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4 wins failed to advance to the round of 16 in ACL

Incheon United, which is on the stage of the Asian Champions League ACL for the first time in 20 years, suffered the bad luck of failing to advance to the round of 16 even after winning four group games.

Incheon won 3-1 with consecutive goals by Park Seung-ho, Choi Woo-jin and Kim Do-hyuk in the final 6th Group G match against Kaya FC at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines, on the 13th.

At the same time, however, Yokohama F. Marinos of Japan beat Shandong Taishan of China 3-0 and their advance to the round of 16 teams was twisted. All three teams had four wins and two losses, but Incheon FC -1, which was trailing Yokohama +1 and Shandong 0, failed to advance to the round of 16 teams in terms of goal difference. Kaya lost all six games. At this year's ACL, the top three teams among the second-ranked teams in each group, in addition to the top five teams in five East Asian groups, will advance to the round of 16.

Incheon, where veterans such as Delbridge, Mugosa, Shin Jin-ho and Lee Myung-joo were injured, put Gerso and Hernandez on the bench and put a lot of young blood, including 23-year-old Chun Sung-hoon, 22-year-old Hong Si-hoo, 20-year-old Park Seung-ho, and 19-year-old Choi Woo-jin.

Incheon allowed a one-on-one crisis with the goalkeeper in the 6th minute of the first half when Kim Do-hyuk was robbed of the ball at the halfway line, but Kim Dong-heon fortunately saved it. After escaping from the crisis, Incheon scored the first goal in six minutes. Park Seung-ho made a left-footed early cross toward the goal from the opponent's right side, and the ball bounced once in front of the opponent's goalkeeper and was sucked into the left corner of the goal. Hong Si-hoo, who passed to Park Seung-ho, unexpectedly accumulated help.

Incheon scored an additional goal in the 25th minute of the first half. Choi Woo-jin, who received the ball that Mpoku handed over to the back space, opened the goal with his left foot. The assistant referee picked up the flag and ruled it offside, but the goal was recognized through VAR.

Incheon allowed pursuit in the eighth minute of the second half. After Kim Dong-heon failed to properly punch Kaya's corner kick, Incheon scored a header to Shimone Rota, who overcame an aerial challenge with Mpoku. Incheon put in Jerso, Hernandez and Park Hyun-bin to tighten the reins, but failed to score an additional goal before Kim succeeded in a penalty kick that Kim Joon-yeop, who was substituted for, pulled out the opponent's handball foul in the extra time of the second half to secure, sealing the game. Incheon was disappointed as it failed to advance to the round of 16 in the last game of this year.

Meanwhile, in the K-League, all three teams have advanced to the round of 16 including Jeonbuk Hyundai, which beat Bangkok United 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss 3-2 and is ranking second in Group F with 4 wins and 2 losses, and Pohang Steelers 16 points and Ulsan Hyundai 10 points, who finished the group league with No. 1 in Group J and No. 2 in Group I, respectively. Jeonbuk and Ulsan are leading Melbourne City Australia, 9 points in Group H and the Urawa Reds Japan, 7 points in Group J, who are ranking second in Group J. The round of 16 teams, which will be held at home and away, will take place in February next year. The draw for the match is scheduled for February 28.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2023
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