‘Hongmyeong Protection’ is faltering.
Ulsan Hyundai, the dominant team in the K League 1, recently suffered its first back-to-back losses in the regular season in two years and nine months. In December 2020, head coach Hong Myung-bo also tasted his first losing streak since taking over.
Ulsan Hyundai started the season with the most points in the league before losing both the 22nd and 23rd rounds. They were even swept by the bottom-ranked Suwon Samseong, leaving fans on edge.
“We need to reorganize,” said head coach Hong Myung-bo, explaining the reason for the losing streak. The team’s overall form hasn’t been the best, and the atmosphere hasn’t been the same.
“It’s not the players’ performance that’s the problem, but rather the fact that there are a lot of issues surrounding Ulsan as a whole, and the players are feeling tired,” Hong said. He was referring to the recent racism controversy involving some of his players. 토토사이트
In June, head coach Hong bowed out after Lee Myung-jae, Park Yong-woo, Jung Seung-hyun, and Lee Kyu-sung were accused of making racist comments on social media. The incident led to the first-ever “racism punishment committee” in Korean soccer, and the players were each suspended for one game and fined 15 million won. The club was also fined 30 million won.
To make matters worse, defensive midfielder Park Yong-woo, a starter for Ulsan Hyundai who made his national team debut through the Klinsmann program, left the team and moved to UAE powerhouse Al Ain.
After winning the championship last year for the first time in 17 years, attention is now focused on whether Ulsan Hyundai can win back-to-back league titles for the first time in the club’s history.