Pohang Steelers head coach Kim Ki-dong is determined to win the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) ‘Korea-Japan’ match.
Pohang will host Urawa Reds (Japan) at 7 p.m. on April 24 at Saitama Stadium 텍사스홀덤 in the third round of the 2023-24 ACL group stage.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, head coach Kim Ki-dong said, “We said that the first game is important when participating in the ACL. We got off to a good start in our first game two weeks ago. Now, every game is important. I think tomorrow’s game will be a watershed moment for us to reach the round of 16. We have been preparing well, so I believe we can bring a good result.”
Pohang previously defeated Hanoi FC (Vietnam) and Wuhan Shanzhen (China). A victory over Urawa in the third round would give them an advantage in the tournament.
However, Pohang has a lot of injuries. Coach Kim Ki-dong said, “We are not at 100 percent right now. At the beginning of the season, the younger players did a good job filling in the injury gaps, but now we are missing Wandelsson, Oberdan, Grant, and Baek Sung-dong. It’s a difficult situation, but I’m confident that the other players will be able to fill the gaps tomorrow.”
“No coach prepares for a game to draw. We prepare to win. When you play, the sky is the limit. If you do your best and draw, I don’t think it’s a failure,” he added.
Urawa has a 1-1 record with a draw against Wuhan and a win over Hanoi. “When I watched the video, I thought they had a similar overall feel to us – the team is organized,” said Kim Ki-dong. “Watching Urawa play, I think they are similar to us in terms of the way they play, their defense, and the buildup to the finish. Urawa are also on a good run, having won their last game. We also have the fewest losses in the league. It’s a difficult situation right now with injuries, but I think the players keep playing and don’t think about losing. Both teams represent their respective countries and I think it will be a good match.”
Ko Young-jun, who is considered a player that the opposing team’s manager is wary of, said, “We traveled to Japan for the ACL while there were already many K League games. It’s also a Korea-Japan match, so we want to get a good result against the Japanese team.” “It’s really nice to hear the opposing coach say that. We will prepare well for tomorrow’s game and bring home a good result.”