The ‘goalie rebellion’ has begun… Gangwon wins against Ulsan

After languishing at the bottom of the table, Gangwon FC pulled off an upset by defeating league leaders Ulsan Hyundai.

Gangwon defeated Ulsan 2-0 at home in the 26th round of the Hana One Q K League 1 2023 at Gangneung Sports Complex at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 12. With the win, Gangwon ended a 15-match winless streak with three wins, 11 draws and 12 losses (20 points) and jumped one spot to 11th place. It was their first win over Ulsan in 11 years.


The home team lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Gabriel started up top, while Wellington, Lee Seung-won, and Kim Dae-won formed the second line. The defensive midfielders were Min-Seok-woo and Kim Hae-young, the back four was Ryu Kwang-hyun, Kim Young-bin, Kang Too-ji, and Kang Ji-hoon, and Lee Kwang-yeon was in goal.

The away team, Ulsan, came out with a 4-4-2. All 11 players were homegrown, with Kim Ji-hyun and Lee Min-gyu in the front line, Cho Hyun-taek, Kim Min-hyuk, Lee Kyu-sung, and Kang Yoon-gu at the back, Lee Myung-jae, Kim Young-kwon, Kim Ki-hee, and Kim Tae-hwan in the midfield, and Cho Hyun-woo in goal.

Despite being outplayed in terms of possession, Gangwon managed to record 11 shots on goal in the first half alone. It started with a sharp shot from Gabriel in the 17th minute, followed by a header from Gabriel that hit the top of the goalpost in the 20th minute after Kim Dae-won sent in a cross from the right flank. Gabriel had two shots on goal in the 22nd and 34th minutes, but they were saved by goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo.

37th minute. Kangwon finally took the lead. They quickly transitioned from corner kick defense to counterattack, and Gabriel’s sensational heel kick pass down the right side was calmly finished by Shin Min-woo.

After taking a hit, Ulsan started the second half with Lee Chung-yong and Seol Young-woo as substitutes and went on the offensive. Lee Myung-jae scored in the first minute of the second half and Bako scored in the 12th minute. In the 17th minute of the second half, Lee Cheong-yong rattled Kangwon’s net, but the goal was canceled out due to an offside foul by Lee In-gyu in the process of scoring earlier.

Kangwon maintained its tactical concept in the second half with a counterattack. They had a decisive chance in the 31st minute. After Gabriel’s header from a free kick was saved by goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, Lee Ji-sol pushed it in with his head but was ruled offside.

Kangwon, who formed a solid defensive block to keep Ulsan’s offense at bay, frustrated Ulsan, who had a long way to go. In the second half of stoppage time, Yago won a penalty kick on Kim Ki-hee in the box. Yago stepped up to take the penalty kick and although his shot was saved by Cho Hyun-woo, he slotted home the second ball to seal the win.

Monumental win under Yoon Jeong-hwan

Gangwon staged a minor rebellion last season, finishing sixth, the highest finish in the club’s history, but have slipped into the relegation zone this season, their worst run under Choi Yong-soo. Gangwon tried to turn things around by making an unconventional move: changing coaches.

On June 15, Yoon Jung-hwan took over the reins, but the team struggled to find victory. Suddenly, they were overtaken by last-place Suwon in the 24th round, and fears of direct relegation began to mount.

In Round 26 against Ulsan, everyone was predicting a defeat for Kangwon. Not only because of the power differential, but also because of an 11-year winless jinx (4 draws and 21 losses) against Ulsan since May 2012. However, against all odds, they managed to catch Ulsan with a solid defensive organization and quick counter-attacks.It was a moment when the tactics pursued by coach Yoon Jeong-hwan finally bore fruit.

Above all, the three points are significant for Gangwon. It was the first victory under Yoon Jeong-hwan, who was unable to lay the foundation for a turnaround, and the first win for the fans in 105 days since April 29 against Jeonbuk.온라인바카

In the same day’s match, Suwon (19 points) drew with Jeonbuk and dropped to the bottom of the table, while Gangwon moved up to 11th place. A win against Ulsan would be a crucial turning point for Gangwon.

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