2 draws and 1 loss against ‘natural enemies’… Ulsan, faltering, is on the verge of a K League 1 autumn ranking war

Professional soccer’s K League 1 leaders Ulsan Hyundai once again failed to get past their ‘nemesis’ Daejeon Hana Citizens, leaving them six points behind second-placed Pohang Steelers.

Pohang defeated Suwon FC 2-0 at the Anbang Steel Yard, thanks to a multi-goal performance from Zeca, to improve to nine games unbeaten (five wins and four draws) and keep pace with Ulsan.

Gangwon FC held off a struggling Jeonbuk Hyundai to escape the bottom of the table.

Incheon United beat Jeju United 2-1 to move into sixth place, signaling a second straight year of securing the top split (1-6).

Ulsan drew 1-1 with Daejeon in a home match of the 30th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at the Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan on Saturday.

Ulsan has drawn two and lost one of its three meetings with newly-promoted Daejeon this season. Daejeon has not been able to cross the threshold of victory against their former club.

Despite Ulsan’s strong showing, Daejeon remained winless in four matches (two draws and two losses) and remained in eighth place with 38 points.

With just one more point, Ulsan has 62 points, closing the gap to six points between them and the second-place Pohang Steelers (56 points), who beat Suwon FC 2-0 earlier in the day. Ulsan’s dominance at the top of the table, which has been going on for some time, is now really starting to show its age.

With just one win in their last five games (two draws and two losses), Ulsan came out with an unorthodox lineup, resting players who had been on international duty with the Korean National Team, including goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, and starting players who hadn’t been given much of a chance.

Prior to the game, the team appointed veteran center back Kim Ki-hee as captain and key striker Lee In-jong-kyu as vice captain in a bid to shake things up.

It was a good start for Daejeon. Just 1 minute and 20 seconds into the match, Kim In-gyun picked up a loose pass after Masa sprinted through the midfield and slotted a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Cho Soo-hyuk, who had come forward from the left side of the penalty area.

Ulsan equalized on a penalty kick in the 29th minute.

Daejeon defender Kim Hyun-woo brought down Lee Min-kyu inside the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick, and Lee Min-kyu stepped up to take the spot kick and converted with his right foot to tie the game. Inhabigyu is now the league’s top scorer with 14 goals this season.

Ulsan, who made a number of substitutions in the second half, including Rubikson, Lee Chung-yong, Kim Young-kwon and Bako, celebrated in the 38th minute when Bako’s stunning volley from the right side of the penalty arc went in.

However, the goal was disallowed after an on-field review by the assistant referee determined that Im Jong-jong had obstructed the view of Daejeon goalkeeper Lee Chang-geun during the shooting situation.

In the second half of added time, Ulsan again had a golden opportunity to equalize after a penalty kick was awarded for a handball foul on Daejeon’s Oh Jae-seok on the right side of the penalty area, but this time Lee’s shot was blocked by a diving Lee Chang-geun and hit the ground.

■ Pohang stays close to leader Ulsan with Zeca’s multi-goal performance and nine-match unbeaten streak

Pohang defeated Suwon FC 2-0 to extend its unbeaten run to nine games (five wins and four draws), thanks to a multi-goal performance from Zeca.

Zeca was responsible for both goals and was the star performer in the win.

Zeca opened the scoring in the 22nd minute by tucking home Wandelsson’s cross from the left flank, then added a second in the 44th minute when he dribbled down the right flank from near the halfway line and finished with a hard right-footed shot.

With the two goals, Zeca surpassed the 10-goal mark in the league this season.

Pohang fired off 12 shots on the day, including nine on target, to Suwon’s one overall, but were unable to add to their tally in the second half.

Suwon, who have lost all three meetings with Pohang this season, remain in 10th place with 29 points.

■ Jeonbuk on the road, winless in five games…where’s the glory?

Gangwon FC caught Jeonbuk Hyundai behind enemy lines to escape the bottom of the table.

After going winless in its last three games (one draw and two losses), Gangwon accumulated 24 points to leap to 11th place, knocking Suwon Samsung (22 points) to the bottom of the table with 30 rounds to play on Sunday.

Jeonbuk remained in fifth place (43-35 points – goal difference 7) but fell to a five-match winless streak (three draws and two losses).

Jeonbuk took the lead on a penalty kick just five minutes into the match.

Han Gyo-won was tripped by Gangwon defender Lee Ji-sol on the left side of the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick, which Gustavo converted with his right foot.

However, Gangwon’s counterattack, led by Gabriel and Yago, was fierce, and back-to-back goals by Gabriel and Gallego in first-half stoppage time turned the tide. Gabriel scored his debut goal in the K League.

In the second half, heavy rains caused the ground to become waterlogged and the ball to roll poorly, which became a factor in the game, and Gangwon’s Kim Dae-won drove a wedge with an additional goal in the 30th minute of the second half.

■ Incheon jumps to 6th, Jeju winless for 4th straight game, 9th place remains helpless

At the Incheon Football Stadium, Incheon United edged Jeju United 2-1.온라인바카라

Incheon’s Lee Myung-joo took the lead in the 29th minute and Jeju’s Kim Seung-seop equalized in the 22nd minute, before Incheon’s Hernandez scored the winner in stoppage time with a mid-range shot from the left corner of the penalty area.

Incheon moved up one spot to sixth place (43-35 points, goal difference -1), while Jeju, which saw its winless streak extend to four matches (one draw, three losses), dropped to ninth place (35 points).

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