Competitive Football returns to South Korea for the first time in 2017, with a playoff game for a place in the group stages of the AFC Champions League. It is between Ulsan Hyundai (K League Classic) and Kitchee SC (Hong Kong Premier League). The game kicks off at 7.30pm local time on Tuesday evening, with the winner progressing therefore extra time and penalties are possible. Here is our brief preview, head-to-head details and prediction for Ulsan Hyundai vs. Kitchee SC;
Ulsan Hyundai vs. Kitchee SC (Tuesday February 7th 2017)
Ulsan Hyundai gained a surprise place in the Champions League following current holders Jeonbuk Hyundai’s ban. They finished 4th in the K League Classic last season. They have won the AFC Champions League once before back in 2012. The issue coming into this game could be match fitness as they’ve only played a handful of friendly games in recent weeks and didn’t plan for a champions league run.
Key Player: Croatian forward Ivan Kovačec created 9 goals in the K League Classic last season and was a key feature for the entire season.
Kitchee SC finished 2nd during the 2015-16 Hong Kong season and therefore gained entry in the Playoff Rounds of the AFC Champions League. They’ve won the Hong Kong Title 4 out of the past 6 seasons. They beat Vietnamesse side Hà Nội FC in the previous round 3-2 after extra time, progressing to the final round of the playoffs for the first time. They are currently 2nd in the league after 12 games.
Key Player: Brazilian born Hong Kong International Sandro is their top goalscorer so far this season and their main attacking danger. Experience Goalkeeper Wang Zhenpeng will certainly feature as well.
These sides have never played each other before in a competitive match.
Ulsan Hyundai 3 – 1 Kitchee SC
Kitchee have one advantage that they should be match fit as the Hong Kong Season runs during the winter. However playing in maybe minus degrees weather could be an issue. It would be a big shock if Ulsan lost and they should have enough to progress easily.
Ulsan Hyundai vs. Kitchee SC – Result & More
Ulsan Hyundai 1 – 1 (4-3pens) Kitchee SC
Ulsan Hyundai looked off the pace for the entire 120mins and will count themselves lucky to have made it to the group stages. Kim Sung-Hwan scored for Ulsan in first half injury time, but Kitchee SC leveled in the 2nd minute of the second half, former Gyeongnam forward Kim Bong-Jin with the goal. Both sides had go chances in the 2nd half and during extra time but neither could score. Finally it came down to penalties, and Ulsan won.
For information on the all of our previous K League Round by Round Previews and More: CLICK HERE