Ulsan Hyundai head coach Hong Myung-bo was pleased with the performance of Japanese midfielder Ataru, who changed the tone of the game.
Ulsan pulled off a thrilling 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Suwon FC in the 17th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at Suwon Sports Complex on Saturday.
After losing 0-2 in the ‘Hyundai Street Derby’ against Jeonbuk Hyundai in the 16th round of the league on the 3rd, Ulsan bounced back with a win in the next match.
On the day, Ulsan conceded an early goal in the 16th minute to Yoon Beom-Garam, seemingly unable to shake off the after-effects of their loss to Jeonbuk, but Martin Adam equalized in the 24th minute.
In the 43rd minute of the second half, Lee In-gyu, who is competing for the ‘K League Goalscorer’ title, scored the winning goal, and Bako scored a wedge goal in stoppage time to secure the three points.
With the win over Suwon, ‘0th favorite’ Ulsan consolidated its position at the top of the league with 41 points (13 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses).
Speaking at the post-match press conference, head coach Hong said, “It was a tough game. It was a big problem to overcome the defeat in the last game.” “Overall, the reaction was late and the atmosphere on the field was chaotic, so it was a difficult game,” he said.
“We conceded in the first half, but we decided to play our game in the second half,” he said. “As a result, we scored in the second half and felt that we were back on track. Thank you for trying your best until the end,” he said, thanking his players.
Hong praised Ataru, who came on as a substitute and changed the tone of the game. Down 0-1, Ulsan brought on Ataru in the 20th minute to liven things up.
Ataru made some good moves on the day and had two perfect scoring chances, one in the first half and one in the second half. In the first half, he had a goal called off for offside, and in the second half, he was denied by a goalkeeping save.
Luckily, he was able to record an assist in the 24th minute of the second half when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper and passed the ball to Matim Adam, who was on the sidelines.
“He’s had some injuries and acclimatization issues, but I thought he’d have a role to play (against Suwon), so I brought him up to Seoul in advance,” Hong said of Ataru.
“It would have been great if he had scored in today’s game, it would have given him a lot of confidence, but he played his best game today,” he said, adding that he was pleased with his performance.
Hong also expressed his frustration with the continued concessions. Ulsan has been in good form with four wins, one draw, and one loss in their last six games, but their defense has been lackluster, conceding goals in six straight games.
Hong said, “I think conceding goals is unavoidable. If we are unlucky and concede a goal, we have no choice but to score a goal as a result,” he said, adding, “We will soon have a (A-Match) break, so we need to take time to prepare.”
Ulsan will have an A-Match break for about two weeks after playing Jeju United in the 18th round of the league on Oct. 10.
“I personally don’t like to talk to the referee, but there was a bit of ambiguity (in the call), so I talked to him,” he explained, referring to the incident where he was warned for protesting the referee in the first half.안전놀이터
As for Park, who is retiring from active duty after this game, he said, “After (the game), I wanted to hear him say congratulations, so I said congratulations,” and added, “I don’t know what he’s going to do in the future, but I hope he does what he wants to do. He’s done a lot of hard work,” and wished him well for the future.