‘Empty-handed’ is so unfamiliar and awkward… Jeonbuk’s 2024 season becomes even more important

(Best Eleven=Pohang)

The championship was within reach. No matter how difficult the season was, they seemed to be on their way to a championship. This is the story of Jeonbuk Hyundai. But they couldn’t overcome the Pohang Steelers’ onslaught midway through the second half. No trophies for Jeonbuk this season.

The Dan Petrescu-led Jeonbuk came from behind to defeat Pohang 2-4 in the 2023 Hana OneQ FA Cup Final at Pohang Steelyard at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday. Jeonbuk led until midway through the second half, thanks to back-to-back goals from Song Min-kyu in the 16th minute and Gustavo in the 5th minute, but they couldn’t hold on to the lead and lost.

Jeonbuk’s game plan was quite impressive. Their early game plan of pressuring the opponent’s goalkeeper to create a goal made it easy for them to take the lead despite being outnumbered, and they took the lead through Song Min-gyu’s goal. Despite conceding the equalizer at the end of the first half, the team started the second half well. Jung Woo-jae intelligently drove into the opponent’s half and drew a foul on Shin Kwang-hoon, which Gustavo converted from the penalty spot to regain the lead. 캡틴토토

Jeonbuk held the lead until Zeca’s goal in the 28th minute of the second half. It’s a shame that we couldn’t handle the way the game unfolded. As it was a one-sided game with everything on the line, Pohang’s counterattack was inevitable, but they failed to control it properly.

Pohang coach Kim Ki-dong was actively engaged in a numbers game against Jeonbuk, using his left and right fullbacks, defensive midfielders, and even defender Grant in the attack. In many ways, Kim Jong-woo’s goal was a watershed moment for Jeonbuk. Kim Jong-woo is a very important player for Pohang from a tactical standpoint, but he hasn’t shown much in the way of direct goal attempts. However, in the final against Jeonbuk, Kim Jong-woo scored his debut goal and the game-changing goal that turned the tide of the match. It could be said that Pohang’s offense was all-in, but it was unfortunate that they couldn’t control it properly.

It’s even worse that there was no proper counterattack after the tide turned. Jeonbuk tried to make up for it, but aside from Song Min-kyu’s surprise mid-range shot in the 38th minute, they couldn’t create any chances. Brazilian striker Gustavo has received mixed reviews for his performance this season, but it’s bittersweet to see the offense struggle even more after Gustavo was replaced by Park Jae-yong.

Jeonbuk has been a trophy-winning team for the past few years. When they didn’t win the K League 1 last year, they took home the FA Cup. They showed their ‘champion instincts’ by taking the trophy no matter how bad things were. Many Jeonbuk fans probably fell in love with the team because of this. But this year, they are empty-handed. This is unfamiliar in many ways. After being criticized by fans for various issues throughout the season, Jeonbuk will now have to end the 2023 season with a clean slate and look to improve. The 2024 season will be a time to really put everything on the line.

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