No ‘meaningless game’ for Pohang, Hanoi…Nae Chin Kim wins 6th straight ACL GO

The Pohang Steelers had a fruitful 2023 season. They missed out on the K League 1 title, but finished second and won the FA Cup. In the process, they secured an early ticket to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Elite (ACLE) for the 2024-2025 season, which is reserved for only the best clubs in Asia.
Pohang’s run continued in the ACL group stage of the 2023-2024 season. They swept their first four matches in Group J to qualify for the round of 16 the fastest. In contrast, Ulsan Hyundai, Jeonbuk Hyundai, and Incheon United struggled to two wins and two losses.

In that regard, it was hard to find motivation for the fifth home game against Hanoi FC (Vietnam) at Pohang Steel Yard on the 29th, a game where there was no need for a result. “These games are the most difficult,” Pohang coach Kim Ki-dong said.

Still, Pohang didn’t play “casually”. Rather, they set a new goal. ‘Win the group stage’. It was also their last home game of the year. Next month, Pohang will play the final match of the K League 1 (Round 38) against Gwangju FC on March 3 and the sixth match of the ACL group stage against Wuhan Sanjin (China) on March 6, but both will be away from home. “It’s the final game at home. We will challenge for six consecutive wins.”

Pohang has built a future-oriented lineup. Lee Ho-jae, Hong Yun-sang, Kim Jun-ho, and other young guns who have grown up a lot. Especially Lee Ho-jae, who scored eight goals (one assist) in the K League and two goals (one assist) in the FA Cup, said, “I want to score in all three competitions until the ACL.” He did. 보스토토

And he did. In the 33rd minute of the first half, Lee calmly converted a penalty kick from Hong Yun-sang. Eight minutes into the second half, captain Ha Chang-rae sealed the deal with a header. The 2-0 victory was their fifth straight win (15 points). Hanoi couldn’t hold off a resurgent Pohang.

Meanwhile, Jeonbuk kept their hopes of qualifying for the round of 16 alive with a 2-1 win over Kitchee SC (Hong Kong) in their fifth Group F match at Hong Kong Stadium to improve to 3-2-2 and 9 points. After taking the lead through back-to-back goals from Moon Sun-min (2nd minute) and Song Min-kyu (38th minute), Jeonbuk went a goal down after being outnumbered due to the sending off of defender Jung Tae-wook in the last minute of the first half, but were fortunate to hold on for their first away win.

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