Two-time defending K League champions Ulsan Hyundai and Korea Football Association (FA) Cup champions Pohang Steelers will meet in the final ‘East Coast Derby’ of the season.
Ulsan, led by head coach Hong Myung-bo, and Pohang, led by head coach Kim Ki-dong, will face off in the 36th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at Ulsan Munsu Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on March 12. It is the final ‘East Coast Derby’ of the season and an exciting meeting between the defending K League champions and the FA Cup winners. Ulsan leads the head-to-head series this season with one win and two draws.
Ulsan won their last match against Daegu FC (2-0) in the 35th round on March 29, completing the feat of winning back-to-back K League titles. They clinched the title early with three games remaining. Under Hong’s leadership, the team has become a championship contender. There were times when the team faltered after racing to an overwhelming lead, but they managed to overcome the crisis wisely.
However, Hong and Ulsan are trying not to get carried away, as they have yet to celebrate the title. And the mood hasn’t been good lately. Ulsan lost 1-2 to Johor Darul Taqiyim (Malaysia) in the fourth match of Group I of the Asian Champions League (ACL) at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor, Malaysia on July 7. Ulsan was also drawn with Johor in the ACL group stage last season, suffering two defeats.
They won their first meeting at home last month, but lost again on the road. Ulsan’s squad arrived in the country on the 9th and is in full swing with preparations for the match against Pohang. With several players showing signs of illness, it is expected that they will be fully fit to line up.
On the other hand, Pohang defeated Jeonbuk Hyundai 4-2 in the FA Cup final on April 4 to lift the trophy for the first time in 10 years. It was a significant win for the club as it was their 50th anniversary this year.
However, Pohang is not all smiles. Pohang pulled off a 2-1 upset in the fourth match of the ACL Group J on Aug. 8 at home. With four consecutive wins in the ACL group stage, they advanced to the round of 16 early. Along the way, the team suffered another setback: captain Kim Seung-dae and key striker Ko Young-joon went down with injuries. While the exact diagnosis of the two is still pending, it is unlikely that they will be able to play in the ‘East Coast Derby’. 무지개토토 도메인
Nevertheless, the team cannot give up on the ‘East Coast Derby’. Kim has been determined to beat Ulsan, a team he hasn’t beaten this season. The team is down a few key players due to injuries, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to let up. Pohang, who went through a partial rotation against Urawa, is expected to give 100 percent of what they can muster.