Gwangju 1-0 Ulsan, Jeonbuk 2-1 Daegu…K League 1 Final A ranking competition storms on
K League 1 Gwangju scores Lee Eun-hee goal…짱구카지노wins third straight over top-ranked Ulsan
Looking to rebound, Jeonbuk wins second straight away to Daegu…Gustavo PK scores the winner
Gwangju FC of the Korean Football League (K League 1) defeated Ulsan Hyundai for their third consecutive victory with a late goal from Lee Kun-hee. [Photo courtesy of the Korea Football Association]
(MHN Sports Reporter Lee Kyu-won) In the Final A of the professional soccer K League 1 championship, Ulsan Hyundai, the leading team challenging to win the title for the second consecutive year, lost, while Jeonbuk Hyundai, looking to rebound, won.
Top-ranked Gwangju FC emerged as the biggest factor in the race for the top spot with three straight wins over Ulsan.
In the final match of the regular season, fourth-ranked Jeonbuk Hyundai, which dramatically advanced to Final A (1-6) after a precious goal by Han Gyo-won pushed FC Seoul to Final B (7-12), continued its chase for third place by beating Daegu FC.
Gwangju defeated Ulsan 1-0 at home in the 34th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 Final A at Gwangju Football Stadium on Nov. 21, thanks to a 42nd-minute goal from Lee Kun-hee.
Third-ranked Gwangju, which has won three straight games, has accumulated 57 points and narrowed the gap between itself and the second-ranked Pohang Steelers (59 points) to two points, raising hopes for a second-place finish.
In particular, Gwangju showed its strength by winning its second straight match against Ulsan, following a 2-0 victory on September 3.
Ulsan, on the other hand, remained in first place (67 points), eight points ahead of Pohang, but has gone winless in its last three matches (two draws and one loss). Ulsan has suffered from a goal drought, failing to score a single goal during this period.
Gwangju, with Heo Yul and Thomas up front and Uhm Ji Sung and Kim Han-gil on the flanks, came out firing from the start.
Kim Han-gil’s left-footed shot from the right side of the penalty arc in the seventh minute and Heo Yul’s left-footed mid-range shot in the 18th minute were both blocked by Ulsan goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo.
In the 27th minute, Lee Soon-min’s free kick from the left flank was met with a precise header by Aaron, but Cho Hyun-woo made a super save.
Gwangju FC beat Ulsan Hyundai to become the biggest factor in the race for the top spot.
Ulsan mounted a formidable comeback after replacing U-22 resources Jang Si-young and Kang Yoon-koo with Bako and Uhm Won-sang midway through the first half.
The score remained 0-0 until the 33rd minute, when veteran midfielder Lee Chung-yong’s sharp mid-range shot from the right flank was saved by Lee Jun in goal.
The second half continued with fierce offense, but a goal was hard to come by as both goalkeepers put on a ‘save show’.
In the 24th minute of the second half, Kim Ki-hee’s header in front of the goal was caught by Gwangju’s Uhm Ji Sung’s foot and Lee Joon’s hand before crossing the goal line, and in the 34th minute, Hoe-Sim’s right-footed shot from the right side of the goal area was also blocked by Lee Joon.
Ulsan went on the offensive late in the second half with substitutes Kim Ji-hyun, Lee Dong-kyung, and Seol Young-woo, but Gwangju broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute through Lee Lee-hee.
Lee Hee-gyun’s precise through ball found Lee, who raced to the left side of the goal area and rattled the net with his left foot to give Gwangju the crucial three points.
Lee, who started on the bench and was substituted in the 13th minute of the second half, shined as the hero of the game-winning goal that put Ulsan in the driver’s seat after last month’s meeting.
Jeonbuk’s Gustavo celebrates his goal from the penalty spot in the 44th minute.
Gustavo’s 44th-minute penalty kick gives Jeonbuk a second straight win
Fourth-ranked Jeonbuk Hyundai won 2-1 away to Daegu FC at DGB Daegu Bank Park, picking up its second straight win after a 2-0 victory over FC Seoul in Round 33 to stay in third place with 52 points.
Daegu’s ninth sellout of the season (12,211 official attendance) saw their seven-match unbeaten run (four wins, three draws) come to a halt.
Behind Ulsan, Pohang, Gwangju, and Jeonbuk, Incheon United and Daegu are tied for fifth and sixth place with identical 12 wins, 13 draws, and nine losses (49 points), 39 goals scored and 38 goals conceded. In the K League, the head-to-head record is used to determine the rankings if the teams have the same number of points, goals scored, goal differential, and wins, and Incheon leads with one win and two draws this season.
Jeonbuk, which started forward Song Min-kyu, midfielder Baek Seung-ho, defender Park Jin-seop, and goalkeeper Kim Jung-hoon, all of whom returned from winning gold at the Hangzhou Asian Games, struck first.
In the 29th minute, Han Gyo-won received a pinpoint pass from Lee Jun-ho and slotted a precise right-footed shot between the legs of Daegu goalkeeper Oh Seung-hoon from the right side of the penalty area.
Daegu’s Edgar scored the equalizer but was unable to prevent his team from losing.
Daegu equalized in the fourth minute.
Hong Chul drew a quick counterattack from Vassellus with an exquisite heel pass near the halfway line, and after breaking through on the left side of the penalty area, Vassellus folded and cut in a pass that Edgar finished with his right foot.
In the second half, Jeonbuk utilized Moon Sun-min, Gustavo, and Andre, while Daegu used Hwang Jae-won, Keita, and Lee Yong-rae as substitutes in search of the go-ahead goal.
Daegu missed a chance to take the lead in the 34th minute when Vasellus was caught and brought down by Jung Tae-wook as he broke through on the left side of the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick, but it was canceled after an on-field review by the referee.
Having survived the crisis, Jeonbuk sealed the win thanks to a penalty kick in the 44th minute.
On a counterattack, Ahn Hyun-beom was tripped by Beltola on the right side of the penalty area and a penalty kick was awarded, which Gustavo converted with his right foot.