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Review: A Comfortable 4-1 win for Pohang Over Struggling Daegu FC

Pohang Steelers eased past Daegu FC with a 4-1 win at home as a brace from Lim Sanghyup and goals from Shin Jinho and Jeong Jaehee sealed an emphatic victory under the rain at Steelyard. K League United's Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung reviews the game and reports what both managers and Man of the Match Lim Sanghyup had to say after the game.

What happened?

The hosts Pohang Steelers couldn't have asked for a better start as they dominated most of the ball in the game and put three past Daegu FC's shot stopper Oh Seunghoon in the first half. On 13 minutes, the Steelers' captain Shin Jinho curled a freekick into the bottom corner and gave the hosts the lead. After going down, Daegu caretaker made a quick change by bringing Daegu's talisman Cesinha on. However, Pohang Jeong Jaehee doubled the lead as his rocket hit a fantastic trajectory into the back of the net before Lim Sanghyup made it 3-0.

The second half saw the opposite trend as Daegu gained control of the game and had a few chances. Cesinha had a shot saved by Kang Hyunmoo before Zeca hit the post at point blank range on 59 minutes. Daegu pulled one back through an own goal from Lim Sanghyup who headed the ball into his own net. Afterwards, Daegu continued to hunt for their second of the evening, but it was the hosts that found the back of the net in the end. Pohang Lim Sanghyup scored a brace in the stoppage time of the second half and sealed a 4-1 victory for Pohang.

Post-match interview

Daegu FC caretaker manager Choi Wonkwon

Q: How did you find the game?

A: Well, I thought we had prepared well for this game, but we unfortunately trailed by conceding a freekick goal. I think Pohang had great finishing and our players and, I feel, were short in that aspect (not being able to stop them). We switched to a back four and tried to oppress what Pohang are good at, however this definitely cost us our attacking ability to create chances.

Q: You said you'd save Cesinha if possible, but he came on quite early in the first half. What was the reason for it?

A: First of all, our game plan was to put Shin Kwanghoon under pressure and disrupt their build up by playing our youngster Park Yonghee to close him down. However, his mistake in a defensive wall resulted in Pohang having an early lead. Also, Cesinha was very eager to play even though he was not 100% fit.

Q: Obviously not getting the result is a problem, but Daegu also failed to score in the last three league games. Today the only goal also came from an own goal. How can this be improved?

A: Sometimes goals can ridiculously elusive, and sometimes they can be easily scored. I think we should be more bold and more daring in creating chances and moving to a better position. We hit the woodwork twice today and once we scored, I think followed the flow of the game well. I believe in our forwards Zeca, Cesinha, Pehna, and Lee Keunho and hope they can score in the next game.

Q: Despite the bad weather, more than 500 fans made a trip to Pohang and got behind the team. Do you have any words for traveling fans?

A: We are really grateful for their tremendous support under the rain. I feel sorry and under pressure for not being able to live up to their expectations. I believe such a tiny detail in the game can make a huge difference in the result and today's result is also the case. I know fans are concerned and dissatisfied with the current situation. We also acknowledge that we should prove our ability through results, not just with words. We are working hard and we will make sure that we can give them the three points at home against Seongnam, which is a must-win game.

Pohang Steelers manager Kim Gidong

Q: How did you find the game?

A: People around me started worrying about us as we got two draws and one heavy defeat (5-0 to Jeju) after two wins during August. However, I didn't worry at all. Two wins, two draws and one loss isn't bad at all, we played well in the way we planned except for the Jeju game. Today's win at home means that we were able to pick up some momentum to go up in the table. So I'd like to congratulate our boys for this win. I think we are still in a transition period to grow into a better team. When we have the lead and then come under pressure, it can be difficult for us to keep our shape and withstand that pressure. But our boys are still learning to overcome that and I want them to keep playing our football from the beginning to the end.

Q: You made an early change with Lim Sanghyup replacing Lee Gwanghyuk on 32 minutes. Was it a tactical decision?

A: No, it's not. Lee was out with injury for over three months and his return was delayed. He usually used to come off the bench and play as a substitute. For him it was difficult to start after such a difficult time, and he requested to be subbed off.

Q: It took Pohang nearly two years to beat Daegu (the last time Pohang beat Daegu was 5th September 2020). How do you feel about it?

A: As I said before, I wasn't really aware of it until I found out about it from a newspaper today. I personally don't know why we couldn't beat Daegu for quite a long time. I remember playing good football against Daegu, nevertheless this bizzare record continued. But we managed to break it and now we can get rid of this bad memory.

Q: In the second half, Pohang were under pressure, playing deep. What went wrong?

A: I was hoping to increase our possession by bringing Kim Seungdae on, but we made some misplaced passes in a transition from back to front and gave the ball away too easily, which resulted in Daegu having more chances. If we could've maintain our direct passing style as smoothly as we did in the first half, Daegu wouldn't have had the spell that they did. We turned things around by playing Wanderson ahead of Sim Sangmin on the flank. We didn't intentionally play deep, but we were forced to because we couldn't get out of from under the cosh and lost the ball in the process.

Q: Alex Grant was solid today. How do you assess his performances so far?

A: I think many people can easily notice how much he has improved this season. Last season, he often used to play his own style of football, which had negative impacts on the team's performance. But this season I am really thankful for his outstanding service at the back, commanding the line well when his centre-back partner Park Chanyong is a bit insecure. I think he now understands how I want him to play.

Q: Next game, you will be without the services of Shin Kwanghoon and Shin Jinho due to yellow card accumulations. How will you prepare for that?

A: I have a plan B in my head. Although it’s a very short turnaround, we need to prepare well. This can also be a big chance for youngsters. Looking on the bright side, I’d like to think both of these experienced lads can take this as a time to recharge.

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Man of the Match

Lim Sanghyup (Pohang Steelers)

Q: How are you feeling after a 4-1 win today?

A: I am happy with the three points today as we broke the chain of our poor results over Daegu today as well as because Jeju and Incheon didn't get the three points in this round this weekend.

Q: You scored three goals today (one at the wrong end). How are you feeling about them?

A: Like the last game, my introduction was brought forward unexpectedly. My first goal was down to Shin Jinho's brilliant pass behind the defence. When we were 3-0 up, I felt sorry for my teammates for the own goal. It was fortunate for me to score the fourth of the evening just before the final whistle.

Q: Can you talk us through a situation when scoring an own goal?

A: In defence, I was stepping backwards and couldn't see the ball. Then all of sudden, the ball appeared in front of me and I thought I'd clear it away. So, I dove to head it away, but I found the ball in the back of the net.

Q: Last season, cutting into the box and sending curling efforts was a signature for you when scoring goals, but this hasn't worked well this season. How are you coping with it?

A: I think my second goal today is an example. Many people think I tend to use my right foot, but in training sessions I practice a lot to finish with my left foot like today's second goal. I couldn't finish it in the Jeonbuk game last week, but I am working hard to be able to do so.

Q: You are having a great season at Pohang. What's the recipe for this success?

A: I think it's because of our manager Kim Gidong. Throughout the season, [there are times when] I play well and I don't do well. The manager always keeps his faith in me. When I was struggling to score, he approached me and encouraged me with positive conversation. Obviously, different managers have different approaches and some managers leave them alone or send them to reserve teams when their boys are struggling, but Kim Gidong is always open to the players and helps them to cope. So his faith in me is the biggest reason.

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