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Ulsan Hyundai FC show class in AFC Champions League win over Shanghai Shenhua FC

Doha: Yoon Bit-garam made a memorable return to the AFC Champions League, scoring twice to help Ulsan Hyundai to a convincing 3-1 win over Shanghai Shenhua at Education City Stadium on Saturday.

The midfielder celebrated his first appearance in the competition in eight years with a first-half brace, before Kim Kee-hee added a third as Kim Do-hoon’s side turned domestic disappointment into Doha delight two weeks after losing the Korean FA Cup Final.

Zhu Jianrong scored a late consolation goal for Shenhua, who drop to third in the Group F standings on three points, one behind joint leaders Ulsan and FC Tokyo.

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From the earliest exchanges, it was a match that was controlled by Ulsan, who kept the ball and created chances seemingly at will in a dominant opening 45 minutes.

Shanghai Shenhua had secured their first AFC Champions League win in over a decade three days earlier but, at the same venue as their 2-1 win over Perth Glory, they struggled to build a foundation in the match, and quickly found themselves trailing.

The breakthrough came in the 19th minute, when Yoon found himself in acres of space, then found back of the net, converting at the second time of asking after his initial effort was saved by Li Shuai, only for the ball to spill back into his path, with the 15-time Korean international making no mistake with his low finish.

The scoring chances continued to flow, and all at one end of the pitch, with K League Golden Boot winner Junior Negrao twice finding himself in goal scoring positions, only to misfire.

But the Brazilian still made an impressive contribution, and he played a part in Ulsan’s wonderful second goal, which included one-touch passes from Junior, Lee Sang-heo and Yoon, with the latter sending a magnificent first-time shot into the top corner of Li’s net from the edge of the penalty area in the 41st minute.

Shenhua boss Choi Kang-hee introduced Sun Shilin and midweek goal scorer Yu Hanchao at half-time, but the Chinese club could do little to stem the flow.

Strong goalkeeping from Li delayed Ulsan’s third, but there was nothing he could do to stop Kim’s inventively flicked 63rd-minute header, which looped beyond the shot-stopper’s reach after a wide set-piece delivery from Sin Jin-ho.

As good as Ulsan looked going forward, they were equally solid in defence, at least until the 87th minute, when Zhu hammered a home a free header with his side’s first shot on target of the match.

The 2019 Chinese FA Cup winners will be eager to turn the tide when they face FC Tokyo on Tuesday, the same day Ulsan Hyundai continue their campaign against Australia’s Perth Glory.

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