ACL debut Incheon defeats Yokohama 4-2…
In their first appearance in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) in their 20th year, professional soccer’s K League 1 Incheon United claimed an emotional debut victory over defending Japanese J League champions Yokohama F. Marinos.
Defending K League 1 champions Ulsan Hyundai also got off to a flying start in the ACL, sinking BG Pathum United (Thailand) with a Martin Adam hat-trick in the first leg of their group stage match.
Incheon won the first leg of their 2023-2024 ACL Group G clash with Yokohama 4-2 behind a multi-goal performance from Hernandez at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on Sept. 19.
Incheon, making its first appearance in the ACL in 20 years since its founding in 2003, struck first with an own goal in the eighth minute.
Jung Dong-yoon’s ball from the left side of the penalty area overlapped the left flank, deflected off the foot of a diving Yokohama defender, hit the goalkeeper’s hand, and went straight into the net.
The goal was an own goal by goalkeeper Jun Ichimori.
Fighting back, Yokohama took an early lead in the 17th minute when Takuma Nishimura redirected the ball with a header from the front of the goal area from a corner kick on the left.
Incheon added another goal in the 37th minute on a counterattack.
After blocking a Yokohama attack in the 37th minute, Incheon sent a long pass from their own half straight to the front line, where Jerso used his quick feet to neutralize one defender before beating the keeper for the goal.
But the celebration was short-lived.
Yokohama got back on level terms in the 43rd minute when Miyauchi Hyo scored a header from a corner kick on the left side of the box.
In the first half, Incheon was out-shot 38%-62% and had the only shot on target, but managed to hold on for a 2-2 halftime score.
Incheon head coach Cho Sung-hwan subbed in Hernandez for Mugosa in the 16th minute of the second half, and the move proved to be a godsend.
Yokohama responded by bringing on South Korean national soccer team member Nam Tae-hee as a substitute in the 20th minute.
Incheon broke through on the counterattack in the 23rd minute when Hernandez dribbled over 50 meters and hit a powerful left-footed shot from the left side of the penalty area that hit the left post.
However, Hernandez got a taste of his own medicine in the 30th minute when he received a pass from Mpoku on a counter-attack and cut in from the right side of the penalty area before unleashing a powerful right-footed shot that proved to be the game-winner.
Hernandez was also responsible for the wedge goal four minutes later. In the 34th minute, Hernandez, assisted by Mpoku, completed his multi-goal performance to sink Yokohama.
In the other ACL Group I match at Munsoo Stadium in Ulsan, Ulsan defeated Pyatum 3-1 behind a hat-trick from Martin Adam.
After opening the scoring in the fifth minute with a header attempt, Ulsan missed a golden opportunity in the 16th minute when Lee Dong-kyung’s left-footed mid-range shot from the right side of the penalty area hit the crossbar.
Finally, Ulsan’s first goal came in the 28th minute.
Jung Seung-hyun’s thunderous right-footed mid-range shot bounced off the keeper and spilled to the right side of the goal area, where Lee Dong-kyung was quick to catch it and deliver a cross that Martin Adam, who was rushing in from the other side, slid in with his left foot to give Ulsan the lead.
Pathum fought back hard.
After harassing Ulsan’s backline on the counterattack, Pathum equalized in the 41st minute.
In the midst of a scramble, Freddy Alvarez’s shot from the left side of the penalty area was deflected by an Ulsan defender, and Leighann Stewart collected it in front of the goal area and finished with a right-footed turnover.
Ulsan held a 64%-36% ball possession advantage in the first half, but were out-shot 6-7.
Martin Adam was the lone scorer in the second half for Ulsan, who finished the half 1-1.
Martin Adam scored the game-winning goal in the 28th minute after Ataru drove down the right side of the penalty area and redirected a pass from the front of the goal area with his left foot.
Martin Adam scored again in the 30th minute, this time from a cross from the left flank, but the referee disallowed the goal for some bizarre reason.
Adam completed his hat-trick three minutes later in the 33rd minute, slotting home with his left foot after Bako dropped a cross from the back to seal Ulsan’s 3-1 victory. 파워볼