Sunday, December 5, 2021

Ulsan Hyundai 1-1 Pohang Steelers (4-5 pens): Pohang fight back to reach AFC Champions League final

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Oct 2021

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Pohang Steelers came from behind to book their AFC Champions League final spot with a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over 10-man Ulsan Hyundai after a 1-1 draw.

Alex Grant nodded in a late equaliser before Pohang scored each of their five penalties, with Davy Bulthuis missing for Ulsan.

A cagey first half saw just two clear-cut chances, with Lee Seung-mo heading against the left post in the sixth minute for Pohang before Ulsan should have gone ahead on the stroke of half-time as Yun Il-lok headed a free-kick wastefully wide after being found unmarked at the back post.

The deadlock was broken seven minutes after the restart when Yoon Bit-garam’s low ball across the face of goal was spilled by Jun Lee, allowing Yun to pounce on the loose ball and fire in from close range.

Pohang threw men forward in search of an equaliser but were nearly caught out as Yoon struck the right post from Lee Dong-gyeong’s cutback, with Lee Jun rooted to the spot.

Ulsan were reduced to 10 men as captain Won Du-jae slid in on Lim Sang-hyub with his studs showing, earning himself a straight red card with over 20 minutes of normal time still to play.

The Ulsan midfielder’s error of judgement proved costly as Pohang’s man advantage paid dividends, with defender Grant heading in off the post in the top-right corner to level the scores with one minute of normal time remaining, forcing extra-time and then spot-kicks.

Ulsan centre-back Bulhuis was the only player to miss from the spot, blazing over the bar, although Lee Chung-Yong saw a tame stutter-stop effort easily saved, but was allowed to re-take it as Jun Lee was off his line.

Pohang scored all five spot-kicks, with captain Kang Sang-woo rifling the final penalty inside the left-hand post to spark wild celebrations.

The K League 1 side will face Saudi Arabian outfit Al Hilal in the final on November 23.

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