Incheon takes ‘last step’ for first round of 16 in ACL

Incheon will meet Kaya FC in the last 6th match of Group G in the 2023-2024 season ACL at Lissal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines, on the 13th.

Incheon is in second place (3 wins, 2 losses, 9 points, 9 goals + 9 goals) after Shandong Taishan (4 wins, 1 loss, 12 points, 10 goals) in the group. It has the same points as Yokohama F. Marinos (3 wins, 2 losses, 9 points, + 2 goals), but it has the upper hand according to the winner’s principle.

It is the top-ranked team in five groups and three of the second-ranked teams that advance to the round of 16 tournaments in the ACL. Ulsan Hyundai (10 points) confirmed its advance to the round of 16 on the 12th as the second-ranked team in Group I after the Pohang Steelers (ranked first in Group J). With two of the three seats remaining, Incheon has to compete with Group F with one game left and Melbourne City (9 points), the second-ranked team in Group H, which closed the group stage.

Incheon took its second consecutive group match against Shandong Taishan before its 2-1 victory over Yokohama on April 28. It fell to third place, but saved the momentum by catching Yokohama. As the final opponent is Kaya (5 losses), who is the lowest in the group match, Incheon is expected to win.

Yokohama and Shandong Taishan will also have their final group match at the same time. If Incheon defeats Kaya and Yokohama defeats Shandong Taishan, the three teams will tie in three. Incheon, Yokohama, and Shandong Taishan have 12 ties in points, and both teams are tied at 2 wins and 2 losses in the winner’s win to determine the next ranking. In that case, detailed figures such as the difference in gains and losses in their face-to-face matches and multiple scores should be examined.

Incheon is determined to end the group stage by catching Kaya first. At the end of the season, a large number of main players were injured and suffered. Lee Myung-joo, Shin Jin-ho, Gerso and Mugosa are missing, but they are smiling at the performances of young players such as Hong Si-hoo, Park Seung-ho, Choi Woo-jin and Chun Sung-hoon.

Gerso was accompanied on the way to Kaya. He missed the final league match with Jeonbuk Hyundai on the 1st of last month due to an injury to his knee in the FA Cup semi-final, but he is also waiting to play along with Mpoku-Hernandez. Defender Kim Joon-yeop also returned from injury through the match against Daegu FC in March.

Incheon previously brought Kaya home to secure a landslide 4-0 victory in the second group match. Mugosa scored multiple goals at the time, and Hernandez and Mpoku scored relay goals. “As much as I have worked hard, I will prepare well for the remaining games and pass the group stage,” Incheon coach Cho Sung-hwan said.

Jeonbuk Hyundai (3 wins, 2 losses, 9 points), the second-ranked team in the group, will also play against Bangkok United (4 wins, 1 draw, 13 points) in the final Group F match of the ACL at Jeonju World Cup Stadium. In addition to the first and second-ranked showdowns, Jeonbuk seeks revenge at its home turf because it lost 2-3 to Bangkok United in an away match in October.

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