Ulsan Hyundai vs Yokohama F. Marinos

Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium forms the backdrop for the first leg of a mouth-watering AFC Champions League semi-final tie between Ulsan Hyundai and Yokohama F. Marinos.

Ulsan squeaked into the Champions League group stages as Group I runners-up behind Yokohama’s domestic rivals Kawasaki, edging out third-placed Johor by a single point. However, they’ve gone from strength to strength in the knockouts, thrashing Japanese outfit Kofu 5-1 on aggregate before a tight 2-1 aggregate triumph against domestic foes Jeonbuk in the quarter-finals (1-1 H, 1-0 A). Hong Myung-bo’s men have timed their return to form to perfection in the build-up to this tie, going from three consecutive matches without winning (D1, L2) to back-to-back victories by 3+ goals ‘to nil.’ No strangers to conquering the continent, the Tigers have won two Champions League titles, most recently in 2020.

Meanwhile, Yokohama’s Champions League group stage was a nail-biting experience as they finished atop Group G, courtesy of a superior H2H record to Shandong and Incheon, who were level on points with the seven-time J1 League champions. Harry Kewell’s side squeezed past Bangkok United in the opening knockout round, claiming a 3-2 aggregate win, thanks to a nerve-shredding extra-time triumph in the away leg. Winning both quarter-final legs against Shandong via a single-goal margin was enough to catapult the Marinos into their first-ever Champions League semi-finals. The visitors will take the field in high spirits after stitching together a four-game unbeaten run (W2, D2), netting precisely two goals in their last three outings.

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