AFC Champions League Round of 16 Preview: Ulsan HD vs. Ventforet Kofu

Ulsan HD’s First Match of 2024: Press Conference and Match Preview for AFC Champions League Round of 16 Clash against Ventforet Kofu

Ulsan Hyundai FC is gearing up for their first match of the 2024 season as they prepare to face off against J2 League side Ventforet Kofu in the Round of 16 of the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League. Despite being seen as favorites to advance, Ulsan is not underestimating their opponents.

Having finished second in Group I with three wins, one draw, and two losses, Ulsan will be looking to showcase their strength against the surprising Group H winners, Ventforet Kofu. Kofu has impressed many with their three victories, two draws, and only one loss in their debut campaign.

Ahead of the match, Ulsan could see debuts from new faces like Kim Min-woo, Ko Seung-beom, Sim Sang-min, Hwang Seok-ho, Matheus Sales, and Kelvin. Coach Hong Myung-bo is looking to implement a quicker tempo in their gameplay, which will be tested against Ventforet Kofu and could be indicative of their performance in the upcoming K League season.

In a press conference leading up to the match, Coach Hong emphasized the importance of preparation despite players’ recent national team commitments. Kim Kee-hee, the newly appointed captain, echoed the sentiment by stating their readiness to showcase their preseason work.

The team acknowledges the challenges posed by Ventforet Kofu, especially with their revamped squad, and is focused on their own performance. As for the players returning from international duty, decisions will be made based on their fitness levels and overall condition.

The new players have been integrating well with the existing squad, with efforts being made to help them adjust and contribute to the team’s success. Speculations around Seol Young-woo’s potential departure were addressed by Coach Hong, emphasizing the player’s importance and expressing a desire to end things positively if a move were to happen.

Ulsan Hyundai FC will face Ventforet Kofu at the Ulsan Munsu Stadium on Thursday, February 15th, for the first leg of the Round of 16. The return leg is scheduled for Wednesday, February 21st. The expectations are high for Ulsan as they aim to make a strong start to their campaign in the AFC Champions League.

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