Urawa Red Diamonds coach Rafal Janas was left disappointed after his side suffered a come-from-behind defeat.
Urawa scored the opening goal of their 2023/24 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) Group J fourth leg against Pohang Steelers at the Pohang Steelyard on Monday, but were outnumbered and suffered a 1-2 reverse.
Defending champions Urawa, who defeated Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in the final to win the competition in May, were drawn in Group J alongside Pohang Steelers (South Korea), Wuhan Sanjin (China) and Hanoi (Vietnam) in this season’s ACL.
After suffering a 0-2 defeat at home to Pohang in the third round of the group stage on March 24, Urawa sought to bounce back with an away win, but failed to protect the lead and fell to a second straight defeat against Pohang.
On the day, Urawa pushed Pohang hard from the start of the match, receiving enthusiastic support from the away fans, and took the lead in the 36th minute through Guinea striker Jose Kante’s first goal. Pohang struggled to find an equalizer, but couldn’t break through Urawa’s goal.
Urawa, who was in control of the game, conceded a penalty kick in the 21st minute of the second half to give Pohang the lead. The video assistant referee (VAR) was activated when Hong Yun-sang’s cross from inside the penalty box hit defender Marius Huybroten in the hand, and after checking the on-field monitor, the referee awarded Pohang a penalty kick.
Pohang striker Zeca neatly converted the penalty kick to make the score 1-1, and Urawa lost the lead.
After conceding the equalizer, Urawa was then sent off. In the 25th minute of the second half, winger Takahiro Akimoto was sent off directly for a dangerous tackle on Ko Young-joon. The referee initially gave Akimoto a warning, but after reviewing the incident on the monitor at the recommendation of the VAR room, he canceled the warning and showed the red card. 토토사이트
Despite being down a man, Urawa still managed to create a few threatening moments, but ultimately lost 1-2 in stoppage time to Kim In-sung, who came on for the injured Ko Young-joon.
In the end, Urawa dropped both games of their two-game series in Pohang, keeping their record at 4 points (W1 D1 L2). With Pohang clinching an early round of 16 berth on the same day as Wuhan (China) suffered a 1-2 come-from-behind loss to Hanoi (Vietnam), Urawa will be looking for a round of 16 wild card, which is awarded to the top three teams in each of the five East Asian groups.