ACL vs Pohang Steelers: Match Report

The onslaught in the second half did not come to fruition, and the conceded goal in the first half heavily had an impact until the end. The fourth ACL ended in round 16.

The AFC Champions League had entered the knockout stage of a single round. Cerezo Osaka, who welcomed Pohang Steelers of the K-League to the home and faced Round 16, changed the starting lineup by six from the latest league match. Adam Taggart, who returned from the Australian national team, and Hiroaki Okuno made two FWs combinations, and Hiroto Yamada was in the right side half.

In the first half, Cerezo was in the offensive at the beginning, but after that, turned to be defensive, because Pohang took possession. In the 14th minute, Pohang broke the right side and caused a pinch for Cerezo, and in the 17th minute Palacios entered dribbling from the left side, but GK Kim Jin Hyeon blocked his shot. Cerezo in the first half did not build up well and could not carry the ball as they wanted. While they were passing the game flow to Pohang, they conceded a goal in the 25th minute. Immediately after, Cerezo also counterattacked. In the 28th minute, Takashi Inui, who played as a starter in two consecutive official games, attracted the DF and fed a pass to the other side. Riku Matsuda received it without a mark and had a scoring chance, but the shot with the outside of his right foot was blocked by the GK. They wanted to attack further from here, but in the 33rd minute, they allowed Pohang to counterattack from a pass mistake in their own half and had a decisive pinch. Still, at the end, Kim Jin Hyeon barely blocked the shot by hitting it with his foot. He did not allow the second goal and finished the first half.

In the second half, Cerezo took possession from the start and proceeded the match, and in the 51st minute they got a chance. From Yamada on the right side to Inui on the left side, a through pass aimed at the space in front of Inui hit the DF, but Riki Harakawa shot from the pass of Riku Matsuda who picked up the loose ball. They made a shooting-form, but it was over the crossbar. In the 58th minute, Okuno came out to the back of the left side and crossed. Taggart matched it inside, but he was not able to score it. Opportunity in a row in the 62nd minute. Maruhashi, who came out to the pass of Harakawa, dropped it to Inui with heels, and Inui shot. Fujita had a chance from the second attack, but the DF who used his entire body blocked it.

In the second half, Pohang was basically on the defensive aiming for the counterattack. For Cerezo, the side was broken several times and they had pinches, but they did not let the opponent shoot. For the only shot allowed in the second half, Koji Toriumi covered it with his body in front of the goal. In the 65th minute, the two FWs were replaced. Mutsuki Kato and Jun Nishikawa entered the pitch. Moreover, Manager Akio Kogiku replaced Yoshito Okubo with Harakawa in the 75th minute. He placed Fujita as a single anchor, and added the number of players to attack. In the 83rd minute, Nishikawa came out to Inui's pass and fired a shot, and in the 87th minute, they connected fine passes, and Okubo got a scoring chance but his shot was blocked by the DF. After Motohiko Nakajima was sent as the fifth substitute, the attack accelerated further, and in the 89th minute, Riku Matsuda's cross almost invited the opponent's own goal. They obtained a CK here, and Toriumi pushed the loose ball in, but the shot was slightly out of the frame. Cerezo, who did not give up until the end, had a good opportunity in additional time in the second half. Nakajima shot a loose ball from CK. Nishikawa quickly responded to the loose ball hitting the DF and made a shot, but it was over the crossbar. At this moment, the time was up.

The players, who played from the midway as substitution, switched on the attack and Cerezo increased the number of chances as time passed, but one point was far away until the end. The conceded goal from the set-piece in the first half heavily had an impact, and they lost the game with 0-1. ACL, the club's fourth challenge, ended in Round 16.