Ulsan, Daegu promise their best
Seoul: The coaches of Ulsan Hyundai FC and Daegu FC on Monday vowed all-out effort to finish the season on a high by clinching the Korea Football Association FA Cup title.
The two K League 1 clubs will go head-to-head in the two-legged final of the 2018 KFA FA Cup this week. The first leg will be played at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan on Wednesday, followed by the return leg at Daegu Stadium on Sunday.
Ulsan head coach Kim Do-hoon said his side are ready to defend the domestic cup crown. Ulsan claimed their first ever FA Cup title last year after edging out Busan IPark FC 2-1 on aggregate.
"We're happy to be in the final of this prestigious tournament," Kim said. "We will not miss this opportunity and will give our best to defend the title."
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The FA Cup champions receive not only honour and prize money but also a ticket to the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage.
Ulsan have secured a playoff spot at the 2019 AFC Champions League by finishing third in the K League 1 this season. However, with the FA Cup title, Ulsan could directly advance to the group stage without playing a playoff match. Daegu could make their first-ever AFC Champions League appearance.
The FA cup holders will be in Group F, along with Chinese Super League runners-up Guangzhou Evergrande, Australian A-League final series winners Melbourne Victory and a playoff winner.
Daegu, led by Brazilian boss Andre Luiz Alves Santos, commonly known as Andre, are in their first FA Cup final. If they claim the FA Cup title, it will be Daegu's first ever trophy in any competition since the club was founded in 2002.
"It's already a big honour for us to be in the final," Andre said. "Personally, it's also my first time being in the final as a coach. I have big expectations for this final stage."
Ulsan midfielder Han Seung-gyu, who had five goals and seven assists in his sophomore season in the K League 1, said the players are determined to defend the title.
"We've always got good results against Daegu, so we're confident of winning the title," he said. "I didn't play a good game in last year's FA Cup final, but this time, I want to score a goal and get an assist."
Daegu goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo, who was Korea Republic's No. 1 custodian at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, said his side are determined to make history for their fans and for themselves.
"We want to deliver an unforgettable memory to the fans with a victory," he said. "We've all worked hard to master the coach's tactics for this final. If the fans give us lots of support, we'll play a good game."
Source: Yonhap News Agency, Ulsan Hyundai FC, Daegu FC, AFP
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