Champions Urawa suffer Pohang loss in Asian Champions League

By Reuters   October 24, 2023 | 06:50 pm PT
Urawa Red Diamonds slumped to a 2-0 loss to South Korea's Pohang Steelers at Saitama Stadium on Tuesday as the Asian Champions League title holders struggle in their quest for a place in the knockout rounds of this year's competition.

A goal in each half from Jeong Jae-hee and Goh Young-jun for Kim Gi-dong's visitors ensured Pohang stayed perfect in group J with only the winners guaranteed to advance to the next round.

Urawa remain on four points from their first three games and the Japanese side are now level with Wuhan Three Towns after the Chinese champions won 2-1 over a Hanoi FC side who finished their game with nine men.

Joel Tagueu was sent off for the visitors following a dangerous head-high challenge in the fifth minute but it took Wei Shihao until the final minute of the half to give Wuhan the lead.

John Tagueu (number 95) is sent off during the AFC Champions League game between Wuhan Three Towns and Hanoi FC on October 24, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Dan

John Tagueu (number 95) is sent off during the AFC Champions League game between Wuhan Three Towns and Hanoi FC on October 24, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Dan

Marcao added a crucial second goal in the 63rd minute and, while Pham Tuan Hai pulled one back for the visitors in the 87th minute, Dao Van Nam became the second Hanoi player to be sent off when he picked up his second booking in injury time.

Kawasaki Frontale maintained their perfect start to the competition with a 4-2 victory in Thailand over BG Pathum Thani to stay on top of Group I, three points ahead of former champions Ulsan Hyundai.

Daiya Tono gave the visitors the lead in the 14th minute only for Igor Sergeev to level the scores in first-half injury time with a fine header.

A handling error from home goalkeeper Chatchai Budprom gifted Kento Tachibanada Kawasaki's second goal seven minutes after the restart while goals from Marcinho and Takuma Ominami meant Victor Cardoso's penalty was only a consolation.

Hosts Ulsan had three goals in the opening 18 minutes to thank for their 3-1 win over Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim, which was picked up despite Kim Tae-hwan's sending off nine minutes before halftime.

Jung Seung-hyun volleyed in Darijan Bojanic's corner at the far post after five minutes to give Ulsan the perfect start and Gustav Ludwigson doubled the advantage seven minutes later with a cool finish when one-on-one with goalkeeper Syihan Hazmi.

The Swede added the third in the 18th minute with a fine solo effort that saw him jink beyond Matt Davies and score in the bottom corner.

Ulsan were comfortable until Kim was sent off for a second bookable offense following a rash challenge on La'Vere Corbin-Ong in the 36th minute but, while Bergson's strike reduced the deficit in the 53rd minute, Ulsan held on.

The winners of the 10 groups across Asia will progress to the last 16, where they will be joined by the three runners-up with the best records from their respective halves of the continent.

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