The K-League’s top two teams bounced back from dropping points last week with emphatic wins this weekend.
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Jeonbuk and Ulsan needed some time to get going but poured in goals in big away results.
FC Seoul 1-4 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
It took a while to get going in Seoul, where the leaders’ 44th minute opener was equalized before halftime by Chu-young Park with a little help from VAR (Yes, that Chu-young Park).
Dong-gook Lee scored twice in a big second half, as the leaders pulled away with a 3-goal second half. Kyo-won Han had a goal and two assists in the win.
Pohang Steelers 0-4 Ulsan Hyundai
Red-hot Junior Negao had a goal and an assist and Chung-yong Lee scored twice as Ulsan kept paces with leaders Jeonbuk and third-place Gangwon.
Negao has six goals and two assists in five matches to start the K-League season.
Incheon United 1-2 Gangwon
Busan 1-1 Sangju Sangmuu
Seongnam 1-2 Daegu
Suwon Samsung Bluewings 0-1 Gwangju
Just three points separate first and seventh after another unpredictable week in South Korean soccer.
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An early red card helped send Jeonbuk from the ranks of the unbeaten, but the leaders kept their spot atop the table when Gwangju frustrated Ulsan.
Gangwon 1-0 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
A last-man back foul on Jeong-ho Hong in the 15th-minute put the visitors in a bad place, and Gangwon got all it needed to move into fifth when Mu-yeol Ko nabbed a goal in the 37th.
The goal was set-up by a nice cut and cross from Keyong-jung Kim, who sent Ko a terrific invitation for the match’s lone marker (2:17 of the video below).
Gwangju 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai
This, however, was the surprise result of the weekend.
The hosts entered with three losses to open the season and Ulsan would’ve known a table lead was within its grasp if it could collect all three points.
Ulsan dominated the match with 76 percent possession and a 20-9 advantage in shots, but was behind after a dozen minutes on Wong-sang Eom’s opener. Eom was calm when his clever pass to Felipe Silva ended up back on his path.
A dangerous cross that took a tricky turn for an own goal turned out to be Ulsan’s only route onto the scoreboard, and the 1-1 draw keeps them a point back of Jeonbuk.
Daegu 1-1 Sangju Sangmu
Busan 0-0 Suwon Samsung Bluewings
FC Seoul 0-1 Seongnam
Incheon United 1-4 Pohang Steelers
The third week of the K-League is in the books and only one team remain perfect, as reigning champions Jeonbuk made it three wins from three to start the 2020 season.
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Below we take a look at the action with video highlights as South Korea’s top-flight continues to see plenty of tight games play out.
Jeonbuk are the early frontrunners, as expected, but Ulsan are unbeaten and both Seoul and Sangju Sangmu have won two of their first three games.
Jeonbuk Motors 2-0 Daegu
The reigning champs have started the season in fine form as Jeonbuk took control of the game in the second half. Murilo scored a fine individual goal just after half time to put them ahead, then Cho Kyu-Sung sealed the victory as Daegu were dominated. Both teams had a player sent off for lunging tackles late on as Kim Seon-Min was sent off for Daegu and goalscorer Kyu-Sung saw red for Jeonbuk. Jose Morais’ team were good value for their win and should have won by a bigger scoreline.
Pohang Steelers 1-2 Seoul
Seoul fought back from a horrendous early defensive mistake to beat Pohang away from home. An almighty mix-up between Seoul’s Kim Nam-Chum and goalkeeper Yu Sang-Hun allowed Stanislav Iljutcenko to tap home into an empty net but Seoul equalized before half time. Hwang Hyun-Soo headed home superbly at the back post after a host of chances for both sides. An end-to-end second half followed as Seoul grabbed the win from another superb header from a corner. Spanish defender Osmar glanced home into the top corner to secure a big win for the capital club.
Ulsan 1-1 Busan IPark – Ulsan’s Junior Negao equalized late on to stay unbeaten.
Gangwon FC 1-1 Seaongnam – Tight encounter between two teams who have had solid starts to the season.
Suwon Bluewings 1-0 Incheon United – First win of the season for Suwon thanks to a second half penalty kick.
Sangju Sangmu 1-0 Gwangju – An early goal was enough for Sangju, as Gwangju have lost their opening three games.
Only a pair of clubs remain perfect through two weeks of the K-League season, and both waited to the death to snare all three points away from home.
[ MORE: How USMNT players, alums fared in returns ]
Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors got the job done in Round 2 matches in South Korea this weekend to share the table lead in this nascent season.
Busan IPark 1-2 Jeonbuk
The reigning-champs are the K-League’s joint-winningest club but got a stiff challenge from newly-promoted Busan on Saturday.
An early goal from Jeong-ho Hong was knocked back by Busan second-half sub Romulo’s 66th-minute penalty for the hosts.
The hero was Dutch-born South African international Lars Veldwijk on his league debut. The ex-Nottingham Forest and Sparta Rotterdam striker bodied up his defender to take a back-post cross and cut home in stoppage time, completing a 32-minute cameo with a match-winning goal.
Suwon Samsung 2-3 Ulsan Hyundai
Well-traveled Brazilian striker Junior Negrao has found a home in South Korea. He was at it again in a Sunday morning thriller, completing a huge comeback when he put a free kick winner under the wall.
The 33-year-old scored his third and fourth goals of the young season in a comeback win, giving him 53 goals in 87 career appearances with Ulsan.
Suwon had scored just before halftime and then right out of the break to take a surprise lead, having finished eighth last season. But Negrao got his first and In-sung Kim tied the score to set the stage for Negrao’s 89th-minute winner.
Daegu 1-1 Pohang Steelers
Sangju Sangmu 2-0 Gangwon FC
Seongnam FC 0-0 Incheon United
Seoul 1-0 Gwangju
The opening weekend of the 2020 K-League season has produced plenty of intrigue around the globe as top-flight action has returned to South Korea, albeit in empty stadiums.
[ MORE: Latest K-League news ]
Asia’s top domestic league kicked off with a 1-0 win for reigning champions Jeonbuk Motors against Suwon Bluewings on Friday and on Saturday three more games took place in the 12-team league.
Ulsan are the league leaders after they thumped Sangju 4-0 thanks to a first half double from Junior Negrao and a goal each from Lee Sang-Heon and Yeon Bit-Garam in the second half. Negrao’s first was a tidy finish, the second a penalty kick and he set up the third amid fireworks being let off at the intervals and after goals were scored, including a beauty from Yeon Bit-Garam for the fourth. Ulsan, who finished second to Jeonbuk last season only on goal difference, secured their first win of the season in style.
Elsewhere, Seongnam won 2-0 at Gwangju thanks to two goals in the opening 11 minutes from Yang Dong-Hyen. The striker headed home superbly for his first and after Seongnam goalkeeper Kim Young-Kwang made a key save, less than 45 seconds later Yang Dong-Hyen turned neatly in the box then fired home his second of the game. Gwangju had plenty of chances as they hit the crossbar in the first half but Seongnam goalkeeper Kim Young-Kwang had a fine game to seal the shutout win.
Talking of shutouts, Incheon United and Daegu played out a 0-0 draw in Saturday’s other game. Daegu had plenty of chances but Incheon goalkeeper Jeong San played his role to secure a point for the home side.
Below you will find video highlights of those three games, while on Sunday there are two more K-League games as the Pohang Steelers host Busan and Seoul travel to Gangwon. We will keep you up to date with the latest news from the K-League right here on ProSoccerTalk.
Ulsan 4-0 Sangju
Gwangju 0-2 Seongnam
Incheon 0-0 Daegu