Professional soccer’s K League 1 Pohang Steelers swept aside defending champions Urawa Reds (Japan) to advance to the round of 16 in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL).Pohang won their 2023-2024 ACL Group J fourth-leg home match against Urawa Reds 2-1 in stoppage time after a 1-1 tie at Pohang Steelyard on Monday. In the other Group J match, Wuhan Shanzhen (China – 4 points) came from behind to defeat Hanoi FC (Vietnam – 3 points) 1-2.Urawa (P4), which has the same number of points as Wuhan, drew their head-to-head matchup with Wuhan but remained in second place on goal difference. With their fourth straight win, Pohang (12 points) extended their goal difference to eight points over second-place Urawa to clinch top spot in the group and punch their ticket to the Round of 16 regardless of the outcome of their remaining two matches .Pohang came up short in the 29th minute when Lee Ho-jae’s header sailed just wide of the left side of the Urawa goal and Kim Jun-ho’s follow-up mid-range grape sailed wide of the post. Urawa, who fought back strongly, struck first in the 36th minute.
Ekanit Panya picked up a ball that was played into Pohang’s left back area and passed it to the front of the penalty area, where Jose Kante caught the ball and slotted it into the right corner of Pohang’s goal with a left-footed shot. After finishing the first half 0-1, Pohang coach Kim Ki-dong took off Lee Ho-jae and Kim Jun-ho at the start of the second half and introduced Zeca and Lee Jong-woo to strengthen the attacking line .Pohang finally equalized on a penalty kick in the 21st minute of the second half, and it was Zeca who was the hero .In the 17th minute, Ko Young-joon’s cross from the left side of the penalty area deflected off Urawa defender Marius Hoivieten and into the net. The referee awarded Pohang a penalty kick after the video assistant referee (VAR) confirmed a handball foul by Hoivieten, and Zeca, who took the kick, scored the equalizer in the 21st minute of the second half to give Pohang the advantage in the second half when Urawa’s Takahiro Akimoto was shown a red card through VAR after a rough tackle on Ko Young-jun in the 25th minute.
Pohang came from behind in stoppage time with the scent of a draw in the air, as Kim Seung-dae’s right flank cross hit the keeper’s hands and Kim In-sung slotted home a theatrical goal with his left foot .In the fourth match of Group F at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, Jeonbuk Hyundai fell 0-2 to ‘underdogs’ Ryan City Sailors (Singapore).Jeonbuk remains in second place with Ryan City on six points, level on head-to-head record at 1-1, but ahead on goal difference. In the other match, leader Bangkok United FC (Thailand – 10 points) drew 1-1 with Kitsch SC (Hong Kong – 1 point).Jeonbuk is now four points behind Bangkok, but with two games remaining, there is still a realistic hope of a ‘come-from-behind’ victory .Jeonbuk unleashed a one-sided attack against a hunkered-down Ryan City side from the kickoff, but failed to capitalize on their chances.
After defending against Jeonbuk’s offense with a ‘payback’ tactic, Ryan City took the lead on a counterattack in the 23rd minute .A ball from the right flank of the midfield to the left side of the penalty area was played in by Shawal Anouar, who dropped the ball with a header, and the onrushing Richario Djivkovic scored with a right-footed non-stop shot from the front of the penalty area. Ryan City, who had just 22 percent of the ball in the first half, converted all three of their first-half shots on target, but Jeonbuk was outclassed in terms of finishing with just one shot on target in five attempts. After going into halftime 0-1, Jeonbuk wasted a golden opportunity in the first minute of the second half when Lee Dong-joon’s cross from the right side of the penalty area hit the left post of Ryan City’s goal. Jeonbuk’s hopes of raising their spirits were dashed when they conceded a second goal just 10 minutes into the second half. Coincidentally, it was the same combination that led to the first goal. On a counterattack, Ryan City made it a two-goal game when Zivkovic slotted home a ball from the front of the penalty area after Anouar had slipped it in. Jeonbuk had a chance to make amends in the 44th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick, but Gustavo’s 카지노 right-footed shot from the spot sailed over the crossbar.