Head coach Kim proud of Ulsan's fighting spirit
Saitama: Ulsan Hyundai moved a step closer to the quarter-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League on Wednesday thanks to their never-say-die attitude, claimed coach Kim Do-hoon after seeing his side take a 2-1 lead from the first leg against Urawa Red Diamonds at Saitama Stadium 2002.
The club from Korea Republic fought back from going a goal behind to take the win and, in the process, secure a pair of vital away goals ahead of the return meeting at Ulsan Minsu Stadium in seven days’ time.
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“We expected a tough game against Urawa but we fought to the end and that was the main reason for our victory,” said the former Korea Republic international striker.
“They were as aggressive as we thought they would be and I’m pleased with how we came from behind to win. But we need to remember we still have one more game and to make the most of this momentum.”
FULL-TIME! | @REDSOFFICIAL 🇯🇵 1-2 @ulsanFC 🇰🇷— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) June 19, 2019
🔵 It's the blue shirts of Ulsan who are celebrating in Saitama tonight! A priceless lead ahead of the 2nd Leg in Korea Republic.#URAvULS #ACL2019 pic.twitter.com/d3L5k6Fw3E
Urawa took the lead through Kenyu Sugimoto eight minutes before half time but were quickly pegged back when Joo Min-kyu scored just five minutes later to ensure the teams went into the interval level.
Kim admitted that a tactical switch in the second half – when he introduced Hwang Il-soo, who scored Ulsan’s late winner, and Junior Negao – was crucial to his team’s fightback.
“I did change tactics for the second half,” he said. “I told the two substitutes I have confidence in them and they proved me right. I’m proud of them for the way they did their jobs.
“I can’t go into details of our tactics since we still have another game but I think my players showed what they are capable of. They did well to produce the result we had.”
Urawa coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki was leading his team in the AFC Champions League for the first time after taking over at the helm of the team from Oswaldo Oliveira and he conceded his team face an uphill task to turn the tie around when they travel to Ulsan next week.
“It was nice that we scored and we had some moments but if you look at the game as a whole, over the course of 90 minutes, our work is cut out for us,” he said. “We must do better in the second leg."
“They have pace and they have height so we tried to take away their strengths. And we didn’t want to concede being at home. I thought we could have done a better job defending.
“Our supporters cheered for us even though we lost us and we need to remember that for the second leg. We can’t take our fans for granted and have to repay them by winning the next game.”
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