Jeonbuk has failed to advance to the “Elite” of the AFC Champions League, the best stage for Asian club soccer. It will also end the season coldly at the lowest rank in the K League 1 for the first time in 15 years since 2008.
Jeonbuk lost 0-1 to Ulsan in the 38th round of the Hana One Q K League 1 2023 at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan on Sunday. Jeonbuk failed to recover a single goal that was beaten by Ulsan side defender Seol Young-woo in the 32nd minute of the first half.
Jeonbuk beat Ulsan on the day, and third-place Gwangju finished third in the home game against Pohang, drawing or losing, allowing them to win tickets to the 2024/25 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Elite (ACLE) playoffs.
From the 2024/25 season, AFC divided the ACL into two competitions, ACLE and ACL2. While Ulsan, the winner of the K-League 1, and Pohang, the winner of the FA Cup, have already confirmed their advance to the ACLE finals, Gwangju (58 points), Jeonbuk (57 points), and Incheon (56 points) were competing in the final 38 rounds until the 37th round for the ACLE playoff ticket.
In the end, the 37th round ranking remained the same. Jeonbuk lost to ACL 2, a sub-ACLE tournament. The UEFA club competition is similar to the Europa League. 안전놀이터
Jeonbuk had to watch the Gwangju-Pohang match after beating or drawing Ulsan. If Jeonbuk tied, it was 47 goals in Gwangju and 45 goals in Jeonbuk according to the K League 1 rule, which applies the principle of priority for multiple goals, and Jeonbuk had to draw with multiple goals.
Jeonbuk’s calculation, however, became meaningful after the 90-minute whistle. Jeonbuk lost to Ulsan. It ended the season in fourth place after losing to Ulsan. It is its first time to rank fourth since it ranked fourth in the 2008 season.
Ulsan played the 4-2-3-1 model on the day. goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, as well as Kim Tae-hwan, Jung Seung-hyun, Kim Young-kwon and Seol Young-woo, formed the defense. Kim Sung-joon and Lee Chung-yong protected the defense from the third line, while Rubik’s Son, Kang Yoon-gu and Um Won-sang were in charge of the front line attack, and Joo Min-kyu was in charge of the front line attack.
Against this backdrop, Jeonbuk has come out in the 4-3-3 format. In addition to goalkeeper Kim Jung-hoon, Jung Woo-jae, Hong Jung-ho, Jeong Tae-wook and Ahn Hyun-beom have built defense. Park Jin-seop, Baek Seung-ho and Amano Jun defended the midfield, while Song Min-gyu, Lee Dong-joon and Lee Jun-ho joined the front line strikers.
Ulsan created the opportunity first. Kim Tae-hwan, who succeeded in breaking through the right side in the second minute of the first half, attempted a sharp cross and Kang Yoon-gu connected with a header, which flew high.
Ulsan continued its attack flow in the early stages, and Jeonbuk kept its balance by enduring it. Around 7 minutes in the first half, as the ball came alive from the left side, Joo Min-kyu tried to shoot from outside the box and headed to the front of Kim Jung-hoon.
Ulsan continued to create an attack scene early in the first half as it took the lead. In the 16th minute, after a corner kick situation, Kim Tae-hwan attempted a powerful mid-range shot from outside the box, and Kim Jung-hoon threw himself and managed to hit it.
Even if Jeonbuk caught the ball, Ulsan players pressed strongly from the line that Park Jin-seop hit, making the ball difficult to go forward. Ulsan creaked once under Jeonbuk’s forward pressure, but it steadily owned the ball and sought a chance by advancing.
Jeonbuk had a chance at a set piece. At the 27th minute of the first half, it faced a mixed battle with a corner kick, and Lee Dong-jun tried to push the loose ball with his feet. However, Cho Hyun-woo saved it and overcame the crisis. It was also declared offside by Lee Dong-jun.
Ulsan made its first change in the composition of its players by excluding Kang Yoon-gu and putting in Ataru in the 30th minute of the first half. Then, the score immediately exploded. In the 32nd minute of the first half, Um Won-sang made a counterattack by breaking through alone, and later a loose ball occurred as he competed with defense.
The ball went over to the other side, and Seol Young-woo calmly grabbed the ball and connected it with a right-footed shot. It shook the net as it was deflected off Ahn Hyun-bum. Seol celebrated the coronation with a ceremony of lifting the ball like a trophy.
Jeonbuk again sought a chance at set piece. Song Min-gyu’s header slightly crossed the crossbar at a corner kick situation in the 36th minute of the first half. One minute later, Um Won-sang caught the ball in the midfield, broke down the right side, and scored a low cross near the goal line. However, it did not lead to a shot.
In the 41st-minute free-kick situation, Baek Seung-ho collided with the goalkeeper, lost consciousness, and collapsed. Medical staff and ambulances from both teams were dispatched quickly, and Hong Jeong-ho’s situation was confirmed.
If the medical team had entered the room a little later as the situation was not quickly identified, it would have been in an urgent situation. The Jeonbuk bench asked for a medical team to be called quickly, and the announcer in the hall quickly called the medical team and the ambulance.
After receiving first aid, Hong was put on an ambulance and headed straight to a nearby hospital. Fortunately, Hong regained consciousness at the hospital.
The referee checked the on-field monitor for VAR review. The referee did not declare a penalty kick after the final confirmation. Jeonbuk deployed Koo Ja-yong in place of Hong Jeong-ho.
