Ulsan, led by head coach Hong Myung-bo, won 5-1 at home against Jeju in the 18th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 on Tuesday at Munsusu Stadium in Ulsan, thanks to an “extraordinary performance” from Uhm Won-sang, who scored one goal and provided one assist, including a penalty kick.
Ulsan, who had previously snapped a three-match winless streak with a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Suwon FC in Round 17, got back on the winning track with a dominant performance.
With 14 wins, two draws, and two defeats (44 points), Ulsan continued its dominance, opening up a whopping 14-point gap over second-place Pohang Steelers (30 points), who have played one game less. Jeju, on the other hand, faltered with three consecutive draws (one win, two losses) and is in fourth place with 28 points (eight wins, four draws, six losses).
In the early stages, Jeju countered with strong forward pressure and active ball possession to control Ulsan’s buildup. In the 11th minute, Lee Ki Hyuk tapped the Ulsan goal with a threatening left-footed mid-range shot. Four minutes later, Seo Jin-soo’s left-footed shot was tipped over by Ulsan goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo. On a corner kick opportunity in the 15th minute, central defender Lim Chae-min joined the attack and attempted a header.
Ulsan tried to turn the tide in the 18th minute with an early introduction of Uhm Won-sang after dropping Kang Yoon-gu from the U-22 card. He had a one-on-one opportunity in the box just four minutes in, but his right-footed shot was saved by Jeju goalkeeper Kim Dong-joon.
In the 29th minute, however, Uhm Won-sang made an immediate impact. After a penetrating pass from Bako, he quickly found space behind the Jeju defense and won the ball one step ahead of Kim Dong-jun, who came running out of the goal. He was then brought down by Kim Dong-joon’s tackle, and the referee called for a penalty kick (PK). Bako stepped up to take the kick. With a sharp right foot, he sniped the ball into the left side of the Jeju goal to take the lead. It was his second consecutive goal and seventh in the league.
With their spirits lifted, Ulsan continued to push Jeju in the second half through Uhm Won-sang’s right-footed mid-range shot. Jeju responded in the fourth minute of the second half when Kim Ju-gong, who received a pass from Seo Jin-soo, quickly broke down the Ulsan right flank and hit a decisive right-footed shot, but goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo made the save.
After surviving the crisis, Ulsan scored in the seventh minute of the second half. It was a perfect link-up play. Seol Young-woo played a ball from the right side of the penalty area to Uhm Won-sang, who dropped back into space. Uhm Won-sang quickly crossed the ball to Ataru, who raced in front of the goal and shook the net with a lightning header.
It was Uhm Won-sang who made things even hotter for the red-hot Ulsan Bees. A minute later, he won the ball in Jeju’s defensive zone and drove into the opposition half with a blistering 70-meter dribble. He used his speed to beat Jeju defender Lim Chae-min’s defense and finished with an exquisite right-footed chip as goalkeeper Kim Dong-joon advanced. It was reminiscent of Son Heung-min’s (Tottenham) 70-meter dribbling goal against Burnley in the English Premier League. His goal earned him the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Puskas Award.
Uhm Won-sang, who had been strangely silent since scoring back-to-back goals in the opening round against Jeonbuk Hyundai on Feb. 25 and the second round against Gangwon FC on March 5, smiled with the goal that marked his resurgence after more than three months. 안전놀이터
Ulsan’s firepower exploded. In the 25th minute of the second half, In Ju-gyu also added to the score. After receiving a right cross from Bako, In-Joo controlled the ball exquisitely with his right foot in the box and split the goal with a thunderous shot. The Ulsan Bees were filled with cheers. Ju In-gyu had scored his 10th goal of the league and remained the league’s leading scorer.
Ulsan held off a couple of Jeju attacks after that, with Cho Hyun-woo making a perfect save. Then, in the 34th minute, Jeju substitute Yuri Jonatan scored with his left foot after Lee Kyu-sung misplaced a pass in front of the goal. But that was as close as they would get. Instead, Ulsan got back to winning ways in stoppage time when Bacco scored his fifth goal of the season after another perfect passing move to seal a four-goal victory in front of 21,190 home fans.