FC Seoul, the acting head coach of professional soccer’s K League 1 following the resignation of Ahn Ik-soo, earned a valuable point against leaders Ulsan Hyundai.

Seoul drew 2-2 at home with Ulsan in the 28th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday.

Seoul parted ways with head coach Ahn Ik-soo, who announced his resignation at an official press conference after the 27th round match against Daegu FC on Nov. 19, and appointed Kim Jin-gyu as acting head coach for the first time.

Seoul was unable to break its six-match winless streak (four draws and two losses) and 18-match winless streak against Ulsan in the league (five draws and 13 losses), but a last-minute equalizer gave them a valuable point and a platform to rebound. Seoul, with 40 points, remained in fifth place.

Following their strong performance against Seoul, Ulsan (61 points) maintained their 11-point lead over second-placed Pohang Steelers (50 points) but narrowly missed out on their 20th league win of the season.

In the words of acting coach Kim Jin-gyu, who suddenly took over the reins and “embraced venom” in preparation for the match, Seoul came out firing from the start and struck within the opening nine minutes.

After Park Soo-il’s cross from the right flank, Ki Sung-yueng’s shot was deflected by the defense and Ilyuchenko exquisitely collected it before finishing with his right foot to give Seoul the lead.

It was the third goal of the season for Ilyuchenko, who hasn’t started since July 8 against Jeonbuk.

Ulsan countered in the 12th minute by bringing on Lee Chung-yong for U-22 international Hwang Jae-hwan.

In the 35th minute, Lee Dong-kyung’s right-footed shot from a Bacco pass went wide of the right post, and four minutes later, Kim Min-hyuk’s header from Seol Young-woo’s cross went high.

After missing a chance to add to their lead in the 42nd minute when Shin Hyun-hyeop’s header in front of goal was saved by Ulsan goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, Seoul started the second half by dropping Ilyuchenko, Shin Hyun-hyeop, and Kim Jin-ya and bringing on Na Sang-ho, Willian, and Han Seung-gyu to speed up the attack.

Ulsan responded with a change 12 minutes into the second half, replacing Rubiksson with Martin Adam to pair up with Lee In-gyu and bringing back Lee Chung-yong from the bench and sending off Lee Kyu-sung.

In the 19th minute of the second half, the game became even more intense as Inhabigyu equalized.

After Bako’s shot from the left side of the penalty area was blocked by Seoul goalkeeper Choi Chul-won, In-Joo slid the ball home, ending a goal drought that had lasted nearly two months since the 21st round against Pohang on July 8.

After regaining his taste for goals, Inhabigyu struck back in the 23rd minute of the second half.

After slamming home a ball from Seol Young-woo on the right side of the penalty area with his right foot, Inhabigyu reignited the race for the top scorer with his 13th goal of the league, tying him with Thiago (Daejeon).

Seoul made a game-changing move in the 33rd minute, withdrawing Ki Sung-yueng and introducing striker Ji Dong-won, who had made his first appearance of the season in the previous round.

Ulsan then dropped Bako and Lee Dong-kyung to set up a solid defense, but were unable to stop Willian in stoppage time. After beating four defenders on the left flank to get into the penalty area, Willian slotted home a right-footed shot to send the Seoul fans into a frenzy. 먹튀검증

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