For the first time in 10 years, three K-League teams have reached the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League
Ulsan Hyundai, Pohang Steelers and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors have successfully reached the quarter-finals of the 2021 AFC Champions League (ACL).
Defending champions Ulsan defeated Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale, and Jeonbuk got the better of Thais BG Pathum United (Pathum) – both via penalties, while Pohang took the 0-1 victory at Cerezo Osaka in round of 16.
Great care was maintained regarding the fear of the coronavirus for the two meetings in Korea which were held under the on-site health and safety management groups. Ulsan adopted a minimum ground staff to avoid infection with COVID-19 from the outside, the tasks of the ball collectors and the transport of the stretcher were taken care of by the internal staff of the club who were tested negative before the match day.
Ulsan paid special attention to isolated passages for athletes and domestic and foreign media. Indoor media facilities that would pose higher infection risks have been completely shut down. Photographers have also been given separate directions, and road signs have been translated into Japanese for convenience.
Jeonbuk has also set up a similar procedure for his home game against Pathum. The club have assigned separate press boxes in two different stands at the end of each side, to avoid direct contact.
The last time three K League teams – FC Seoul, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Samsung Bluewings – made it to the quarterfinals of the top Asian club competition was in 2011. Joenbuk and Suwon would advance to the semi-finals before the former lost to Qatar’s Al-Sadd 4-2 on penalties after being blocked at 2-2 aet
Meanwhile, the 2021 knockout stage draw held at AFC headquarters in Malaysia last Friday revealed that Jeonbuk and Ulsan will face each other for survival, and Pohang will face Japan’s Nagoya. Grampus. place in the ACL semi-finals.
The K League teams will be at home for the East Region quarter-finals and semi-finals, as matches are scheduled to take place at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, South Korea.