Shandong Luneng squandered a two goal lead away to ten-man Pohang Steelers after scoring two penalties dispatched by in-form striker Vagner Love in a group E Asian Champions League match.
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP E MATCHDAY 3
Pohang Steelers 2
Kim Tae Soo 32′
Kim Seungdae 78′
Shandong Luneng 2
Vagner Love 13′ (pen), 23′ (pen)
Things got off to a good start for the Chinese side when in the 13th minute they caught Pohang keeper Shin Hwa-Yong coming too far out. Defender Shin Kwang-Hoon could do little else, but handle the ball to keep it out of net.
He was shown a straight red and Vagner Love stepped up for a painstakingly slow conversion.
The hands kept flying in the 22nd minute as Kim Jae-Sung swatted a cross out of the air. He was shown yellow by referee Ammar Al-Jeneibi and Love once again slowly converted the penalty.
The Steelers did not throw in the towel however and continued to press Shandong. They were rewarded in the 32nd minute when Wang Dalei’s attempt to start a quick counter attack was intercepted. Some quick passing found Kim Tae-Su who started Pohang’s come back.
In the 37th minute it was almost 2-2 when a cross left Kim Chan-Hee in on goal. He was able to beat Wang Dalei, but not his former Shanghai Shenhua team-mate Dai Lin who cleared the ball off the line.
Kim, the 23 year old forward, looked dangerous all game and in the 44th minute he sent in a curling cross that hit the far post. Luckily for Shandong it bounced back out with Wang Dalei smothering it.
Viewers tuning in late would be surprised to learn Pohang only had 10 men as after the sending off they came alive, taking the game to Shandong with hard pressing.
The second half started off slower with a cross from Wang Yongpo being struck well by Aloisio forcing a good save from Shin Hwa-Yong.
In the 73rd minute Cui Peng was shown a yellow for taking down Kim Seung Dae who was racing down the wing. For a second it looked like the referee was reaching for a red.
Kim Seung Dae made his chance count in the 77th minute as some nice passing between players let him get in goal to pass the ball into the far side of the net.
The last effort from Shandong came in the 83rd minute as a long ball for substitute Yang Xu left him with only the keeper to beat. Shin Hwa-Yong made himself big though and denied the striker a moment of glory.
Struggling to draw against 10 men only leaves further question marks over whether Cuca is the right man for the job or just needs more time. Nothing should be taken away from the Pohang Steelers players though who gave their all for the full 90 plus stoppage.
Earlier in the day Cerezo Osaka demolished Buriram United at home 4-0. Group E now stands with Shandong and Pohang sharing top with 5 points. Osaka has 4 and Buriram 1. On April 2nd the Pohang Steelers travel to Jinan for what will be a decisive match for both teams.
Shandong Luneng– 25 Wang Dalei, 3 Du Wei, 35 Dai Lin, 16 Zheng Zheng, 30 Walter Montillo (63’ Wu Xinghan 17), 6 Zhao Mingjian (58’ Wang Tong 11), Wang Yongpo(82 Yang Xu 18), 7 Cui Peng, 33 Jin Jingdao, 10 Vagner Love, 31 Aloisio
Pohang Steelers– 1 Shin Hwa-Yong, 3 Kim Gwang-Seok, 17 Shin Kwang-Hoon, 13 Kim Won-Il, 22 Kim Dae-Ho, 5 Kim Tae-Su, 7 Kim Jae-Sung, 19 Moon Chang-Jin(77’ Ryu Chang-Hyun 23), 29 Lee Myeong-Ju, 18 Ko Mu-Yeol(85’ Kang Sang-Woo 30), 12 Kim Seung-Dae(89’ Kim Hyung-Il 32)
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