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'Moon Hyun-ho show' helps Ulsan HD overcome Gyeongnam FC on penalties in Korean Cup

The 'Moon Hyun-ho show' helps Ulsan HD overcome Gyeongnam FC on penalties after an enthralling 4-4 draw to reach the quarterfinals of the 2024 Korean Cup. 

Ulsan HD defeated Gyeongnam FC on penalties at home to book a place in the last eight of the 2024 Hana Bank Korean Cup.

Ulsan drew 4-4 with Gyeongnam after 120 minutes of hard-fought action in the fourth round (Round of 16), which kicked off at 7pm on June 19th at Munsu Football Stadium. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Ulsan triumphed 3-0 thanks to goalkeeper Moon Hyun-ho's heroic saves to advance to the fifth round (quarter-finals), where they will face Incheon United.

The home team Ulsan played Kim Min-hyeok as a false nine, with Kelvin and Lee Chung-yong on the left and right sides of the attack. Kim Min-woo, Lee Gyu-sung, Lee Jae-wook, and Choi Kang-min lined up in midfield, while Park Sang-jun, Lim Jong-eun, and Hong Jae-seok formed the back three. Moon Hyun-ho secured the rearguard in goal.

The away team Gyeongnam also lined up in a 3-4-3. Yoo Joon-ha, Cho Hyang-gi, and Cho Sang-jun started as a trio up top, with Lee Min-gi, Lee Min-hyeok, Do Dong-hyun, and Seo Jae-won providing support behind them. Park Jae-hwan, Kim Hyoung-won and Lee Kwang-seon made up the defence, with Goh Dong-min wearing the keeper’s gloves.

Ulsan dominated possession early in the first half, but failed to create any decisive chances.

After a tense opening 15 minutes, Gyeongnam struck first with a surprise goal. Cho Sang-jun dribbled through the Ulsan defence and found the net with a left-footed shot from just inside the D.

After conceding, Ulsan quickly regrouped and went on the attack. Gyeongnam focused on defence, forming a strong defensive block as Ulsan's attack intensified. After pouncing on a second ball, Lee Chung-yong's left-footed shot from inside the area deflected off goalkeeper Goh Dong-min and into defender Lee Min-gi. In the process, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and showed Lee the red card for using his left arm to deny a clear scoring opportunity. Lee Chung-yong took the spot kick and scored with a right-footed finish in the 42nd minute.

The first half ended 1-1.

[READ: Ulsan HD Head Coach Hong Myung-bo achieves 100 wins]

At the start of the second half, Ulsan brought on Joo Min-kyu and Ataru Esaka and brought off Kim Min-hyeok and Park Sang-jun. With the numerical advantage, Ulsan attacked strongly on several occasions.

Gyeongnam responded with a triple substitution in the 60th minute, with Cho Hyang-gi, Seo Jae-won, and Do Dong-hyeon making way for Lee Jong-eon, Lee Jun-jae, and Kim Jin-rae. Ulsan bolstered their midfield with Bojanic taking the place of Lee Jae-wook, who headed to the bench.

In the 62nd minute, Gyeongnam took the lead again. Lee Min-hyuk beat four defenders at once in the Ulsan D and drove into the box. As goalkeeper Moon Hyun-ho came out to narrow the angle, Lee successfully clipped a left-footed shot over him and into the goal.

Ulsan resumed their attack. Chances for Kim Min-woo in the 66th minute and Lee Gyu-sung in the 67th both came to nothing. Eventually, Ulsan made a decisive substitution by bringing on Um Won-sang in the 68th minute, with Choi Kang-min leaving the field. Gyeongnam replaced the scorer of the first goal, Cho Sang-jun, with Seol Hyun-jin.

Ulsan pushed hard for an equalizer and in the 73rd minute, Joo Min-kyu had two shots on goal blocked by the opposition defence. The team kept pounding away and were finally rewarded with the equaliser. In the 75th minute, Ataru received a pass from Darmian Bojanic and found the back of the net with a powerful left-footed mid-range shot.

With the momentum in their favour, Ulsan went on the offensive and found a breakthrough in the 79th minute. Lee Gyu-sung played a cheeky pass with the sole of his foot inside the Gyeongnam penalty box, and Um Won-sang rattled the net with an instant right-footed shot. Having taken the lead, Ulsan brought off Kelvin in the 80th minute and introduced Yun Il-lok.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Gyeongnam did not give up. In the 84th minute, Lee Jong-eon equalised again with a right-footed shot from inside the Ulsan penalty area.

Both teams did everything they could to win the game in normal time, but in the end, neither side were able to find a winner in the 90 minutes, prompting extra time.

Ulsan strengthened their defence at the start of the extra period with the introduction of veteran Kim Kee-hee. He replaced Hong Jae-seok, who was making his first start. Ulsan continued to attack with their one-man advantage.

However, Gyeongnam's fearsome backline was stronger. In the 12th minute of the first period of extra time, Seol Hyun-jin scored another goal with a left-footed shot from the arc in front of Ulsan’s goal. In response, Ulsan showed their determination to win by launching a wave of attacks, and eventually breached the defence to score. In the 10th minute of the second period, Kim Min-woo scored with a first-time shot from just inside the box after Goh Dong-min had punched away a cross.

Despite Ulsan continuing to attack until the end of extra time, they were unable to find the back of the net, leading to a penalty shootout. In the shootout, other than Bojanic, Ulsan scored all of their penalties, with successful strikes from Joo Min-kyu, Um Won-sang and Ataru. In addition, goalkeeper Moon Hyun-ho saved all three of his opponent's spot kicks to secure a 3-0 victory for Ulsan.

[READ: FA Cup Quarterfinal Draw]

More Korean Cup reaction...

Penalty agony for Cheongju as Seongnam advance in the Cup: here
Chungbuk Cheongju striker Nathan Oduwa Interview (Patreon)
Seongnam FC winger Shin Jae-won Interview (Patreon)

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