Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors head coach Choi Kang-hee said his players showed their desire to reach the Last 16 of the AFC Champions League after their 2-2 draw with Chinese Super League team Jiangsu FC in Group E at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium on Wednesday.
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The result meant that Jeonbuk finished top of the group with 10 points, while Jiangsu were eliminated with nine points. Due to FC Tokyo defeating Becamex Binh Duong 2-1 away, the Koreans won the group ahead of Tokyo points due to their superior head-to-head record.
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In an interview with the press after their draw, coach Choi said they would have loved to have won the match in front of their home fans and although they didn’t play well, he felt that the players showed their desire to reach the last 16.
“In front of our home fans, the players kept going until the end and did their best,” said Choi. “After defeats in Binh Duong and Jiangsu, there was plenty of pressure but the players showed their desire to get to the Round of 16.
“It would have been good to have won the game and won the group that way but we were missing some players.
“We didn’t play as well as we could but I think that the fact we could have gone through even with a draw had a psychological effect. Now, though, we can look forward to the Round of 16.”
Jiangsu coach Dan Petrescu said afterwards that his side played well and they were disappointed with the result.
“We played well so the result was very disappointing. If you look at the performance then we should have won but we could only manage a draw, ” said Petrescu.
“We are now out of the AFC Champions League but now we can concentrate on the Chinese Super League and the FA Cup and we will do our best to qualify for this tournament next season.
“We just didn’t get enough points in the group. We had six difficult games but the results were not quite good enough.”