“We will finish the remaining two games undefeated.”
After a come-from-behind victory, Pohang Steelers head coach Kim Ki-dong was relieved and vowed to stay focused to the end of the season.
Pohang came from behind to beat Urawa Reds (Japan) 2-1 in their 2023-24 Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) Group J match at the Pohang Steelyard in Pohang on Monday to secure at least second place in the group with 12 points from four matches and move closer to the round of 16.
Coach Kim Ki-dong said, “Yesterday (July 7), I watched Incheon United and Ulsan Hyundai and was worried because the K League teams lost. We had four 22-year-olds in the starting lineup. We were also worried about what would happen if something went wrong. It was our chance and we did well. We made a mistake and conceded a goal, but we did our best until the end, so I’m grateful for the win. Jeonbuk Hyundai also lost. We are undefeated and doing well. I’m proud that Pohang is doing well. However, we had injuries to Ko Young-joon and Kim Seung-dae during the game. We’re thinking about the East Coast derby with Ulsan Hyundai. We know we have secured second place. We will finish the remaining two matches undefeated.”
Kim sent out U22 players Kim Jun-ho, Yoon Jae-woon, and Hong Yun-sang. “I’m not worried about the other players, but I was worried about Yoon Jae-woon because he came back from injury. However, he did well. Technically, he was good. I don’t have anything special to say about the other players. They have been doing a good job.”
On the injuries to Kim Seung-dae and Ko Young-joon, he said, “(Ko) has a swollen ankle. We put ice on it. (Kim) Seung-dae is not walking properly. He said he heard a ‘pop’ sound. We need to do a full diagnosis.”
As for Urawa, who had never lost in their four previous meetings, Kim said, “I did a good job of getting the points. I was worried and irritated the day before the match. On the day of the match, I was relaxed and said I would win. When I went out there, I knew the mental strength and the points. I had the faith to execute. Today, I saw the situation and saw how the opponent played. We conceded a goal in the first half, but in the dressing room we gave ourselves the confidence to win the second half.”
On the numerical advantage after Takahiro Akimoto’s sending off in the 26th minute, he said, “There were times when our mistakes allowed them to counterattack. We wanted to create as much space as possible. If they can’t press quickly, we’ll drop back and if they press, we’ll go for the rebound ball,” he said, emphasizing that it was a strategic victory.
Han Chan-hee, who was named the Most Valuable Player (MOM) of the game, said, “We are leading the group, but it was an important game for us to reach the round of 16. I’m happy that we put ourselves in an advantageous position. From the FA Cup to the ACL in the league, it’s been four days of hard work. The players are doing a great job mentally. We have a break after Ulsan. I hope we can finish well and take a tempo break.” 무지개토토
He continued, “I heard MOM after the game. I think it was given to me because the player who scored the goal didn’t get enough playing time. I think it was because I played hard,” he laughed. On filling the void left by Oberdan’s injury, he said, “He was an important player for us. When I heard that the season was over, I looked at the players who could play the position, and me and Kim Jong-woo.