Jeonbuk Hyundai will look to bounce back with a win in their first ACL group game in Jeonju.
Jeonbuk Hyundai will face Kitchee FC (Hong Kong) in the first leg of their 2023-2024 Asian Football 메이저놀이터 Confederation (AFC) Champions League Group F match on Tuesday at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
Jeonbuk, who entered the ACL as last season’s FA Cup champions, will face Kitchee, who won the Hong Kong Premier League last season.
Jeonbuk will look to turn things around against Kitchee. Jeonbuk has recently dropped down the rankings in the K League 1 and will need a win against Kitchee to lift their spirits.
Of course, they don’t have a perfect squad. After losing Park Jin-seop, Baek Seung-ho, Park Jae-yong, Kim Jung-hoon, and Song Min-gyu to the Hangzhou Asian Games squad, Jeonbuk will have to rely on new faces for the match. Players who haven’t gotten much playing time will need to step up. There is a good chance that the offense will see a major shakeup, starting with goalkeeper Jung Min-ki.
Jeonbuk head coach Dan Petrescu told the official press conference for the match, “We had five players in the Asian Games and two injuries. It’s not easy to go to any club in the world and not have seven players with immediate impact. But the positive thing is that the players are training hard. The players who are available now are of a high standard. Our priority is to get through the group stage and advance to the tournament.”
A victory will be crucial, especially as it will be the first match of the ACL. “We’re playing in our home town, Jeonju, so we want to play a good game for our fans who will be there,” said Petrescu.
The players who will take to the pitch will have a chance to earn consistent playing time if they perform well. As the schedule for the Hangzhou Asian Games is flexible, players will be able to continue to play depending on the situation. For the players who have lesser opportunities to play, they will need to showcase themselves to Petrescu.
Kitchee is no pushover either. Last season’s Hong Kong League champions, Kitchee have two wins and one loss in three games this season. They’re also the top scorers with 12 goals in three games. Of course, Kim Shin-wook, the league’s top scorer with three goals, is still in Hong Kong due to injury, but Austrian international striker Jacob Zentscher and Jun Ning-yo, who is also a key part of Kitchee’s offense with three goals, are waiting in the wings.