Ulsan defends its crown, next mission is to make In Jin-gyu the top scorer


After winning back-to-back league titles, Ulsan Hyundai is on a mission to make In-Joo the top scorer.

Ulsan came from behind to beat Pohang Steelers 3-2 in the 36th round and 178th East Coast Derby of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at Munsu Football Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday with consecutive goals from Seol Young-woo, Ataru, and In-Joo In-gyu.

On the day, Ulsan overcame a shock 1-2 loss in the fourth leg of their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) group stage match against Johor Darul Taqzim (Malaysia) on Nov. 7 to defeat east coast rival Pohang and showcase their status as K League 1 champions. Lee In-jong-kyu opened the scoring for the first time in 49 days, tying him with Tiago (Daejeon Hana Citizens) for the league lead with 16 goals.

Ulsan led against Pohang, but fell behind in the 31st minute after conceding the opening goal. The team then fought back, led by Lee In-jong-gyu. His battles with opposing defenders opened up space and allowed the second line to flourish.

The equalizer came in the first minute of the second half. After receiving a pass from Lee Chung-yong, Inhabigyu attempted a turning shot in the Pohang box. As the ball bounced off the post, Seol Young-woo swooped in to finish. In the fifth minute, Kim Tae-hwan’s cross rattled the net with Ataru’s nonstop shooting. The momentum was on. In the 17th minute of the second half, Uhm Won-sang’s cross was met with a header from Moon Jeon.

Lee In-jong-gyu smiled for the first time in a long time. He had been silent since September 24 against Suwon FC. In the prideful East Coast derby, he tasted a goal for the first time in 49 days and led his team to victory.

Lee won the 2021 season with Jeju United with 22 goals, and last season he tied Cho Kyu-sung (then of Jeonbuk Hyundai) with 17 goals, but finished second due to a higher number of appearances. This season, Ulsan has clinched the title early with three games remaining. He can play with a lot of confidence, and his teammates can support him. If In-jong-kyu continues to find the back of the net in the remaining two games, he will become the first Ulsan striker to score more goals in three years since Junio (26 in 2020). 무지개토토 도메인

Ulsan head coach Hong Myung-bo said, “I think we need to give him a lot of support in the remaining games to become the top scorer. I’m not playing, but I think our players can help. I’ve been the top scorer in the past, and it means a lot to me that he won the title for the first time this season.”

“Honestly, I didn’t have any greed until I won the title. I had a firm goal of winning the title. Once I finalized it, the greed in me came out. The players are trying to help me. I will prepare for every game gratefully.”

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