ACLE Thanks To The “Youngest” Who Led The Victory
Incheon United did not miss its hopes of advancing to the AFC Champions League Elite ACLE thanks to the performance of its youngest members.
Incheon United won 3-1 against Ulsan Hyundai in the 37th round of Hana One Q K League 1 2023 at 7:30 p.m. on the 24th at Incheon Football Stadium. Park Seung-ho scored consecutive goals in the 5th minute of the second half, Hong Si-hoo in the 28th minute of the second half, and Oh Ban-seok in the 31st minute of the second half. Ulsan made up for it in the 45th minute of the second half with a penalty kick by Joo Min-kyu.
Incheon has recently left seven key players, including Mugosa and Lee Myung-joo, due to injuries. Coach Cho Sung-hwan, who did not have many options, started a large number of U-22 year old resources. Choi Woo-jin, Park Hyun-bin, Hong Si-hoo, and Park Seung-ho were selected by Cho.
Ulsan had to leave Thailand for the Asian Football Confederation AFC Champions League match against BG Pathum United on the 28th. He operated the rotation, but his power was better than that of Incheon. Although they were less energetic than usual, key players such as Joo Min-kyu, Bako, and Kim Young-kwon participated.
Ulsan, which is objectively better, was expected to win. However, when I opened the lid, the results were different from the outlook. It was the “youngest players” who led Incheon to victory on this day.
Incheon scored the first goal in the 5th minute of the second half when Park Seung-ho finished Choi Woo-jin’s pass with a direct left-footed shot. In the 28th minute of the second half, Hong Si-hoo’s shot in the penalty box shook Ulsan’s net. Park Hyun-bin failed to score an offensive point, but he diligently played in the midfield.
Coach Cho Sung-hwan also seemed surprised by the young players’ performance. Coach Cho said, “The team develops through competition in good faith. This kind of opportunity develops the team. I’m looking forward to next year as a coach,” he said.
Incheon briefly jumped to fourth place due to its last victory. At the same time, it is now possible to have hope of entering ACLE.
AFC has announced that it will separate the ACL into ACLE and AFC Champions League 2 ACL2 from the 2024/25 season. ACLE is attended by the top clubs in each country. ACL2 is the second-ranked competition.
Tickets were distributed by AFC according to the league ranking of each member country. In Korea, 2+1 tickets were given to ACLE playoff tickets and 1 ticket to ACL 2.
The Korea Football Association said Ulsan Hyundai, the winner of the K League 1, and Pohang Steelers, the winner of the FA Cup, will go straight to ACLE in the 2024/25 season. The second-ranked team in the K League the third-ranked team if Pohang is second will advance to the ACLE playoffs.
In addition, the top-ranked teams in the K League, except for the three teams that play in the ACLE and ACLE playoffs, will play in ACL2. Simply put, the third-place team in the K League will advance to ACLE, and the fourth-place team will advance to ACL2.
Of course, Incheon is unable to enter ACLE by itself. Even if they win the last round against Daegu, they have to wait for the results of other teams.
It’s not very likely, but it’s not that there’s no probability at all. Jeonbuk needs to win the 37th round against Gwangju and lose the last game against Ulsan to win the fourth place. On top of that, if Gwangju loses to Pohang in the last round, it can rise to third place.
Even if you don’t make it to ACLE, you can make it to ACL2. If Incheon wins the match against Daegu, Incheon’s advance to ACL 2 will be confirmed even if Jeonbuk records only one loss among the remaining two games.
Incheon will continue its hope for the Asian competition. Without the “surprise” performance of the youngest members, it would have been impossible to count the number of cases and would have ended the league. 안전놀이터