Professional soccer K-League 1 Pohang Steelers and Jeonbuk Hyundai are aiming for their second consecutive win in the group stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) at home and Thailand, respectively. Given the disappointing results in the weekend league game, the key factor to watch is whether they can make up for it on the ACL stage.
Pohang will play the second game of Group J of the 2023-24 season ACL group stage against Wuhan Sanjeon (China) at Pohang Steel Yard at 7 p.m. on the 4th. Pohang is currently undefeated in 12 official games (6 wins, 6 draws). No losses for nearly 3 months.스포츠토토
But last weekend, I swallowed some disappointment. Pohang drew 0-0 in the home game against first-place Ulsan Hyundai on the 30th of last month. He dominated the field for the entire 90 minutes and recorded 12 shots, but ultimately failed to penetrate goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo. It was an opportunity to further narrow the gap with Ulsan before entering the final round, but they only shared one point each. As of the end of the 32nd round of the league, Pohang is in second place (15 wins, 13 draws, 4 losses, 58 points), and Ulsan is 8 points ahead in first place (20 wins, 6 draws, 6 losses, 66 points).
As disappointing as the result is the ruling that striker Wandelsson is out for the season. During the match, Wan Delson was struck in the chin by Lee Chung-yong and fell to the ground. As a result of the detailed diagnosis, it was determined that the temporomandibular joint was fractured, and the patient was out for 6 weeks. It’s like facing bad news ahead of the ACL schedule. What can be comforting is Wuhan’s recent performance. Wuhan is ranked 7th in the 2023 Chinese Super League. The atmosphere is not good due to the recent two consecutive losses in the league. The key is whether Pohang can continue its recent trend.
The game between Jeonbuk and Daegu was held at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on the 30th of last month. Woojae Jeong (second from the left) is attempting to dribble. Photo = Professional Football League
Meanwhile, Jeonbuk will play the second match of Group F against Bangkok United (Thailand) at Thammasat Stadium in Pathum, Thailand at 9 p.m. on the same day. Both teams won 2-1 in the first game of Group F and have the same number of points in the group stage.
Jeonbuk desperately needs a rebound. Since August, there have been severe fluctuations in performance, leading to a fierce battle for mid-level position. Their recent league performance is poor, with 1 win, 2 draws, and 2 losses. In particular, in the match against Daegu FC held on the 30th of last month, they lost 1-3, conceding a goal in 14 seconds. They have already fallen to 7th place in the league (13 wins, 7 draws, 12 losses, 46 points), and advancement to Final A is in jeopardy. This is the background that requires a reversal of atmosphere in the ACL during the week.
Jeonbuk’s opponent, Bangkok, got off to a good start with 4 wins and 1 draw in 5 games in the 2023-24 Thai Premier League. In the first match of ACL Group F, they got off to a good start with a 2-1 comeback win against Lion City FC. Since this game is held at home in Bangkok, fans are paying attention to what kind of performance Jeonbuk will show.
Meanwhile, the two teams are ‘prestigious’ teams that have won the ACL stage 5 times together (3 times in Pohang, 2 times in Jeonbuk). However, Pohang has not reached the finals since 2009 and Jeonbuk has not reached the finals since 2016. First of all, it is important to quickly accumulate points in the group stage to advance to the tournament.