The Pohang Steelers are looking to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a trophy, while Jeonbuk is looking to make history by winning their second consecutive FA Cup.굿모닝토토 도메인
The two powerhouses of the K League, Pohang and Jeonbuk, will meet in the final of the Hana OneQ FA Cup 2023 at 2:15 p.m. on April 4 at Pohang Steelyard.
Pohang defeated Jeju United and Jeonbuk defeated Incheon United in the quarterfinals on April 1 to reach the final.
For both teams, the trophy means a lot.
First of all, Pohang, the “team of tradition,” is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
In May, Pohang celebrated its 50th anniversary with a big game at the Steel Yard, where the club invited its legends to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The opponent was Jeonbuk, and Pohang ended the party with a 1-0 win.
Pohang is hoping to make its historic season even more memorable by winning the title.
The team hasn’t won a trophy since 2013, when they won both the K League 1 and FA Cup, so they’re determined not to miss this final.
It was Jeonbuk who won the FA Cup 10 years ago. Pohang had lifted the trophy after defeating Jeonbuk in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw.
Pohang’s Kim Seung-dae, who scored the goal and won the title as a professional rookie, is now a 10-year veteran and captain of the team and will be looking to win a second title.
Jeonbuk is also looking to make history.
Currently tied with Suwon Samsung for the most FA Cup wins (five), Jeonbuk is aiming to go one step further and win the title alone.
Since the early 2010s, Jeonbuk has been a powerhouse in the K League, and in a short time, they have overtaken traditional powerhouses to win the most titles in K League history (9).
If they also win the FA Cup, they will sweep all major domestic competitions.
Jeonbuk also holds the record for winning at least one of the league, FA Cup, and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) every year since 2014. Last season, when the record seemed to be broken by missing out on the league title, the club won the FA Cup and did not miss out on the trophy.
This season, they failed to win the league, and with the ACL moving to Chuseok next year, they’ll need to win the FA Cup to keep that streak alive.
They also have a debt to pay against Pohang. They were sacrificed at Anbangseo when Pohang won the championship in 2013, and this time around, they’ll be playing away from home at the Pohang Steelyard, so they’ll be looking to do the same.
Meanwhile, the two teams are at loggerheads over the ‘ineligible player controversy’ that broke out a week ago.
During the Hana OneQ K League 2023 Round 35 match at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on March 28, a confusion in the substitution process led to a skit in which Pohang played with 12 men for four and a half minutes.
While Pohang’s Kim Yong-hwan was receiving treatment, the referee requested that Kim In-sung be substituted out and Shin Kwang-hoon be substituted in, but the referee recognized that Kim Yong-hwan was out, so Shin Kwang-hoon was substituted in without Kim In-sung being sent off, and the two players played at the same time.
Following the incident, the Korea Football Association suspended all six referees who presided over the game on March 31 for the remainder of the season.
But it’s not all over yet. Jeonbuk, who had 12 players on the field, has declared 11 players “ineligible” and is seeking a forfeit from Pohang.
If the federation decides to forfeit Pohang, Jeonbuk will receive three points instead of one, leaving them with 56 points and trailing third-place Gwangju FC (57 points) by one point. This is a crucial point for Jeonbuk, as they need to secure third place to qualify for the ACL next season.
Pohang acknowledges the mistake but says the referees are ultimately responsible.
The league has said that it will make an announcement on whether or not to forfeit the game after a careful review, but it’s clear that both teams have hurt feelings for each other and there is a tense off-field battle.
Article courtesy of News1