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Recap: Jeju United 2-1 Pohang Steelers: The Steelers Robbed of 3 points

An in-form Jeju United hosted high-flying Pohang Steelers in the early Sunday kick-off. The Tangerines went into this game with 5 wins from their last 6 in all competitions, while Pohang are in great form themselves, having only lost once this whole season (a 2-0 home defeat to Incheon United last round).

Pre-Match Build-Up

In recent weeks, it appeared that Jeju were starting to pick up some form, playing the more expansive, free-flowing attacking football that Nam Ki-il has adopted as of late. A surprising 3-0 away victory against a seemingly powerful dark horse in Daejeon, was one that the Islanders deserved to be proud of. Results seem to be on the rise for the Tangerines who didn't have the best of starts to the 2023 campaign, and despite a tough opponent, Jeju have the right to be feeling confident as they know a win will boost their pre-season ACL hopes.

As for Pohang Steelers, they were looking to bounce back from last weekend's shock defeat to an underperforming Incheon United. From what appears to be a very successful season thus far, only losing 1 match, Pohang will be aiming to forget last weekend and continue their great form. Although Ulsan Hyundai are starting to pull further ahead at the summit of the table, Pohang and possibly FC Seoul seem to be Ulsan's biggest title rivals.

Statistical Run-Down

Jeju United - Pohang Steelers
46% Possession 54%
6 Shots 13
3 Shots on Target 8
4 Corners 6
15 Fouls 12
2 Yellow Cards 5
Attendance: 5,261

How The Teams Lined-Up

Jeju United:


GK: Kim Dong-jun;
DEF: Kim Oh-kyu, Kim Joo-won, Jeong Woon;
MID: Ahn Tae-hyun, Lee Chang-min, Kim Bong-soo (56': Goal), Lee Ju-yong;
ATT: Kim Dae-hwan, Kwak Seung-min, Reis.

Kim Keun-bae, Lim Chae-min (80': Kim Joo-won), Ahn Hyun-beom (46': Ahn Tae-hyun), Lee Gi-hyuk, Kim Ju-gong (12': Kim Dae-hwan), Seo Jin-su (12': Kwak Seung-min), Yuri (69': Reis).

Pohang Steelers:


GK: Hwang In-jae;
DEF: Kim Yong-hwan, Ha Chang-rae (49': Own Goal), Grant, Sim Sang-min;
MID: Oberdan, Lee Seung-mo;
ATM: Kim Seung-dae (24': Assist), Goh Yong-jun, Baek Sung-dong (24': Goal);
ATT: Lee Ho-jae.

Yoon Pyeong-gook, Park Chan-yong, Shin Kwang-hoon (46': Lee Seung-mo), Roh Kyung-ho, Yun Min-ho (86': Goh Yong-jun), Cho Jae-hun (66': Baek Sung-dong), Zeca (59': Lee Ho-jae).

First Half Run-Down

As expected, Kim Gi-dong opted for his trusted 4-2-3-1 formation. For a piece of extra information, the best-designed tactic to most successfully counter a 3-4-3 is that of a 4-2-3-1. That was evident after the first whistle as Pohang's pressing seemed to have Jeju a bit stuck for ideas, forcing the Islanders to play long balls and losing possession.

In the 12th minute, Jeju made a double substitution. Seo Jin-su and Kim Ju-gong replaced the 18-year-old duo of Kwak Seung-min and Kim Dae-hwan respectively. Both players coming off filled Jeju's U22 quota, allowing them to make five subs in total.

GOAL! Pohang took the lead in the 24th minute thanks to a great strike from 25 yards by Baek Sung-dong. Kim Dong-jun under minimal pressure from Pohang's front line, misplaced a long ball which ended up at the head of Lee Ho-jae who nodded it to Kim Seung-dae. His poor control found its way to Baek Sung-dong who fired from 25 yards out into the keeper's bottom right. A well-deserved lead.

Fast forward to the 32nd minute. Pohang's press was still too much for Jeju to handle as some sloppy pass back to the keeper by Jeong Woon saw Goh Yong-jun take out Kim Dong-jun with a sliding challenge, however, the referee opted to not penalise the young attacking midfielder.

In the 42nd minute, Jeju had their first half-chance at goal. Seo Jin-su carried the ball forward and into an overlapping Lee Ju-yong who run towards the byline and floated a cross into Kim Ju-gong, but his jump was mistimed and the header was easily dealt with by Pohang's left-sided defender, Sim Sang-min.

Halfway into the 44th minute, a long throw by Pohang's Sim Sang-min went over the head of Jeju's Kim Oh-kyu and into the feet of Lee Ho-jae. He found a cross from the near corner of the penalty area into an unmarked Goh Yong-jun, waiting on the penalty spot, whose side-footed volley was sliced over a fortunate Kim Dong-jun who would've been relieved to see it go wide of the post for a goal kick to the Tangerines.

On the 45th minute, 3 minutes of additional time were to be played, but there was no reportable action in that period.

