Ahead of their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) away match against Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia), defending K League 1 champions Ulsan Hyundai head coach Hong Myung-bo has called on his players to focus on the match as a watershed moment in their progression through the group stage. “I think this game is important for us to advance to the round of 16,” Hong said at a press conference in Malaysia on June 6. “We won against Johor at home, so I think our opponent will be well prepared. We will prepare well in the remaining time and achieve a good result .”Ulsan will take on Johor at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor, Malaysia on July 7 at 9 p.m. (KST) in the fourth match of Group I of the 2023-2024 ACL.
Ulsan has two wins and one loss in the group stage (6 points) and sits in second place in Group I behind Kawasaki Frontale (Japan – 3 wins, 9 points).Having clinched their second consecutive league title early with a 2-0 win over Daegu FC in the 35th round of the K League 1 on March 29, they can now focus their efforts on the ACL. Johor (3 points), who are currently third in the group, will be more confident as Ulsan defeated them 3-1 in the third leg at Munsu Football Stadium on April 24. “We have clinched the title in the K League 1, but we haven’t done the ceremony yet, so our players can focus on the ACL and take it seriously,” said Hong, emphasizing that they will continue to focus on the ACL.” It’s their home game, and Johor needs a win, so I think they’ll come out aggressive. There will definitely be difficult periods, but if we can handle them smartly, we can win.”
“In our last game, we won despite having one man sent off, and we played a good game. It’s important how we focus on the game rather than focusing on the number of players, whether it’s one or 11,” said Hong, adding, “Tomorrow, we will try to predict and prepare for our opponent in an equalized situation. “Ulsan also faced Johor in the ACL group stage last year and came away with bad memories of the city, where the group’s matches were pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ulsan suffered from “home field advantage,” being assigned a training ground with poor turf and not being able to train at the stadium where the games would be played, and were ultimately eliminated with two losses to Johor alone.
“We are fully aware of the atmosphere in the stadium and we are fortunate that the players have the experience to deal with it,” said Hong, adding that last year’s experience will offset many of the negative effects of the game. “I heard that the road to Johor was difficult and the atmosphere of the stadium and fans made it very difficult for us, but I think we overcame all of that with the win in the last game,” said striker Kim Ji-hyun, who was not with the team last year due to military service. “We are now in a position to focus on the ACL, so we are preparing accordingly. We’re facing Johor for the second time in a row, and we’re going to 슬롯 make sure we’re in the best shape possible.”