Kuala Lumpur – Johor Darul Ta’zim’s (JDT) chance to advance to the knockout rounds of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League campaign took a huge blow after losing 1-4 to South Korean side Pohang Steelers FC at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok tonight.
JDT paid the price for their poor defensive discipline, especially in the penalty box area, when three of Pohang Steelers FC’s four goals came through penalty kicks.
The Southern Tigers’ second defeat in the third round of matches in Group G has now left them in third place with three points and overtaken by Pohang Steelers who now have six.
It was Benjamin Mora’s squad who first opened the scoring though in the 17th minute through Leandro Velazquez after the Argentine-born striker’s left-foot shot from outside the penalty box hit the opponent’s defender’s leg before hitting the net.
However, it proved to be a short-lived lead as just 10 minutes later, Boris Tashti equalised for the Pohang Steelers through a penalty kick after Leandro fouled striker Goh Young-Jun.
Kim Gi Dong’s side then took a 2-1 lead in the 35th minute with captain Kang Sang-Woo scoring via another spot kick.
JDT came out more aggressively in the second half by creating several scoring opportunities and came close through Brazilian imported striker Bergson da Silva, but his attempt in the 49th minute went straight to the goalkeeper’s arms while midfielder Natxo Insa’s header in the 56th minute just went over the bar.
Pohang Steelers almost scored their third goal in the 66th minute when defender Matthew Davies’ header grazed the bar while he was trying to clear Sin Jin-Ho’s free-kick.
JDT’s pursuit for an equaliser in the final 10 minutes of the match, however, led to holes in their defence, and they conceded two more goals through Steelers’ substitute Kwon Gi-Pyo in the 82nd minute and Lim Sang-Hyub’s penalty kick in added time.
In the other Group G match played yesterday, Japanese club Nagoya Grampus consolidated their place at the top with nine points after beating Thai side Ratchaburi FC 4-0.