Professional soccer K League 1 clubs Ulsan Hyundai and Incheon United suffered back-to-back away defeats in their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) group stage matches.
Ulsan, coached by Hong Myung-bo, lost 1-2 to hosts Johor Darul Taqlim in the fourth match of Group I of the 2023-2024 ACL on Sunday at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor, Malaysia.
Ulsan, who remained in second place (6-2W, 2L), widened the gap between them and Kawasaki Frontale (Japan), who topped the group with 12-4W, to six points, dimming their chances of qualifying for the round of 16.
Johor sits in third place with the same number of points as Ulsan, but with a worse head-to-head record (6-2 W-L).
In the ACL East Asia Group Stage, the first-place team from each group and the best three second-place teams advance to the Round of 16.
Ulsan had a tough time finding the back of the net twice in the first half.
In the 10th minute, Fernando Forestieri’s right-footed curling shot from Afiq Fazail’s pass hit the right post.
In the 40th minute, Berson’s shot hit the crossbar.
Johor finally took the lead after relentlessly pressing Ulsan’s defense.
In the 44th minute, Hebertz hit a left-footed mid-range shot that hit the right post and found the back of the net.
Johor continued to dominate in the second half, but were plagued by bad luck in the fourth minute when Heberch’s direct free kick hit the post.
On the other hand, Ulsan, who were struggling to find their stride, equalized with Ataru’s ‘one shot’.
In the 24th minute of the second half, Ataru, who broke through the defense, trapped Bako’s penetrating pass with his right foot before finishing with his left foot to make it 1-1.
The game came down to substitutions.
Johor’s Akiar Rashid, who came on in the 40th minute, scored the winner two minutes later.
He finished Ayman Hanafi’s forward pass with his right foot in a counterattack situation.
Ulsan introduced long striker Martin Adam in the 41st minute of the second half, but he was unable to contribute to the scoreline.
Incheon, coached by Cho Sung-hwan, fell 1-3 to Shandong Taishan, coached by Choi Kang-hee, at the Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Shandong, China.
With their second straight loss to Shandong, Incheon dropped one spot to third place in the group with two wins and two losses (6 points).
Yokohama F.Marinos (JPN), who won 2-1 against Kaya Iloilo (Philippines) earlier in the day, moved into first place with the same number of points as Shandong (9-3-1-1) but with a better head-to-head record.
Choi Kang-hee, who won six K League titles and two ACL titles with Jeonbuk Hyundai, has led Shandong since May of this year.
Incheon tried to compete aggressively in the midfield, narrowing the passing lanes to Shandong’s frontline striker Marouane Fellaini as much as possible.
This, coupled with breakthroughs from Kim Bo-seob on the left and Park Seung-ho on the right, allowed Incheon to dominate the game and increase their ball possession to 57% in the first half.
However, just like Shandong, Incheon was unable to capitalize on any decisive scoring chances.
At the start of the second half, Incheon brought Mugosa to the bench and inserted the speedy Hernandez, but this time the goal hunt was not fruitful.
In the fourth minute of the second half, Min Kyung-hyun received a pass from Park Seung-ho and fired a shot from a no-mark situation that went just wide to the right of the goal.
In the end, it was Shandong who took the lead.
In the ninth minute of the second half, Li Yuanyi scored the first goal with a right-footed shot in a chaotic situation.
Incheon wasted a crucial scoring opportunity in the 11th minute of the second half.
Kim Bo-seop’s back-heeled pass to Hernandez, who finished with a right-footed shot from the front of the goal area, hit the right post.
Incheon pulled one back in the 20th minute on an own goal after a backpass error by Lee Kwon-jin.
In the 30th minute, they conceded a penalty kick goal from Shandong Krijang.
Earlier, Hong Shihu was adjudged to have committed a foul by pushing Li Hailong inside the penalty area.
Incheon pulled one back in stoppage time when Kim Do-hyuk scored a lob over the goalkeeper. 토토사이트