Spirited win secures Jets’ ticket into ACL knockout phase

The Newcastle Jets have defeated Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i 1-0 at Munsu World Cup Stadium this evening, and in the process the Hunter club has booked its passage through to the AFC Champions League 2009 round of 16.

The Newcastle Jets have defeated Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i 1-0 at Munsu World Cup Stadium this evening, and in the process the Hunter club has booked its passage through to the AFC Champions League 2009 round of 16.

Unsung hero Jason Hoffman scored the winner in what was a superb performance by the youngster. A born and bred Novocastrian, Hoffman did his hometown proud when he latched onto a pin-point Fabio Vignaroli cross in the 36th minute of the game.

The signs didn-t look good for the Jets early on when injury struck central defender Ljubo Milicevic and he was forced to be replaced with an adductor problem which flared up earlier in the week.

However, the Jets were full of verve in the opening exchanges, maintaining possession and creating the fluent passing game for which they have become renowned.

Early chances fell to midfielder Ben Kantarovski, club captain Matt Thompson, and striker Sasho Petrovski, but none were able to convert their opportunities.

That all changed when Vignaroli dazzled his defender out wide before whipping in a cross which was met with purpose by the head of Hoffman. The goal was to give the Jets a lead which they would cling to for the remainder of the game.

Ulsan-s target man, Kim Shinwook, caused Newcastle-s defence no end of trouble throughout the match, with the lanky marksman getting on the end of a number of glorious chances, particularly late in the match. He was unable to get any of his headers on target though in a frustrating night for the home side.

Young goalkeeper Ben Kennedy also played his part in the Jets- clean sheet, pulling off one memorable save in the 56th minute. A header from Brazilian striker Almir looked goalbound before Kennedy flung himself to his right and deflected the strike with his outstretched hand.

There was no denying that the Tigers dominated the second period, but for all of their dominance and pressure, they were kept scoreless by a desperate Jets defence.

The win has secured the Jets a place in the round of 16, something that only one other Hyundai A-League club has ever been able to achieve in Asia-s elite club competition. A date with another K-League outfit, Pohang Steelers, has now been set for June 24 in what will be a sudden-death match.

A delighted Gary van Egmond believed that the fantastic result this evening was due to the resolve and spirit within the squad.

“It was always going to be a difficult game for us playing away from home. The game started off quite quick, and we knew what to expect from Ulsan, that they are a very direct team. But we caught them on the counter-attack and we scored a goal that we felt that we could do.”

“Our discipline defensively was very good and the character within the football team was excellent.”

“It was not one of our best footballing displays, but for us to get the win I thought it was full of merit,” he said.

Match Details:

Ulsan Hyundai: 1. Kim YOUNGKWANG, 4. Lee DONGWON, 6. SLAVCHO, 7. ALMIR, 13. Hyun YONG MIN, 16. Oh JANGEUN (3 Kim YONGTAE 45-), 18. Lee WONJAE, 20 Lee SANGDON (8 Lee DONGKEUN 63-), 23 Kim DONGKYU, 24 Kim SHINWOOK, 36. Lim JONGEUN Unused substitutes: 2 Oh CHANGSIK, 14. You HOJUN, 19. Lee JINHO, 21 Kim SEUNG GYU, 25 Park JUN TAE

Yellow cards: Hyun Yong min 69-

Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 20. Ben KENNEDY (GK), 2. Tarek ELRICH, 3. Adam D'APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC (14. Angelo COSTANZO 9-), 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Sasho PETROVSKI, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (24. Kaz PATAFTA 80'), 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI (28. Brodie MOOY 45-)

Unused substitutes:, 15. Nikolas TSATTALIOS, 18. Peter HAYNES, 21. Joel WOOD, 30. Ben McNAMARA (GK)

Yellow cards: Jason Hoffman 37-, Ben Kennedy 50-, Ben Kantarovski 55-, Adam D-Apuzzo 60-

Red cards: Nil

Ulsan Hyundai: 0 Newcastle Jets: 1 (Hoffman 36-) Referee: Abdul Malik Bin Abdul Bashir