Asia AFC Champions League

Jeonbuk-Ulsan Tie Finely Poised After 1st Leg Draw

Lee Myung-jae scored with just 13 minutes left on the clock, ensuring that Ulsan HD’s 2023/24 AFC Champions League quarter-final clash against fellow South Korean contenders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors remains finely poised. The two teams battled to a 1-1 draw at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on Tuesday, with Lee’s strike cancelling out Song Min-kyu’s early goal for Dan Petrescu’s side.

The tension was palpable in the first leg encounter, especially after Jeonbuk’s Brazilian striker Tiago Orobo squandered a penalty in the 25th minute.

Jeonbuk got off to a flying start when Lee Dong-jun connected with Lee Soo-bin’s swift pass from deep within his own half. Song gleefully tapped in from close range after receiving Lee’s inviting low cross. Moments later, Moon Seon-min’s attempt flew wide as Jeonbuk sought to build on their early lead.

Ulsan threatened from a corner in the 13th minute, but Joo Min-kyu’s shot was cleared. However, the visitors faced a scare when Lee Myung-jae fouled Lee Dong-jun in the box, conceding a penalty. Tiago’s powerful attempt grazed the crossbar, sparing goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo’s blushes.

Kim Jeong-hoon preserved Jeonbuk’s lead going into halftime with a crucial save from Um Won-sang’s effort. Ulsan came close to equalizing six minutes into the second half when Hwang Seok-ho’s header narrowly missed the target. Martin Adam, a substitute for Ulsan, added impetus to their attack, testing Kim Jeong-hoon with a shot from the edge of the area. Meanwhile, Park Jin-seob’s long-range effort forced a save from Jo Hyeon-woo.

Ulsan’s improved performance in the second half bore fruit with just 13 minutes remaining. A mistake from Jeon Tae-wook gifted possession to Lee Myung-jae, who expertly evaded a defender before firing into the top corner of the net.

Um Won-sang came close to giving Ulsan the lead late on, but his shot went wide across the face of the Jeonbuk goal. In the dying minutes, Lee Dong-gyeong’s effort was brilliantly saved by Kim Jeong-hoon as Hong Myung-bo’s side pushed for a winner.

The two sides will meet again at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium next Wednesday for the second leg.