The Asian Champions League (ACL), renamed ‘Chu Chun Festival’. The first edition of the tournament ended with a pleasant victory, but it was not all smiles.
The Pohang Steelers, led by head coach Kim Ki-dong, defeated Hanoi FC 4-2 in the first leg of their ACL Group J away leg of the 2023-2024 season at Hangdeui Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam, on March 20.
On this day, Pohang showed off its full power. They outplayed Hanoi in terms of organization and individual skill. The result came in the 30th minute. Wandelsson’s cross into the box was met by foreign defender Damien Le Talek’s header, which went over the goalkeeper’s height and into the net.
After the lucky own goal, Pohang added another four minutes later. Yoon Min-ho, who was assisted by Zeca, rattled the net with a right-footed shot from the right side of the penalty box for his ACL debut. In the 39th minute, Kim In-sung, who was also assisted by Zeca, scored the game-winner. Kim added the team’s fourth goal four minutes into the second half. Zeca recorded an assist hat trick on the day.
However, with the score at 4-0, the Pohang players’ concentration dropped. They made many unnecessary backpasses, and in the process, the ball was intercepted and counterattacked. They conceded back-to-back goals to Diederic Tagueu in the eighth minute and 42nd minute of the second half.
After the game, Kim spoke at the press conference and said, “Away games are always difficult. I thought that if we scored early, we would be able to play more comfortably, but I didn’t think we would be able to take the lead. Fortunately, we were able to score early in the first half, score a lot of goals, and rotate for the next game. This was an advantageous situation,” he said.
Pohang also gave up a crucial scoring chance to their opponents early in the match. However, Park Chan-yong was able to save the opponent’s shot with his body and goalkeeper Hwang In-jae. “We gave up a lot of chances in the first half,” said Kim. In particular, we gave up two decisive chances. But those chances woke up the players. They became a little more solid. It gave us a chance to show Hanoi what we had in store for them.”
When asked about the slackening of play in the 4-0 lead, he said, “It happens in soccer. I tell the players that to be a strong team, you have to be in control in the first half, in the second half, and until the end of the game. Football is hard. Nevertheless, there are times when we are winning and we get lazy and concede goals. We keep communicating about that. Should I scold him (Kim In-sung)? (Laughs) We will prepare well to play without ups and downs to become a stronger team.”바카라
All four K League teams in the ACL have won. “Before the game, I told the players, ‘We have the Korean flag on the top of our jerseys, the emblem underneath, and we are representing the Korean professional team in the ACL, so this is an opportunity to showcase the status of Korean soccer. I want you to play with pride,'” he said. I feel good that the K League is showing a stronger side. I am happy and proud to be in this position as a K League coach.”