After handing Ulsan Hyundai their first and only loss of the season in their first meeting this season, Daejeon Hana Citizen will be looking to bounce back.
Daejeon will host Ulsan in the 15th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at 7 p.m. on Nov. 28 at Munsoo World Cup Stadium in Ulsan. Currently, Daejeon is in fifth place in the league (21 points) with six wins, three draws, and five losses in 14 games.
Daejeon needs to turn things around. Daejeon recently suffered their first back-to-back losses of the season against Pohang Steelers (2-3 L) and Daegu FC (0-1 L). Daejeon burst onto the promotion scene earlier this season with an unbeaten five-match run (three wins and two draws). Since then, the team has shown its mettle by taking down the likes of Ulsan, FC Seoul, and Jeonbuk Hyundai. In their last two games, they suffered their first back-to-back losses of the season, but the results weren’t bad. On the 13th, they lost 2-3 against Pohang, but they were determined to catch up. In the previous match안전놀이터, an FA Cup match against Jeju United, they showed their tenacity to come back from 0-2 down to win 3-3.
Ulsan is at the top of the K League 1 table. They’ve only lost once in 14 matches, and it was Daejeon that handed them that one loss. Daejeon faced Ulsan in the seventh round of the K League 1 last month on March 16, and took the lead in the first nine minutes with a fantastic left-footed curler from Lee Jin-hyun. Ulsan fought back to equalize, but a goal by Lee Hyun-sik in the final minute of the first half put the game out of reach. In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, Lee Hyun-sik scored a second goal after Lee Jin-hyun’s shot deflected off the defense. The goal proved to be the game-winner. Ulsan’s six-game winning streak to start the season was cut short by Daejeon.
Daejeon is rebounding and reignited. They have a lot to gain by catching Ulsan. Daejeon is still only three points behind the second-place group. If the top teams lose this round and Daejeon wins, they can move up the standings. Daejeon currently has 22 points in 14 games, the third-highest total behind Ulsan and Seoul. They are ahead of third-place Jeju (21 points) and fourth-place Pohang (19 points) on goal difference at the end of round 14, so they could move up to third depending on the outcome of this match. At the same time, it’s a great opportunity for Daejeon to stem the tide of teams further down the table, such as Daegu and Jeonbuk.
Daejeon used a rotation in their FA Cup fourth round match on April 24 to rest their main players. It was a chance for them to rest their main players and to see the presence of players who hadn’t played before. We need to take advantage of that.
The key players are Lee Jin-hyun and Lee Hyun-sik, who had good performances in the last match against Ulsan. Both players can cause problems for the Ulsan defense based on their activity in the midfield. They can open up attacking lanes with their wide vision and reliable kicking power. They also have sharp one-timers. When the two are in attacking roles, Lim does the dirty work at the back. Lim started to get more playing time last season. His versatility as a defensive midfielder, center back, and flanker helped him play 36 games, including the promotion playoffs, as Daejeon won promotion. This season, he has made 11 appearances since moving up to the K League 1 stage. With ‘captain’ Joo Sae-jong unavailable due to disciplinary reasons, Lim’s role is crucial.
“Our current standings and points show how strong Ulsan has been this season,” said Lee Min-sung. However, we have shown good performances against strong teams in the past, so I believe that if we play our game with confidence, we can get a good result,” said Lee Min-sung, who will be traveling to Ulsan.