“I came back with only one goal: to win.”
In January of last year, Lee boarded a plane to Germany with a big dream. His destination was Schalke, a club in the German Bundesliga 2. However, he was injured shortly after arriving. When Schalke won promotion to the Bundesliga and Lee’s loan was extended, he didn’t get a chance to play. After his contract with Schalke was terminated, he was loaned to Bundesliga 2 side Rostock, but the situation didn’t change.
Lee opted to return to his hometown of Ulsan.
He needed time. He hadn’t played much in Germany and there were concerns about his match fitness. Head coach Hong Myung-bo started Lee Dong-kyung against Jeju United at home on Nov. 21, saying, “He’s improved a lot. We have Ataru in the same position, but we need to improve Lee Dong-kyung’s body, so we put him in the starting lineup.” Even though the team is on a two-game losing streak, he chose to start Lee Dong-kyung.
This was the second game after the return match against Incheon United on the 12th. It was his first start since returning to Ulsan.
Lee’s left foot was still sharp.
In the 29th minute, Lee Dong-kyung sent a free kick into the box, where Kim Min-hyuk slid it in with his left foot. Then, in the 34th minute, Lee opened the scoring with his own left foot. Following a corner kick by Lee Kyu-sung, he finished off a pass from Lee Myung-jae with a left-footed curling shot. It was the first K League goal in 607 days since November 21, 2021, against Jeju.
Ulsan also defeated Jeju 2-1 to maintain its 12-point lead over second-place Pohang Steelers.
Head coach Hong Myung-bo said, “We haven’t played for a long time, so we need to play and improve our form. “There’s a bit of pressure, but we’ve been monitoring Lee Dong-kyung’s performance, what we know about him, and checking his physicality,” he said. “He scored on a set play that we prepared, which will give us a big boost. It’s also a good goal for her to improve her condition.”
Lee Dong-kyung said, “Honestly, it was a tough game. I think it should be hard to play, but I think it can help the team. It’s my job to play my best,” she said, adding, “As the coach said, it’s important to start and find a flow. It’s up to the coach to choose, but you have to make sure you’re always in good shape.”
He also talked about set pieces. “The goal from the corner kick was a set piece that we had prepared in advance. However, they were worried because it didn’t go well in practice. 스포츠토토
Lee Dong-kyung said, “I think Min-hyuk did a good job scoring the goal. I thought he just looked at his teammate and put it up.” “The scoring situation was something we had prepared for since yesterday. It didn’t work out too well in training. The coach jokingly said, ‘You can’t do this anymore. I was wondering if I should do it today, but I’m glad it went in,” he emphasized.
Lee Dong-kyung is the so-called Ulsan holy grail, having played for Hyundai Heavy and Hyundai High. However, he was in Germany last year when Ulsan stood at the top of the K League after 17 years.
“It was a tough time in Germany, but I learned a lot. I came back with only one goal: to win the championship.” “I see the players putting in a lot of effort to defend their title. I think it’s because they’re in first place.