Defending champions Ulsan Hyundai will look to clinch an early title with three games left in the league. Ulsan will need help from rival Jeonbuk Hyundai to clinch the club’s first back-to-back titles.
Ulsan will host Daegu FC in the 35th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at 2 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Munsusu Football Stadium in Ulsan.
After dominating from the start of the season, Ulsan hasn’t lost ground despite a mid-season slump and sits atop the league with 20 wins, seven draws and seven losses (67 points). They are eight points behind the second-placed Pohang Steelers (59 points) and have a significant advantage in the title race.
Ulsan can clinch the title this weekend in the 35th round of League 1.
For that to happen, the outcome of the match between Pohang and Jeonbuk at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on the 28th is crucial. Pohang must not win against Jeonbuk. Ulsan then needs to win at home against Daegu on the 29th to clinch the title early.
Jeonbuk hasn’t picked up a single point against Pohang this season, losing three straight. Jeonbuk, always a favorite to win the title, has struggled this season. Especially against Pohang, head coach Kim Sang-sik, acting head coach Kim Doo-hyun, and new head coach Dan Petrescu have each played one match against the team, and all of them have hung their heads in shame.
For Jeonbuk, this game against Pohang is a must-win. Jeonbuk is currently in fourth place with 15 wins, 7 draws, and 12 losses (52 points). They need to catch up to Gwangju FC (57 points) to qualify for next season’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League, where the top three spots are awarded. That’s why a point against Pohang is so important.
On top of that, Jeonbuk has scored multiple goals in each of its last three matches, winning three in a row and gaining momentum. They will be confident going into Pohang, especially since they have won three straight away games in K League 1.
Pohang, on the other hand, has been struggling in the league, scoring just one goal in four games and losing three draws, after losing Aubertan and Wandelsson to injuries at the end of the season. However, Pohang will be hoping to bounce back with a win in the Champions League against Urawa Reds (Japan) on April 24.
Ulsan will also need a win against Daegu. Ulsan has struggled in their last three league matches, going 2-0-1 without scoring a goal.
Fortunately, their 3-1 Champions League victory over Johor FC (Malaysia) on April 24 gave them a boost in the race for the final spot. Ulsan also benefited from resting key players such as Kim Young-kwon, Bako, In-Joo Gyu, and Lee Cheong-yong against Johor. It’s also encouraging that Ulsan is undefeated against Daegu this season with two wins and one draw. 스포츠토토
Meanwhile, even if Ulsan clinches the title early in Round 35, we won’t see a K League 1 championship ceremony in Ulsan this week. According to the Korea Professional Football Association, the championship ceremony will be held on December 3 in the season finale at Munsu Stadium in Ulsan.