Shandong Taishan head coach Choi Kang-hee smiles during a face-off with Incheon United head coach Cho Sung-hwan.
Incheon lost 0-2 to Shandong (China) in their 2023-24 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) Group G match at the Incheon Football Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday. Marouane Fellaini, formerly of Manchester United, found the back of the net.
A win over Shandong in this match would have made Incheon’s path to the round of 16 easier. Incheon had previously swept Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan) and Kaya FC Iloilo (Philippines) to top the group, but handing Shandong their first ACL loss makes the remaining three group games in the knockout phase even more important. With Kaya FC categorized as the underdog, the other three teams have two wins and one loss each in their three matches.
The matchup between Incheon head coach Cho Sung-hwan and Shandong head coach Choi Kang-hee captured the attention of soccer fans before the game. Cho and Choi have worked together in the past at Jeonbuk Hyundai. When Choi led Jeonbuk, Choi assisted him as a coach. After Cho took the helm of Jeju United, he faced off against Choi’s Jeonbuk.
Before the game, Cho said, “When Choi was at Jeonbuk, he played aggressive soccer and didn’t concede as many goals as possible. “They have the lowest conceded goals in the league and have a good winning percentage in the last 10 games. They play a good team tomorrow. I started with a challenging attitude while dealing with my ACL, and I will continue to take on new challenges tomorrow.”
Choi Kang-hee, who will be playing in Korea for the first time in a long time, said, “It’s a new feeling, but I don’t want to take it easy. We need to focus on the game. I think Incheon is a very tricky team. They are well-rested and have been playing well lately, so I think we need to prepare very well.”
In the battle of tactics, Choi Kang-hee laughed. Choi’s Incheon took the lead in the first half, but Choi turned the tide with a late substitution. The second-half substitute found the back of the net for Incheon to win the game.
The home team went with a 3-5-2 formation on the day. Mugosawa and Jerso were up front. The midfield consisted of Mpoku, Moon Ji-hwan, and Hernandez. The wingbacks were Jung Dong-yoon and Kim Jun-yup. The back line was formed by Oh Ban-seok, Kim Kwon-jin, and Kim Yeon-soo, while Kim Dong-heon wore the goalkeeping gloves.
Shandong lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Marouane Fellaini was up front, supported by Chen Fu, Moises Magalhaes, and Xu Wenying. Ji Xiang and Li Yuanyi paired up in the third line. The back line was formed by Liu Yang, Sker, Zhadong, and Wang Tong. Wang Darei guarded the goal. 먹튀검증
Shandong supporters filled the away end. There were also cheers from Shandong fans and Incheon fans who wore orange shirts, the team’s signature color. The distance between Shandong and Incheon is not far, so many away fans traveled to the Incheon Football Stadium.
Incheon took the initiative from the start. Attacking midfielder Mpoku sensed