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K League's top contenders advance to semifinals at nat'l tournament

21:53 July 29, 2020

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- The two best clubs in South Korean football this season both advanced to the semifinals of the largest annual national tournament on Wednesday.

Ulsan Hyundai FC, currently in first place in the K League 1, defeated Gangwon FC 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the Korea Football Association Cup (FA Cup) at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 415 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

After a scoreless first half, Ulsan midfielder Yoon Bitgaram grabbed a brace, and fellow midfielder Lee Chung-yong added another.

Ulsan continued their impressive 2020 campaign with another convincing victory over Gangwon, whom they had defeated twice by a combined score of 4-0 during the league play.

Yoon Bitgaram of Ulsan Hyundai FC (R) takes a shot past Han Kook-young of Gangwon FC during their quarterfinals match at the Korea Football Association Cup at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 415 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on July 29, 2020. (Yonhap)

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, trailing Ulsan in second place in the K League, routed Busan IPark 5-1 at Busan Gudeok Stadium in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of the capital. Former Corinthians forward Gustavo, who joined Jeonbuk a week ago, scored a hat trick in a nine-minute span in the second half. He has four goals in two appearances for Jeonbuk.

Busan opened the scoring against Jeonbuk just four minutes into the match, thanks to Gustavo Vintecinco's header. But Jeonbuk then answered with five straight goals. Following goals by Cho Gue-sung and Han Kyo-won, Jeonbuk's Gustavo rounded out the scoring with three goals in the second half.

Gustavo of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (L) high-fives his teammate Son Jun-ho after completing a hat trick against Busan IPark during the teams' quarterfinals match at the Korea Football Association Cup at Busan Gudeok Stadium in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on July 29, 2020. (Yonhap)

Ulsan and Jeonbuk are on the opposite sides of the bracket and remain on a collision course to meet in the final.

Ulsan will face Pohang Steelers in the semifinals. Pohang knocked out FC Seoul 5-1 at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Stanislav Iljutcenko scored twice to lift Pohang to their first FA Cup semifinals in seven years. Song Min-kyu, Kim Kwang-suk and Shim Dong-woon netted other goals for the winning side.

Junior Negrao of Ulsan Hyundai FC (C) is challenged by Cho Ji-hun of Gangwon FC (L) during their quarterfinals match at the Korea Football Association Cup at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 415 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on July 29, 2020. (Yonhap)

Seongnam FC blanked Suwon Samsung Bluewings 1-0 at home in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, to set up a semifinals meeting with Jeonbuk. Tomislav Kis' goal in the 73rd minute stood as the winner for Seongnam in the tight contest.

The FA Cup champions will earn a spot in the following season's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.

The semifinals will be played on Oct. 28.

Han Kyo-won of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (R) and Kim Byung-oh of Busan IPark battles for the ball during their quarterfinals match at the Korea Football Association Cup at Busan Gudeok Stadium in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on July 29, 2020. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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