Jeonbuk Hyundai’s quest for a third consecutive Asian Club Championship title was not without its jitters. The minimum result of three points was achieved, but the substance was not.
Jeonbuk defeated Kitchee SC (Hong Kong) 2-1 in the first leg of their 2023-2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) Group F match at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on Tuesday. Captain Hong Jeong-ho headed home a Jun Amano free kick in the sixth minute of the first half, but conceded an equalizer in the 11th minute through opposing midfielder Michael. Five minutes later, Han Gyo-won scored the winner, but there was no laughing matter.
Jeonbuk dropped to sixth place (43 points) in the 30-team K League 1 after going winless in its last five matches (three draws and two losses). If they fall to Group B (7th-12th) in the final round, it will be their first humiliation since their inception.
A turnaround was needed. After a 1-3 home loss to Gangwon FC in the 30th round of the K League One, Jeonbuk head coach Dan Petrescu was bitter in a team meeting and emphasized that “results are needed” ahead of the match against Kitchee. Five key players, including Baek Seung-ho, Park Jin-seop, and Song Min-gyu, have been called up to the Hangzhou Asian Games squad, but Jeonbuk has plenty of resources at its disposal.
Still, it was frustrating. Amano’s touch on the ball was unsettling when deployed up front instead of in his natural position, and Gustavo’s height was unthreatening. The flankers – Moon Sun-min, Kim Jin-soo, and Ahn Hyun-beom – failed to create space.
Kitchee, who boasts the most Hong Kong Premier League titles (six), was no slouch. He started Jakob Janzer, the 2022 Austrian Bundesliga Player of the Year, up top. 소닉카지노 There were also several naturalized players. As expected, a bold attack at the start of the second half resulted in an equalizer that surprised the home team. Jeonbuk’s performance was so disappointing that it was fortunate that Kim Shin-Wook, the South Korean striker for Kitchee, had to give up a family visit after feeling a hamstring problem.