The 2023 season professional football K League 1 burns hot from the start with the collision of the ‘Hyundai Family’.
Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai, the two major mountains of the K-League, compete for the league championship for five consecutive years. From the first match, they risk their pride and fight. The two teams will clash in the official opening game of the Hana One Q K League 1 2023 held at Ulsan Munsu Stadium on the 25th at 2:00 pm.
Ulsan stopped Jeonbuk from attempting to win 5 consecutive K-League 1 titles last year and regained the league championship in 17 years. Jeonbuk put the disappointment behind and embraced the Korea Football Association (FA) Cup. Coincidentally, ‘Hyundai Rivals’ will face each other in the first official match of the K-League this year, which marked the 40th anniversary of its launch as K-League champions and FA Cup champions.
Soccer fans are also paying attention to the ‘Hyundai Derby’. The Ulsan club started pre-booking tickets for the opening game at noon on the 22nd. However, within 4 hours, tickets for all seats on the 1st and 2nd floors of Ulsan Munsu Stadium were sold out. The total number of seats in the stadium is 37,879, and 33,000 seats are known, excluding private seats (some areas where the view is blocked by fences, etc.). According to Ulsan officials, a total of 24,798 seats were sold by 2 pm on the 23rd, two days before the game.
On October 24 last year, Ulsan attracted 23,817 people, the largest number of spectators in the 2022 season, in the final match of the season against Jeju United and the’winner’s coronation ceremony’. It was the largest crowd since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The opening game of the new season celebrates watching the “Mask Free” K-League for the first time in three years. Soccer fans are responding with a reservation rate that exceeded the highest number of spectators last season two days before the game. An official from Ulsan said, “This is the first time that the first and second floors have been sold out on the first day of the opening of advance tickets since the era of the Corona 19 pandemic. It is expected that there will be a significant number of people who purchase seats on the 3rd floor on the day of the match.”
The Ulsan club announced its policy on sanctions against expeditionary cheering outside the expedition seat due to the high reservation rate on social media on the day the ticket reservation started. Ulsan said, “According to the rules of the tournament, more than 5% of all seats are open to away fans, and seat reservations for home fans continue, so no additional away seats are provided.” In accordance with Article 41 of the Tournament Guidelines, spectators may be subject to measures such as entry restrictions or forced expulsion.
Then, in the comment section, some of the supporters of both teams engaged in a war of nerves. One Ulsan fan said, ‘There was a Jeonbuk fan in the chicken zone at the Hyundai Gatherby on October 8 last year. We couldn’t stop it,’ he said, hoping for thorough surveillance. On the other hand, some fans who support Jeonbuk protested, saying, ‘Are you going to kick out an away fan for sitting in the home stands?’, ‘Are all the people coming to the home stadium Ulsan fans?
In addition to the symbolism of the opening game, there are many interesting points to watch as the ‘best vs. best’ confronts. First of all, Lee Dong-jun, who played as a member of Ulsan Hongmyeong-bo in 2021 and 2022, and Japanese midfielder Amano Jun, change their uniforms to Jeonbuk this year and look for the Ulsan bee from the first game. Just being part of a rival team and going up against his old teammates is a hot topic. Against this, there is interest in how Ulsan will control the two, who will play the key role in Jeonbuk’s attack.스포츠토토
Also, at the forefront, Joo Min-gyu, who scored the most goals in the league for the past two consecutive seasons, will return to his former team Ulsan. His rival is Cho Kyu-seong, who emerged as a star by scoring two goals in the Qatar World Cup last year. He announced that he would stay in Jeonbuk while trying to advance to Europe this winter. In the summer transfer market, he is aiming for Europe again, and it remains to be seen whether he will prove his worth from the first game. In addition, the core of the defensive line of both teams and the ‘captain’ Jeong Seung-hyeon (Ulsan) and Hong Jeong-ho (Jeonbuk)’s pride battle is also worth watching.