Things are going according to plan for head coach Cho Sung-hwan.
Incheon United (South Korea) defeated Kaya FC Iloilo (Philippines)메이저사이트 4-0 in the second leg of their 2023-24 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Champions League (ACL) Group G match at the Incheon Football Stadium at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. With the victory, Incheon scored four goals in a row following their win over Yokohama F. Marinos to claim three points and maintain their lead at the top of the group with two wins (eight goals scored and two conceded).
Kaya were categorized as the weakest team in the group, so it was expected that a massive rotation would take place. However, when the starting lineup was revealed, it was an unexpected one. Jerso, Mugosa, Hernandez, Moon Ji-hwan, Delbridge, and Kim Dong-heon were among the main players.
It was a gamble by coach Cho Sung-hwan, and it paid off, as Incheon scored three goals in the first half to take a quick lead. Mugosa’s multi-goal performance was followed by another from Hernandez. This gave them a comfortable lead for the rest of the half, and the substitutions were made at the start of the second half. Mugosa, Hernandez, and Jerso were brought off and Chun Sung-hoon, Park Seung-ho, and Kim Bo-seop were brought on.
As the dominance continued in the second half, Moon Ji-hwan was taken off midway through. Then, after Mpoku’s wedge goal, he was rested as well. The younger players who came on as substitutes energized the team and they were able to finish the game without any problems.
As such, Cho Sung-hwan’s plan was to end the game quickly and give his team a rest. He even rested Kim Do-hyuk, Lee Myung-joo, Kim Dong-min, and Jung Dong-yoon to save them. The flow of the game was also a key factor in determining the outcome, and by dominating from the start, they were able to prevent Kaya from getting into a rhythm. Finally, the all-important three points. Everything was perfect.
“We got the three points we wanted, we rotated the team to make sure we’re fit for the weekend, and we got to play some players who hadn’t been involved,” said head coach Cho Sung-hwan in the post-match press conference. “I was surprised to see the roster when I arrived, I knew they had a big game coming up on the weekend, but I think they showed us respect by coming out strong,” said head coach Curtis Kaya.
Incheon travels to Ulsan Hyundai next weekend. It’s a game that could make or break their season. Incheon needs more than a draw to qualify for Final A on their own. If they make it to Final A, it will be the second year in a row that they’ve done so, and depending on the outcome, they’ll be able to qualify for the Asia Cup.
While Ulsan is certainly a tough team to beat, there are some positive signs. Ulsan traveled to the ACL on the same day as Incheon and lost 0-1 to Kawasaki Frontale. The result was not good and there are signs of fatigue. On recent form, Incheon has a little more to smile about. In the last seven official matches, Incheon has five wins, one draw and one loss, while Ulsan has two wins, three draws and two losses.
Incheon will be hoping to secure a point at the ‘Tiger’s Den’ and clinch a spot in Final A with a healthy squad.