Steelers edge shootout for bronze
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Pohang Steelers beat Atlante on 4-3 penalties to finish third at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009. Kim Hyun-Gil scored the winning spot-kick after Song Dong-Jin had saved Rafael Marquez’s effort and Horacio Peralta hit the outside of the post. Normal time had ended with the sides at one goal apiece, with Marquez cancelling out Denilson’s opener for the Asians.

Pohang flew out of the blocks, taking less than sixty seconds to create the first opportunity. Denilson controlled the ball superbly, and his ensuing through-ball put No Byung-Jun one-on-one with the goalkeeper. However, the Steelers No22’s touch deserted him and Federico Vilar was able to smother the ball at his feet.

Atlante’s response came on five minutes. Christian Bermudez sprinted clear of the Pohang defence, but a leaping Song Dong-Jin managed to tip the diminutive attacker’s attempted chip over. From the resulting corner, Gabriel Pereyra’s thumping header came back off the crossbar before being cleared.

On 22 minutes, Denilson came close to scoring what would surely have been the goal of the tournament. Collecting the ball inside his own half, the Brazilian tricked his way past four adversaries and unleashed a fierce drive, which was repelled by Vilar.

Song Chang-Ho’s 30-yard piledriver went narrowly over the bar on 25 minutes, before Song Dong-Jin made a fine block to deny Fernando Navarro’s close-range effort. The Pohang No21 pushed the resulting corner into the path of the unmarked Jose Gonzalez, who was unable to find the target. Pereyra came mightily close to breaking the deadlock thereafter, but his cushioned finish hit the post.

Pohang broke the deadlock with the clock reading 42. Shin Hyung-Min did brilliantly to win a header he had no right to win. The ball fell into the path of Denilson, who took it down and slotted it past Vilar from nine yards for his fourth goal of UAE 2009.

The Asian champions almost doubled their advantage shortly later. Choi Hyo-Jin’s sheer determination carried him into the Atlante box, but although his shot across goal beat Vilar, Miguel Martinez slid in to push the ball out for a corner, which came to nothing.

The first chance of the second half was, as was the case in the first, quick in arriving. This one was, by contrast, dispatched. Pereyra freed Marquez, whose precise finish across goal found the bottom corner to level the scores.

Pereyra was thriving and his 25-yard free-kick was on 55 minutes was only narrowly off target. Atlante enjoyed a dominant 15-minute spell thereafter, although they failed to invent any meaningful opportunities.

Pohang did on 83 minutes. The lively No skilfully beat his marker and, from six yards out, forced Vilar into a smart save. The same player nearly presented Denilson with a chance four minutes later, but his attempted pass was intercepted.

With the seconds ticking down on normal time, Pereyra’s header came back off the post. Then, the brilliant Denilson spun his marker inside the area only to see Vilar block his ensuing shot.

It was penalties that decided the outcome, and Pohang kept their composure to become the first South Korean team to finish third.