Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will entertain K-League 1 rivals Pohang Steelers at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium in the first leg of the AFC Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday.
The hosts booked their place in the knockout stage as one of the best second-placed teams in the group stage. With four wins from six games, they finished second in the Group F table, a point behind Bangkok United.
This will be their first competitive match of the year, and in their previous outing, they registered a 3-2 home win over Bangkok United in December thanks to a first-half goal from Moon Seon-min and Dong-Jun Lee’s second-half brace.
The visitors enjoyed an unbeaten run in the group stage, recording five wins in six games, and booked their place in the knockout stage as Group J toppers. They will also play for the first time this year, and in their previous outing, Lee Ho-jae’s second-half strike helped them play out a 1-1 draw against Wuhan Three Towns.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Pohang Steelers Head-to-Head and Key Numbers
- The two teams have a long-standing rivalry and have locked horns 106 times in all competitions since 1995. They have contested these meetings closely, with the hosts having a narrow 43-39 lead in wins and 24 games ending in draws.
- They last met in the Korean FA Cup final in November, with the visitors recording a comeback 4-2 win.
- Pohang Steelers were unbeaten in their five meetings against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors last year, recording four wins.
- They have met just once in the Champions League, with the visitors recording a 3-1 win on aggregate in the round of 16 of the 2014 edition of the competition.
- The Steelers have suffered just one loss in their last 11 games in all competitions. They have kept clean sheets in three of their last four games.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Pohang Steelers Prediction
The Chonbuk Dinos had signed off 2023 with a 3-2 home win in the Champions League over Bangkok United, which was their third win in four games. They played three friendlies last month, suffering two defeats, though B-team players were fielded in those games.
They are unbeaten in their last five home games in all competitions, recording four wins, and will look to build on that form. Interestingly, they have just one win in their last six home meetings against the visitors, suffering three defeats, which is cause for concern.
The Steelers concluded 2023 on a positive note, going unbeaten in their last four games while keeping three clean sheets. They have just one win in their last five away games, with that triumph coming in a penalty shootout in November.
They parted ways with prolific striker and their top-scorer from the previous season, Zeca, during the transfer window, which might impact their performance in this match. Nonetheless, they went unbeaten in their five meetings against the hosts last year and will be hopeful of a positive outcome.
With both teams playing their first competitive match of the year, they might be a bit rusty. With that in mind and considering the changes in the squad over the transfer window, they are expected to settle for a draw.
Prediction: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1-1 Pohang Steelers
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Pohang Steelers Betting Tips
Tip 1: Result – Draw
Tip 2: Goals – Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Under 2.5 goals
Tip 3: At least a goal to be scored in the second half – Yes
Tip 4: Song Min-Kyu to score or assist any time – Yes