The momentum of Ulsan Hyundai’s ‘Hongmyeong Protection’ is skyrocketing after breaking the ‘one remaining jinx’.
Now, the focus is on whether they will have one of the greatest seasons in the history of the K League. Not only are they aiming for their second consecutive league title and fourth star, but also the most points in a season.
Ulsan, led by head coach Hong Myung-bo, is coming off a 3-2 win over Suwon Samsung on Nov. 21 in the 14th round of the K League One. Since Hong’s arrival two years ago, Ulsan has broken the “Jeonbuk jinx” and “Pohang jinx” that have hindered them at every hurdle. It paid off last year when they lifted the trophy for the first time in 17 years.
This season, they even shook off the ‘Suwon away jinx’. Previously, under Hong, Ulsan had failed to score a goal in three matches against Suwon, leaving the team with a 1-1 draw and two losses. The team was also in crisis several times after the Suwon game.
However, Ulsan, who have been ‘invincible’ since the start of the season, managed to come out victorious despite the strong motivation of Suwon, who are back under new head coach Kim Byung-soo. At 1-1, veteran defender Kim Young-kwon’s poignant mid-range strike and Martin Adam’s penalty kick winner at 2-2 were the highlights.
It was Ulsan’s second six-game winning streak of the season, following a six-game winning streak since the start. With 12 wins, one draw, and one loss, Ulsan has 37 points and is in a “super fast lead race. There is a whopping 13-point gap between them and second-place FC Seoul, Jeju United, and Pohang Steelers (24+).
The most points in a season since 2014, when the 12-team, 38-round system was implemented, is 86 points (26 wins, 8 draws, and 4 losses) by Jeonbuk Hyundai in 2018. With Ulsan’s current momentum, it’s not out of the question for them to reach the 90-point mark. Before that happens, it will be interesting to see if they can reach the 50-point plateau by the 19th round, the return point. 메이저놀이터
So far, the highest number of points at the halfway point of the 38-round system is 47 (15 W, 2 D, 2 L) for Jeonbuk in 2018. The second highest is Ulsan’s 43 points (13 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses) in 2019. For reference, Ulsan’s 40 points (12W4D3L) was the highest at the turnaround point last year.
Each team has five games left to reach the milestone this season. For Ulsan to surpass Jeonbuk’s record from five years ago, they’ll need to secure at least 10 points. They need at least three wins and a draw. Four wins and a draw would give them 50 points. That’s an impressive feat, as it’s mathematically possible to reach 100 points in a season.
Many experts believe that Ulsan’s current momentum is enough to challenge the record.
The biggest challenge is the two-game series in May. Ulsan will host Daejeon Hana Citizens on May 28 at home. Daejeon is the only team to hand Ulsan a loss this season. On May 16, Ulsan lost 1-2 away from home to Daejeon. The team then travels to rival Jeonbuk on May 28.