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Last gasp AFC Champions League comeback showed our desire, says Ulsan Hyundai boss Kim

Doha: Ulsan Hyundai’s dramatic injury time 2020 AFC Champions League win over Perth Glory illustrated the squad’s fierce desire to win, according to head coach Kim Do-hoon.

The K League heavyweights found themselves on the brink of defeat when Daniel Stynes put the Australians ahead in the final 20 minutes, but goals from substitutes Kim In-sung and Junior Negrao, scored in the 89th and third minute of added time respectively, made it back to back wins in Doha.

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A heavily rotated Ulsan side weren’t at their best for much of the match. They were repelled by a youthful Perth defence, and managed just four shots on target from 20 attempts, but Kim said his side would take the positives from emerging with three points.

“The good thing is that we got the result that we wanted, and the players showed their desire to win the game today, which was a great positive for our team,” said the former Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma star.

“I’d like to thank my players. They played until the end and left everything on the pitch, and they must be applauded. The same goes for Perth Glory, who also gave everything."

Group F - MD3: Perth Glory 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai FC

A veteran of a FIFA World Cup, an AFC Asian Cup and an Olympic Games as a player, Kim is an old hand when it comes to tournament football, and the 50-year-old is eager to manage both the physical and mental aspects of Ulsan’s passage through the competition in Qatar.

He attempted to alleviate the physical strain on some of his big name players by starting them on the bench against Perth, and while it took the intervention of two of his regular starters to ultimately claim the points, Kim believes winning, particularly with a reshuffled line-up, can only augur well for Ulsan.

“I think the atmosphere in the team is the most important thing in this type of tournament,” he declared.

“We have games every three days, so the players will be tired, and we have to think about our squad rotation. The players themselves have to make their own atmosphere, that’s why I keep telling the players that we have to keep their good atmosphere and hope that we can take the confidence from winning.

“We also gave the chance to players who didn’t get the chance to play in the league, and they performed well tonight, which was a positive and something that will give great motivation to those players as well. I’m quite satisfied with the players who had the chance today.”

While Ulsan breathed a sigh of relief, Perth were left to ponder what might have been after what had looked like their first ever AFC Champions League win evaporated in the blink of an eye.

Featuring several players who lack experience in senior football, let alone the AFC Champions League, Glory fought manfully but switched off when it mattered most to fall to their third successive single goal defeat in the competition.

Despite their latest loss, Perth coach Cristian Ola praised his side’s effort.

“I think we played a very good game. We stepped up in a number of areas from the first game, and the result is a bit cruel and sad by the end of it,” he lamented.

“In principle, I think the discipline and structure that we maintained will build up the force and power of our team, regardless of the age of our players who showed that we can stand together and stand tall.”

Coming in for special praise was the goal scorer Stynes, a Perth academy product who has yet to feature for the club in Australia’s A-League and was on his way to becoming Player of the Match before his side’s late collapse.

Ola said Stynes is emblematic of a promising young brigade at the club.

“Daniel is one of the players developed in the Perth Glory academy, and that shows the good work and the quality work that has been done by the coaches in the development programme there,” he declared.

“It shows that we can develop quality players, and that some of them are quite ready to step up to top level football. We have a number of young players and we’re very happy with the way the academy develops these youngsters, who hopefully will be the future of Perth Glory.”

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