Jeonbuk Hyundai and Pohang Steelers have reached the final of the FA Cup, a competition to determine the best of the best in Korean soccer, both professional and amateur.
Jeonbuk defeated Incheon United 3-1 in the semifinals of the 2023 Hana OneQ FA Cup at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on Monday, thanks to a parade of cool goals from Moon Sun-min (23rd minute), Baek Seung-ho (17th minute), and Park Jae-yong (50th minute – penalty kick), while Pohang defeated Jeju United 4-3 in the other semifinal at Jeju World Cup Stadium after the teams played to a 1-1 draw in extra time. Pohang conceded first to Jeju’s Seo Jin-soo in the 43rd minute, but equalized 14 minutes into the second half through Kim In-sung.
With Ulsan Hyundai clinching an early title in the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023, Jeonbuk and Pohang will meet at Pohang Steel Yard on Thursday for the final title of the season. Jeonbuk, who have won the title five times (2000-2003-2005-2020-2022) along with Suwon Samsung, will be looking for their second consecutive title. Pohang will be looking for its fifth title in a row after winning in 1996, 2008, 2012, and 2013.
Jeonbuk head coach Dan Petrescu said, “The team has stabilized and the mood is up. We have a short time until the final. We need to recover well,” while Baek Seung-ho said, “Those who have won the championship do it. We have a lot of experience in the finals. We believe in (winning),” he said.
Jeonbuk, which filled its starting lineup with all domestic players, put its weight behind its attack. With Park Jae-yong up top and Moon Sun-min and Lee Dong-joon on the left and right wings, Jeonbuk shook up Incheon’s defense. The flanking attack was particularly impressive. There was a steady stream of flashes from the left flank, where national team fullback Kim Jin-soo overlapped.
Jeonbuk’s first breakthrough came in the 23rd minute. After exchanging passes with Baek Seung-ho in the center of the Incheon box, Lee Soo-bin distributed the ball to Moon Sun-min on the left flank, who rattled the net with a right-footed shot after two touches.
The joy was short-lived. A fatal play came from the right flank. Jeonbuk right fullback Ahn Hyun-beom lost the ball in a scuffle. Incheon striker Jerso broke through the Jeonbuk defense in a bold move and tied the game.
Jeonbuk became desperate. Instead of collapsing, they launched a counterattack. The best moment came in the 17th minute of the second half on the right 토토 flank. Park Jae-yong pushed the ball from the right side of Incheon’s box, and Baek Seung-ho laid it low and slotted it into the back of the net.
On the other hand, Incheon, who started with a “pay-to-play” defense, had a duller offense than usual. After struggling to create clear chances, they conceded a penalty kick in the second half of stoppage time for a dangerous foul. Park Jae-yong stepped up to take the spot kick, ending Incheon’s hopes of reaching the final for the first time in eight years after finishing as runners-up in 2015.