Half-Time Thoughts

With Jeju failing to register a single shot in this half, I worry about the outcome of the second half. Pohang could cruise to an easy victory if the Islanders are not careful. Jeju had a few half-chances with some poor crosses into the box, but none to trouble Hwang In-jae. Pohang the much better of the two teams and will be trying to keep this dominance up despite missing a few key opportunities to extend the gap in the scoreline.

Second Half Run-Down

The half time break saw a substitution apiece. For Jeju, Ahn Hyun-beom replaced Ahn Tae-hyun and Pohang's Lee Seung-mo was brought off for Shin Kwang-hoon.

Seconds after the restart, the Jeju team already were the complete opposite outfit to what we witnessed in the first half. Seo Jin-su doing what he does best, using his power to run at the defence towards the byline. He cut back and played a pass into an open Lee Ju-yong who then found Kim Ju-gong on the edge of the box. He managed to find a yard of space to register Jeju's first shot of the match, but the weak attempt was picked up easily by Hwang In-jae.

GOAL! Fewer than 5 minutes into the second half, we saw a Jeju United equaliser. Not the most satisfying goal to witness, but Jeju were delighted nonetheless. Seo Jin-su played the ball to the left of the penalty area where Reis was in space, the Brazilian played it back into the path of Seo's run who the drilled it across the goal mouth. Sim Sang-min managed to intercept the ball from reaching a Jeju player waiting at the back post but the eventual clearance by Grant cannoned off of Ha Chang-rae from 6 yards out, and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

Pohang had a long-range free kick as we approached the 53rd minute which was whipped in by Baek Sung-dong and then flicked on by Jeju's Seo Jin-su into the opposing defender, Grant, but Kim Dong-jun was quick off his line to block the shot with his face from close range.

GOAL! Just over 5 minutes from their previous goal, Jeju increased their fortunes to turn the fixture on its head. Reis whipped a corner that met the head of Kim Bong-soo however it was bounced away by the chest of Grant but the ball landed to the chest of Kim Bong-soo, who controlled it well and hit a volley from about 10 yards out, through a crowd of players, and past an unexpecting Hwang In-jae.

Still, Pohang were not letting up their efforts. A freekick in the 58th minute on the near side was crossed by Goh Yong-jun and found Grant, but his header narrowly missed as it hit the roof of the net.

Pohang made their second change of the match in the 59th minute, a like-for-like attacking swap, as Zeca came on for Lee Ho-jae.

Jeju then had a rare chance to extend their lead. A long ball into Seo Jin-su's head was knocked down into Reis. Great control and a little flick around the defender into an oncoming Seo who controlled with his chest and shot from 12 yards out, but the shot lacked any venom and was of no concern to Hwang In-jae in goal.

Pohang made their third substitution in the 66th minute. Their goalscorer was replaced Cho Jae-hun.

Two minutes later Jeju made their fourth substitution; Reis made way for Yuri.

As we entered the 70th minute of the game, Pohang's dangerous play continued to be a threat for the Tangerines, as this time Zeca struck the bar from a lovely looping, curled effort from 24 yards out. Kim Dong-jun could do nothing but watch and pray as he was rooted to the spot.

In the 80th and 86th minute, Jeju and Pohang made their final substitutions. For the Islanders, Lim Chae-min was on for Kim Joo-won and for the Steelers, their young playmaker, Goh Young-jun, was off for Yun Min-ho.

Into the 90th minute, there were five extra minutes to be played, as adjudged by the fourth official. In this timeframe, you could see Pohang's frustrations building, with forced shots, hoping for any luck of one to go in, however, 23 seconds past the 5th minute of added time, Jeju were relieved of all the pressure as the referee blew his whistle for full time.

Full-Time Thoughts

Pohang will certainly feel like they deserved much more from this fixture, being so dominant yet wasteful was their clear downfall. A very impressive display of football by The Steelers, yet they come away with nothing, surely to be disappointed and possibly a bit heartbroken, as they gave everything on the field. I would personally argue, if anyone will challenge Ulsan this season Pohang would definitely be one of those teams. They have now suffered two defeats in a row, but they just lacked any luck this time around, whereas Jeju were on the other end of Lady Luck.

As for the Tangerines, they will know they rode their luck this time. After a few games earlier this season, where Jeju may have felt cheated out of results, this one is making amends for those feelings, as the Islanders survive by the skin of their teeth against an aggressive Pohang side, who are surely on course for ACL football, come the end of the season.

Next Up for Both Teams

In Round 12, Jeju United host Incheon United on May 10th. Incheon gave Suwon Bluewings their first victory of 2023 which they will be very disappointed with. They will be hoping to bounce back from that unlikely upset. The last time these two met in a controversial Round 3, Incheon were 1-0 victors due to a winner by former Jeju player, Gerso.

As for Pohang Steelers, they are away to Dageu on May 9th. Daegu are coming off the back of a 3-0 Ulsan demolition and will be hoping to get revenge on Pohang from Round 1. In the first fixture of this season, Daegu were in charge of the match, looking to see out an impressive 3 points, before two late Pohang daggers (Lee Ho-jae 85th minute, and again in the 91st minute) which saw the Pohang Steelers become the Pohang Stealers as they came away with a 3-2 win.

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