Last weekend it finally happened as Champions Jeonbuk lost to 2nd placed Gyeongnam and although it’s not quite sparked a title challenge it did prove to the others that despite their obvious superiority over their fellow K-League teams they are far from unbeatable. That game did however see Gyeongnam’s Lee Bum-soo pull off an incredible 11 saves to stop keep his team in front. Elsewhere last weekend we had FC Seoul thumping Jeju 3-0 before losing 2-1 to them in the FA Cup, Ulsan came back from Jeonnam with all 3 pts, Pohang Steelers crept into the top 6 with a victory in Incheon and Suwon Bluewings lost a 1-0 lead to a Yoon Bit-garam goal against Sangju. Those results leave Suwon in 3rd place only 4pts ahead of Ulsan in the chase for the automatic Asian Champions League spots
This week’s ‘Match of the Day’ takes place between 3rd and 4th as Ulsan welcome the Bluewings to town in what could very well be a huge match for both teams.
2018 K-League Once ~ Match Day 22 – ‘Match of the Day’
Ulsan Hyundai vs Suwon Bluewings
This weekend’s fixture will be the third meeting of the year so far for the teams as they also clashed in the Asian Champions League and given they are among the few K-League One teams still left in the FA Cup, it’s not unimaginable that they’ll clash there too. Ulsan were relatively busy during the summer transfer window with them securing the high-profile signing of Mix Diskerud (pictured left) on loan from Manchester City. The American International midfielder hasn’t really had much time to showcase his talents for the Horang-i but there is no denying that he is one of the most intriguing players to grace the K-League in a while. He made his league debut in the away draw in Jeju and is slowly beginning to impose himself on the team. He was instrumental in their midweek FA Cup win over Busan I-Park with his ability to remain calm under pressure while always looking for a team mate evident. If given the time and space by the Bluewings midfield you get the feeling that he will punish them, and with Lee Keun-ho up front waiting on that killer pass that’s something the visitors can’t afford to let happen.
If Diskerund was the signing of the summer then undoubtedly his striking opponent today was the signing of the year, as Dejan (pictured right) swapped the red of Seoul for the blue of their rivals. By his own standards the Montenegrin striker has probably not had the most prolific of seasons, yet! That being said he comes into this match on the back of a midweek hat-trick in the 4-1 extra-time FA Cup victory over Cheonan City. He has now scored in each of the last four games that he has started and given the news that Waguininho is out for the rest of the season his recent prolific streak will be music to the Bluewings fan’s ears. With the boys in blue having huge games coming up, namely a Supermatch and the ACL clash with Jeonbuk, having the K-League’s greatest foreign striker on form is essential and it looks as if the big man is finding form at exactly the right moment. Can Ulsan halt his goal-scoring streak? Or will he continue to put defences to the sword this weekend?
As mentioned above the teams have already met three times this season with one win apiece and a draw, Suwon progressed in the ACL on aggregate after winning 3-0 at home. They have met a total of 51 times over the years with it being impossible to separate the teams as each have 19 wins. Ulsan haven’t lost at home to Bluewings in the league since November 2014 with Santos on the scoresheet that day. Suwon did win down in the Munsu in 2016 when they knocked them out of the cup, Jonathan getting a brace that day. It will be another close encounter this time around with both teams having the carrot of an automatic ACL spot to play for and we could end up with another stalemate come full-time.