‘Cho Kyu-sung vs Lee In-jong-kyu’ Jeonbuk-Ulsan, goalie clash in ‘Hyundai Street Derby’

It’s a showdown between two of Korea’s leading goalies. Cho Kyu-sung (25, Jeonbuk Hyundai) and Lee In-gyu (33, Ulsan Hyundai) are at the center of the second ‘Hyundai Street Derby’ of the season.

Jeonbuk and Ulsan will meet in the 16th round of the K League One 2023 at Jeonju World Cup Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on March 3. Ulsan had the last laugh in the opening match in February. The two teams produced a ‘masterpiece’ with high quality soccer. The game was characterized by Jeonbuk’s strong pressing and Ulsan’s passing.

This season’s head-to-head has been a bit of a mixed bag. Jeonbuk has faltered since the beginning of the season, bouncing around the bottom half of the table. Jeonbuk is currently in seventh place after going unbeaten in four games (2 wins, 2 draws) under acting head coach Kim Doo-hyun following the resignation of Kim Sang-sik last month, before being stymied by the Pohang Steelers (0-1 loss).

Ulsan, on the other hand, is 11 points ahead of second-place FC Seoul (27 points) after 15 league games (12 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss). The team has been on a roll lately, going unbeaten in their last eight games (6 wins, 2 draws). In particular, their ability to win games has improved significantly in the 2023 season. The good news is that the goals are coming at the right time.

The performance of the ‘goalies’ is also mixed. Cho Kyu-sung, who won the top goal scorer award in the K League 1 last year (17 goals) and rose to stardom at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, hasn’t lived up to expectations. In the first four games of the season, he scored one goal from the penalty spot, then took two months off due to a calf injury. He hasn’t found the back of the net in his last two games. He’s playing with a lot of motivation, but the goals just aren’t coming.

Lee In-gyu, on the other hand, has been performing at the top of his game since switching uniforms. He moved back to Ulsan ahead of this season and has quickly settled in and has been an explosive goalscorer. With eight goals in 14 games (four left-footed, three right-footed, and one headed), he is a weapon with his whole body. He’s currently tied with Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul – 8 goals) for the top scorer honors.

In the end, the performance of the two strikers will likely be the difference between the teams. Jeonbuk’s wingers, including Moon Sun-min and Song Min-gyu, are in good form. However, foreign strikers such as Gustavo (1 goal in 11 games) have been sluggish, and the team is 안전놀이터 waiting for Cho Kyu-sung to find his touch.

Acting head coach Kim Doo-hyun said, “We’re trying to create an atmosphere for him to play as comfortably as possible,” but added, “No matter how much advice and help we give him, there are some things he needs to work on.” He said he doesn’t need to score to have a positive impact on the game.

After rescuing his team from the brink with a multi-goal performance in a 3-3 draw against Daejeon Hana Citizens on March 28, Cho is already ready for the Hyundai Street Derby. In the first meeting in February, the striker was on the pitch for 88 minutes, but was unable to find the back of the net for Jeonbuk.

“Today’s game was more important because it was before Jeonbuk,” he said after the match, “The Hyundai Street Derby is a rivalry game. I don’t have to tell them how to prepare, they all know. We will prepare well.”

Both teams have power leaks ahead of the crucial match. Jeonbuk is without Baek Seung-ho and Kim Moon-hwan due to injuries. Ulsan will also be without center back Kim Young-kwon after he injured his right thigh.

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