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2 S. Korean clubs open AFC Champions League knockout campaign on road

All Headlines 08:00 June 18, 2019

SEOUL, June 18 (Yonhap) -- Two South Korean football teams will open their knockout campaign at the continent's top club tournament on the road on Wednesday.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai FC are the two K League 1 clubs left standing in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League. The two are also locked in a duel for first place in the top-flight domestic league. They both have 36 points and an identical record of 11 wins, three draws and two losses, although Jeonbuk are ahead in goal difference, 20-12.

In this file photo from May 12, 2019, Ulsan Hyundai FC's Kim In-sung (R) and Junior Negrao celebrate Kim's goal against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in a K League 1 match at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

In the AFC Champions League, Ulsan will open the two-legged round of 16 against Urawa Red Diamonds at Saitama Stadium 2002 in Saitama, Japan, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Jeonbuk's first leg against Shanghai SIPG will kick off at 8 p.m. Wednesday (local time) at Shanghai Stadium -- 9 p.m. Wednesday, Korean time.

The away goals rule is in effect, meaning that when teams are tied in goals scored after their home and away games, the side with the most goals scored away from home will be declared the winner.

Ulsan, who won Group H with three wins, two draws and a loss, are chasing their second AFC title, their only previous championship having come in 2012. Urawa finished second in Group G with three wins, one draw and two losses.

Urawa are only ninth among 18 clubs in the J1 League this season, but they have a strong history in the AFC Champions League, with titles won in 2007 and 2017.

Ulsan will have most of their top guns ready. But Jeonbuk are taking a banged-up roster into Shanghai against the 2018 Chinese Super League champions, as attacking midfielders Ricardo Lopes and Lee Seung-gi are both sidelined -- with pneumonia and a knee injury, respectively.

Forward Kim Shin-wook, second in the K League 1 with eight goals, will look to shoulder the scoring load, while veteran forward Lee Dong-gook, the AFC Champions League all-time scoring leader with 37 goals, will try to add to his record total.

Shanghai finished second in Group H with two wins, three draws and one loss. They're currently in third place in the Chinese Super League.

The second legs for both Ulsan and Jeonbuk will be on June 26.

In this file photo from May 26, 2019, provided by the K League, Kim Shin-wook of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors celebrates his goal against Gyeongnam FC in a K League 1 match at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, 240 kilometers south of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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