan is Gangwon FC away this weekend and then Jeju United at home on the final day.

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