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Ulsan football head coach resigns after runner-up finish

Ulsan football head coach resigns after runner-up finish

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Published : 2013-12-04 16:45
Updated : 2013-12-04 16:45

Kim Ho-gon resigned as head coach of Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday, three days after his K League Classic football club finished in second place in the nation's top-tier league.

Kim told reporters in Seoul that he will leave the post after five seasons to hold himself accountable for Ulsan's close call this past season.

His contract expired at the end of the season and Kim, 62, decided not to negotiate an extension.

Ulsan had been in first place for most of November but lost to Pohang Steelers 1-0 on a last-second goal in the season finale last Sunday to let the championship slip out of their hands. Thanks to the thrilling victory, Pohang captured the title with 74 points, one ahead of Ulsan.

Ulsan could have clinched the championship with a win in their penultimate match of the season against the sixth-ranked Busan IPark, but blew a 1-0 lead in that game to lose 2-1.

Against Pohang, a draw would have given Ulsan their first title since 2005, but Pohang's defensive back Kim Won-il scored after a mad scramble near the Ulsan net moments before the whistle, for one of the most spectacular finishes in the league's 30-year history.

 "I am taking the responsibility for failing to win the championship," Kim said. "I'd been feeling a great deal of pressure ever since the end of the season, and I decided yesterday to quit."

According to league sources, Kim had come under pressure from Ulsan's management to step down after the team's loss last weekend.

They added that Kim hadn't informed the team of his decision to quit prior to addressing the media.

With Kim at the helm, Ulsan won the 2012 AFC Champions League, the top annual club competition in Asia. He was named the AFC Coach of the Year last year. (Yonhap News)

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