By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, 25 Feb. (Yonhap) — Ulsan Hyundai FC beat rivals Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 on Saturday to kick off the new South Korean football season, putting their title defense on the right foot.
Um Won-sang and new Sweden midfielder Gustav Ludwigson each scored for Ulsan, erasing an opening goal from Song Min-kyu in the 2023 K League 1 season opener at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 310 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
Ulsan held off Jeonbuk for their first K League 1 crown in 17 years in 2022, also foiling Jeonbuk’s bid for a record sixth consecutive title. The two clubs are set to battle for league supremacy again this year, and Ulsan came out on top in their first meeting of the new campaign.
Song opened the scoring just 10 minutes into the game but Um scored on a rebound to level the score for Ulsan in the 43rd minute.
Ludwigson, who signed with Ulsan in January after more than a decade in his native Sweden, made his K League debut on the bench in the 53rd minute. He then scored the decisive goal 11 minutes later when goalkeeper Kim Jeong-hoon could not catch a back pass from defender Hong Jeong-ho.
Ulsan was able to lock things down in the final half hour to secure the win.
The match drew 28,039 fans, the biggest crowd in K League 1 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“I think the players did a great job in earning this important win,” Ulsan head coach Hong Myung-bo said. “After winning the title last year, motivation could be a problem for us. But coming back from behind to win the opening game will be huge. I think we showed how much we have grown as that team.
Elsewhere in K League 1 on Saturday, newly promoted K League 2 second division Gwangju FC shut out Suwon Samsung Bluewings 1-0 behind Jasir Asani’s 88th-minute goal at the Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul.
FC Seoul beat Incheon United 2-1 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, with Lim Sang-hyub and Kim Ju-sung each scoring a goal for the home side.
#Defend #champions #Ulsan #rally #Jeonbuk #kick #League #season
#Defending #champions #Ulsan #rally #Jeonbuk #kick #League #season
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