The extra time was given as much as 13 minutes, and Jeonbuk’s offensive continued at the end of the game, but Ulsan blocked it. Jeonbuk finished the first half without balancing.
In Jeonbuk, Amano Jun and Lee Jun-ho were left out, Hafa Silva and Moon Seon-min were put in, while in Ulsan, Kim Min-hyuk replaced Rubik’sson.
Jeonbuk regained the flow early in the second half.
Ulsan has also launched a counterattack. Ataru attempted a cross from the right side at 10 minutes into the second half and looked at Joo Min-gyu. However, Joo Min-gyu’s shot flew high and missed the opportunity.
Jeonbuk faced a counterattack in the 13th minute of the second half as Ahn Hyun-beom’s fast forward and penetration pass went in. Ahn Hyun-beom looked at the other side and hit a strong grounder cross, which caught Cho Hyun-woo’s save.
In the 20th minute of the second half, Ulsan left out Joo Min-kyu, who was trying to score, and Martin Adam was deployed. Ulsan immediately launched a counterattack behind the defense. A space pass went into Um Won-sang, who penetrated the center, and Um Won-sang tried to shoot a half-beat fast shot in the box, which hit the crossbar and swallowed the regret.
Jeonbuk had a critical chance in the 30th minute of the second half. Hafa Silva connected Baek Seung-ho’s corner kick with a header, and Cho Hyun-woo threw a ball heading to the opposite corner to overcome the crisis.
Ulsan made changes in the 32nd minute of the second half by putting in U22 resources Lee Jae-wook and Lee Myung-jae, excluding Kim Sung-joon and Um Won-sang. For Jeonbuk, Jung Woo-jae was injured and Choi Chul-soon was put in.
Ulsan had another chance to score at 36 minutes in the second half. Kim Tae-hwan, who successfully penetrated the side space, crossed the ball and Adam connected with a shot from the center, but slightly floated high and crossed the crossbar. Jeonbuk took out Lee Dong-joon and added Park Jae-yong in the 39th minute of the second half to continue its last-minute attack.
Jeonbuk has persistently sought a goal. At 44 minutes in the second half, Hafa Silva connected Ahn Hyun-bum’s cross from the left side with a header, which slightly floated high and covered its face.
In the extra time of the second half, Ulsan continued its attack and Jeonbuk had no chance. Jeonbuk had to watch the opponent’s coronation without earning any income from the rival game.
“I’m sad that I can’t win. Due to an accident at the end of the first half, Hong had to go to a hospital and there was a variable,” Petrescu, the head coach of Jeonbuk, told an official press conference after the match. “We had a chance to solve the problem, but we couldn’t,” he said. “The players looked tired and the players didn’t pour out 100 percent of it. Still, they fought well. I did my best. If I had won, I would have participated in the Champions League (ACLE), but I got painful results because I missed it. We have to learn from this game. Of course, Ulsan deserved the championship.”
Petrescu, now in his sixth month in office, failed to stop his team from falling to fourth place in 15 years.
In response, he said, “When I came to Jeonbuk, I saw how the team was and how the ranking was. There were many injured players. At that time, I remember Incheon probably had many problems as well. I did my best. I also felt sorry for myself. I know that team play doesn’t come out the way I want. I will solve the problems and make a better team next year. I want you to know that today’s game was a waste.”
At the same time, Gwangju, led by head coach Lee Jung-hyo, drew 0-0 with Pohang to achieve the highest ranking and win in the first division of the team at the same time.
Until the previous season, Gwangju’s best performance in the first division was sixth (6 wins) in the 2020 season, which ended early due to the new coronavirus infection, and the most wins in a season were 11 wins recorded in the 2016 season (8th).
Gwangju received a favorable outcome that Pohang’s Lee Ho-jae was sent off eight minutes after the start of the game. When Lee Ho-jae stretched his foot too high during the competition and Lee Soon-min collapsed, the referee immediately took out a red card.
However, the following scoring opportunities continued to be blocked by Pohang goalkeeper Hwang In-jae.
Hwang In-jae, who hit Heo Yul’s sharp header in the 39th and 41st minutes of the first half, saved Pohang by blocking Ha Seung-woon’s shot to the corner of the net in the 15th minute of the second half.
Jung Ho-yeon showed a right-footed kick shot outside the penalty box in the 33rd minute of the second half, but even this hit only the goalpost and Gwangju players hit the ground.
Pohang’s Baek Sung-dong, who is not playing due to an injury, won the title of assist king this season with eight assists.
Daegu achieved a successful conclusion by beating Incheon 2-1 in the final match of this season at home and Lee Keun-ho’s “Goodbye.”
Edgar, a tall Brazilian striker, scored his eighth and ninth goals in succession to become the No. 1 contributor to Daegu’s victory. Daegu ranked sixth with 53 points. Incheon failed to advance to the ALC for the second consecutive year.
Edgar headed a cross that Hong Cheol sent from the side in the 40th minute of the first half. He ran straight to Lee Keun-ho and shared the joy. Veteran striker Lee Keun-ho, who scored a goal against Russia at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, will leave the game for the last time.
Edgar, who gained momentum, also shook Incheon’s net by finishing Hong Chul’s cross with a header in the 11th minute of the second half. Incheon scored a comeback goal with a surprise mid-range shot after Hernandez received Hong Si-hoo’s pass 18 minutes later, and sought to advance to ACLE or ACL2, but lacked one goal.