The K-League 1 round 8 is ready to come hot.
□ Match of Round – The season’s first East Coast Derby ‘Ulsan VS Pohang’
In the 8th round, the East Coast Derby, a rivalry between Ulsan and Pohang, which boasts the best history of the K-League, will be held.
In terms of the opponents of the two teams, Pohang is slightly ahead with 64 wins, 52 draws and 58 losses, and Pohang has the upper hand with 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in their four head-to-head matches last season.
Currently, both teams are in the top ranks, with Ulsan in 1st place (18 points) and Pohang in 2nd place (15 points), with a difference of only 3 points. Therefore, if Ulsan wins this game, they can run away with a gap with second place, and if Pohang wins, the points will be tied with Ulsan, so this confrontation has important meaning for both teams.
On the other hand, the home team, Ulsan, had won 6 straight wins after the opening, but lost 1-2 in the match against Daejeon in the 7th round, recording their first loss of the season. Although Ulsan lost the game that day, it outperformed Daejeon in both possession and number of shots, and showed the concentration of players who constantly hit the goal of Daejeon until right before the end of the game. In particular, Rubikson, a Swedish special player from Ulsan, scored goals in two consecutive games that day to become the top scorer (5 goals) in the K-League 1.
Pohang, the visiting team, recorded 4 wins and 3 draws this season and is currently the only team in the K-League 1 without a loss. Pohang gave the opening goal to Na Sang-ho in the 2nd minute of the first half against Seoul in the 7th round, but Kim In-sung scored his first goal of the season and drew 1-1. As a result, Pohang’s main transfer students this season, such as Jeka, Baek Sung-dong, and Kim In-seong, all tasted goals and completed the adjustment smoothly.
On the other hand, as Ulsan and Pohang are currently recording the lowest points conceded (6 goals) in the K-League 1, the solid defense lines of both teams are also expected to be a point of observation in this confrontation. The East Coast Derby between Ulsan and Pohang, which meets at the top, will be held on the 22nd (Sat) at 4:30 pm at Ulsan Munsu Soccer Stadium.
□ Team of Round – Promoted Team Gwangju
Gwangju returned to the K League 1 this season after winning the K League 2 championship last season. Gwangju continues the unique offensive soccer that was shown in K League 2 in K League 1, and is characterized by bold tactics that do not give up even against strong teams.
Currently, Gwangju is in 5th place (스포츠토토12 points) with 4 wins and 3 losses, and showed two games with more than 4 goals, including a 5-0 victory over Incheon in the 4th round and a 4-3 victory over Daegu in the 7th round. In addition to this, the first hat-trick in the K-League this season came from Asani’s toes, and a total of nine players, including Um Ji-seong, Lee Hee-kyun, and Min-ki Lee, scored goals and various players tasted the goal.
The core of Gwangju tactics is to adjust player positions to match the opponent’s formation and secure a numerical advantage. Based on this, after coping with the opponent’s pressure, they aim for empty spaces to create many scoring opportunities. As a result, Gwangju made a total of 87 shots in the preceding 7 games, recording the 3rd most shots among 12 K-League 1 teams.
Meanwhile, Gwangju will challenge Gangwon for a winning streak in this round. 11th place Gangwon (3 points) has no win this season with 3 draws and 4 losses, so it desperately needs a turnaround. The total record of both teams was 7 wins, 9 draws and 5 losses, with Gwangju narrowly ahead, and in the last 10 games, Gwangju had the upper hand with 3 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses. The match between Gwangju, which is seeking a streak, and Gangwon, which is seeking its first win, will be held on the 23rd (Sun) at 2pm at the Gwangju Soccer Stadium.
□ Player of Round – Ko Jae-hyeon (Daegu), who is about to play 100 professional games
Daegu Ko Jae-hyeon played in all matches up to the 7th round and scored 3 goals, becoming the highest scorer in the team. Ko Jae-hyun scored the most goals in the team last season with 13 goals, and he is continuing his good form this season.
Currently, Ko Jae-hyun’s expected goal (xG) is 2.45 points, ranking second among all K-League 1 players, and the number of shots also ranks second (15), making active movements in front of the goal in every game.
Koh Jae-hyeon had to swallow his regret as his team lost 3-4 even after scoring multiple goals in the match against Gwangju in the 7th round.
On the other hand, if Ko Jae-hyeon participates in this round, he will achieve 100 appearances in his personal career. Another point to watch in this match is whether Ko Jae-hyun will be able to fire the self-congratulation cannon in his own 100th game.
Meanwhile, Daegu’s opponent this round is Daejeon. 3rd place Daejeon (14 points) is a formidable opponent with the atmosphere at its peak after defeating leader Ulsan in the previous round. Daegu and Daejeon’s first match of the season will be held on the 22nd (Sat) at 4:30 pm at DGB Daegu Bank Park.