Jeonbuk Motors manager Choi Kang-hee identified his side’s scoreless draw against Gamba Osaka as a turning point in the series following their 2015 AFC Champions League exit on Wednesday night.
The defending K-League champions took an early lead through Leonardo’s penalty kick in the 13th minute, but allowed an equaliser to Gamba striker Patric just one minute later and eventually fell 3-2 after a thrilling final 20 minutes of play.
“We spent a lot of time preparing for this match,” Choi said in his post-match press conference. “Today’s result was disappointing in many ways. We were disappointed to not win at home [in the first leg], and the mood changed when we gave up that goal. But my players gave it everything they have and I’m not disappointed in their performance.”
“[The draw at home] wasn’t a bad result. We were confident that we could win away and that’s what we came to do. We scored the first goal and the players were excited; after we gave away the equaliser we weren’t able to use that momentum.
The former South Korea coach was especially focused on the failed offside trap that allowed the J-League representatives back into the match.
“We’ve allowed goals like that a couple of times in the K-League and told our defenders to drop back further, but they were excited [following Leonardo’s goal] and didn’t listen,” Choi reflected.
“Sometimes in football, things don’t go as you imagine they will.”