Monday , July 4 2022

Vietnam’s HAGL draw South Korean champs in AFC Champions League

The points were shared in the group H game of AFC Champions League between Hoang Anh Gia Lai and K-League champions Jeonbuk FC Monday night, which ended up 1-1.

After the last-minute defeat against Jeonbuk three days ago, HAGL were confident that they had better understanding of the opponent.

As the stronger team, Jeonbuk still got the game under their control in HCMC’s Thong Nhat Stadium. Forward Moon Seon-min, who scored in the previous game, was put into the lineup. In the fourth minute, he created the first chance of the game with a shot that went over the bar.

In the first 15 minutes, Jeonbuk got five corners, and one of them brought in the goal. From a corner of Takahiro Kunimoto, Seon-min scored for Jeonbuk with an unstoppable header.

Jeonbuk tried to double the lead as they pushed forward, but HAGL’s defense stayed focused. HAGL started to strike back in the last 15 minutes of the first half. Nguyen Van Toan passed to Nguyen Cong Phuong, whose volley went over the bar. Not long after that, Washington Brandao dribbled past a Jeonbuk defender but couldn’t beat keeper Song Bumkeun one on one.

Similar to the first game, coach Kim Sang-sik made three substitutions in the second half, while HAGL didn’t have many choices on the bench. They don’t have a squad depth like the other teams in group H.

However, HAGL kept their patience and found weaknesses in Jeonbuk’s defense. In the 63rd minute, defender Nguyen Huu Tuan won the ball in the midfield and sprinted into the center. His through ball created a chance for Van Toan, who finished cleanly to equalize for HAGL. This is Toan’s first goal after nearly a year.

Ten minutes later, Toan got the second chance to score but his shot went out. He’s the best player of HAGL in this game, with great dribbling skills and pace.

HAGL kept the pressure on, but their ability to convert chances into goals needs improvement. On the other hand, Jeonbuk failed to dominate like they did in the first half. Their best chance in the last 15 minutes was just a shot from Seon-min. With one point, Jeonbuk couldn’t claim back the top spot of group H from Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos, who defeated Sydney FC of Australia 3-0.

For HAGL, they moved past Sydney and climbed to third with this draw. On Thursday, they will play the next game with Yokohama.

AFC Champions League: HAGL 1-1 Jeonbuk

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