Jeonbuk overcomes numerical disadvantage to beat Hong Kong Kitsch SC
Professional soccer’s K League 1 Jeonbuk Hyundai improved its chances of advancing to the round of 16 in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) with a hard-fought victory over Kitsch SC (Hong Kong).
Jeonbuk won their 2023-24 ACL Group F match against Kitchee 2-1 on Monday at Hong Kong Stadium in Hong Kong, despite having to play through a 10-man brawl after Jeong Tae-wook was sent off in the 45th minute.
With the win, Jeonbuk improved to 3-2-2 and 9 points in the group stage, trailing leaders Bangkok United (10 points) by one point after playing one game less. They remain in second place. Meanwhile, Kitchee, with one point, remained in last place.
Jeonbuk got off to a good start with a goal from Moon Sun-min just two minutes into the match. Lee Dong-joon’s cross from the right flank found Baek Seung-ho in front of the goal area. Baek Seung-ho cut the ball back to Park Jae-yong and then to Moon Seon-min, who rattled the net with a right-footed shot from the front of the goal area.
Jeonbuk was unable to capitalize on the opportunity in the 28th minute when Park Seung-ho hit a left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area, but it hit the post. Jeonbuk then created several more scoring chances, but their finishing was lacking.
However, Jeonbuk made it 2-0 in the 38th minute through Song Min-gyu. Song Min-gyu stole the ball from opposing defender Andy Russell and opened the scoring with a right-footed shot.
Jeonbuk struggled in the second half. They were outnumbered in the 45th minute when central defender Jung Tae-wook was sent off after receiving a red card. While taking a goal kick from the goalkeeper, Jung pushed down opposing striker Ruslan Mingazov, and the referee immediately showed the red card.
Jeonbuk, who battled with 10 men throughout the second half, nearly conceded an own goal in the 13th minute when a deflected ball hit center back Hong Jeong-ho and rolled into the goal, but goalkeeper Kim Jeong-hoon leapt to make the save.
After being outplayed throughout the second half, Jeonbuk pulled a goal back in the 34th minute through Kitsch’s Jakob Ancher. However, they did not concede any more goals in the remaining time and held on for the win. In stoppage time, Lee Jun-ho hit a right-footed shot that hit the post.
Pohang Steelers won 2-0 at home against Hanoi FC (Vietnam) in their fifth Group J match at Pohang Steelyard. The win extended Pohang’s (15 points) unbeaten streak to five games in the group stage after winning four straight matches to advance to the round of 16 early. Hanoi (P1), on the other hand, remained in last place.
Pohang took a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute when Lee Ho-jae calmly converted a penalty kick earned by Hong Yun-sang. Then, eight minutes into the second half, Ha Chang-rae headed home a left corner kick from Kim Jun-ho to drive a wedge into the match.