Ulsan Hong Myung Boho, who was doing well, unexpectedly dropped out of the ACL… K-League will have a negative impact

Offer | Korea Professional Football Federation

[스포츠서울 | 김용일기자] Ulsan Hyundai, which was the only undefeated (7 wins, 2 draws) road in the K League 1 and 2 divisions this season, could not avoid the ‘Attack of Southeast Asia’ on the stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL). Ulsan, who took on the shame of being eliminated from the ACL prematurely, is concerned that it will have a negative impact on the league.

Ulsan lost 1-2 to Johor Darul Takjim (Malaysia) in the final match of the 2022 ACL Group I (Game 6) at Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on the 30th. Ulsan, who recorded 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses (10 points) in the group stage, failed to advance to the round of 16 as they finished third in the group behind Johor (13 points) and Kawasaki Frontale (Japan, 11 points). It is the first time in five years since 2017 that Ulsan, which won the ACL in 2012 and 2020, was eliminated from the group stage. In 2018 and 2019, they reached the round of 16, and last year they reached the quarterfinals.

Initially, Ulsan was expected to compete with Kawasaki for the first place, but in two matches against Johor, they suffered shock losses 1-2 in both matches. Kawasaki had 1 win and 1 draw lead, but it was meaningless. On the same day, Ulsan took the lead from a left-footed free kick by Leandro Velasques in the first five minutes of the first half. A minute later, Jun Amano’s left-footed goal equalized Ulsan, but they were defeated by Park Yong-woo’s own goal in extra time in the second half.

Ulsan, who is trying to win the K-League for the first time in 17 years, looked into the ACL. Major players such as Amano, Leonardo, and Wonsang Um, who are on the rise in K League 1, as well as the newly added foreign striker Mark Costa, were operated, but with a shocking result of being eliminated from the group stage.

Director Hong Myung-bo of Ulsan. Offer | Korea Professional Football Federation

Ulsan went downhill after being eliminated from the ACL last year. On October 20 last year, in the ‘East Coast Derby’ against the Pohang Steelers in the ACL semifinals, they faced 1-1 in the first half and the second half, and then lost in a penalty shootout. In the disappointing defeat, Ulsan lost the league lead to Jeonbuk Hyundai after a shock loss to Seongnam FC, who were worried about relegation, in the K League 1 match four days later. Also, three days later, in the FA Cup quarterfinals against the Jeonnam Dragons belonging to K League 2, they lost 1-2 and were eliminated from the season.

An Ulsan official said, “It is very regrettable to be eliminated from the ACL, one of the important goals of the year, and the players will have a hard time, but crisis always comes during the season. I’m glad I came earlier, and I hope to focus more on winning the league after being eliminated from the ACL.”

Manager Hong, who was dissatisfied with the nuance of ‘excessive home advantage’, saying that AFC had prevented him from training at the Sultan Ibharim Stadium before the Johor match, was relatively calm considering this point. “There is definitely a lot to learn from the defeat,” he said immediately after the match against Johor. I think there will be many factors that will help him return to Korea and develop his players.”

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