Preview: Ulsan Hyundai v Newcastle Jets
Venue: Ulsan Munsu Football StadiumKick-off: 8:30pm AEST (7:30pm local)
Ulsan Hyundai v Newcastle Jets Date: Wednesday May 19 Kick-off: 8:30pm AEST (7:30pm local) Venue: Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium TV coverage: Fox Sports 3 (Live)
Results so far:
Ulsan Hyundai: Ulsan Hyundai 1, Nagoya Grampus 3, Ulsan Munsu Stadium, March 10 Newcastle Jets 2, Ulsan Hyundai 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium, March 17 Ulsan Hyundai 1, Beijing Guoan 0, Ulsan Munsu Stadium, April 7 Beijing Guoan 0, Ulsan Hyundai 1, Beijing Workers Stadium, April 22 Nagoya Grampus 4, Ulsan Hyundai 1, Mizuho Athletic Stadium, May 6
Newcastle: Beijing Guoan 2 Newcastle Jets 0, Beijing Workers Stadium, March 10 Newcastle Jets 2, Ulsan Hyundai 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium, March 17 Nagoya Grampus 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Mizho Athletic Stadium, April 7 Newcastle Jets 0, Nagoya Grampus 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium, April 22 Newcastle Jets 2, Beijing Guoan 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium, May 6
Analysis: Sean Rooney's spectacular 94th minute strike against Beijing Guoan ignited Newcastle's quest to qualify for the Asian Champions League second round and a draw away to the Ulsan Tigers would be enough to get the 2008 Hyundai A-League champions into the final 16 of Asia's premier club competition.
With scores locked at 1-1 and the whistle poised at the referee's mouth, Ljubo Milecevic gave a clever pass to Rooney who unleashed a fantastic shot which sent the Jets fans into delirium.
It could prove a defining moment for a club which finished bottom of the A-League table in their championship defence and who many thought was not up to this competition. But you can never discount the spirit of this club and they are now in pole position to get through.
Two home wins, plus a valuable 1-1 draw away to Group E leader Nagoya Grampus, means the Jets need just a point in Korea to ensure a progress.
Influential playmaker Fabio Vignaroli returns but Dutchman Donny De Groot will miss with a hamstring strain. Sasho Petrovski, who scored two goals against the Tigers when they played at EnergyAustralia Stadium, will fill De Groot's shoes up front. Joel Wood has come into an extended squad but is unlikely to play.
Rooney will also miss, as he has stayed at home because of a family illness, while Kaz Patafta is a chance to come into the side. Milicevic is apparently over a groin injury,
Ulsan will be without goalkeeper Kim Young-Kwang and Yeom midfielder Ki-Hun, as well as captain Yoo Kyoung-Youl, who are all injured. Ulsan's only points in the group stage have come in two wins against Beijing.
The Tigers' ACL form has been underwhelming, but their K-League form has been even worse, having lost their last two matches 1-0 to sit 11th and they have only six goals in nine matches. Overall, they have lost their last four, including the 4-1 defeat by Nagoya and the FA Cup defeat by a second division side.
While they boast home advantage in this match, they have failed to make the most of their spectacular 45,000 capacity venue with just one point from four home matches in the K-League this year.
Perhaps Newcastle can use that and the friendly conditions (it is expected to be quite balmy 20 degrees at kick-off at this match) to give them some confidence and notch their own piece of history as just the second Australian club to make it into the second round of Asia's premier club competition.