‘A hard-fought victory at the end of an extended battle’ → Coach Cho Sung-hwan “It’s a shame it ended in 120 minutes…thank you to the players”

Incheon head coach Cho Sung-hwan said he was “grateful to the players” after the club advanced to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) knockout stages with a win over Hai Phong.

Incheon were unable to find a way past Hai Phong FC in the ACL playoffs for the 2023/24 season after 90 minutes of stalemate at the Incheon Football Stadium on Feb. 22, and went on to win 3-1 in stoppage time thanks to goals from Hernandez and Gerso.

Incheon, who finished fourth in the K League One last season, will be making their first ACL appearance in franchise history as Jeonbuk Hyundai, who had already secured their spot in the ACL, reached the top of the FA Cup, and with the win over Hai Phong, the club advanced to the group stage of the ACL.

The ACL group draw will be held at AFC Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on April 24 at 5 p.m., with the group stage matches set to begin in September.

Speaking to the media after the match, head coach Cho Sung-hwan said, “First of all, we have reached the ACL group stage on our 20th anniversary. I’m glad we were able to fulfill the promise we made to our fans last year, but I wish we could have finished the game in 90 minutes with good game management. The turf was in bad shape, and I think we damaged it by playing an extra 30 minutes. We will try to get a good result in the league game on Friday.”

On how the early concession disrupted their game plan, he added: “It was a tough game overall. It wasn’t an easy game, and we conceded early, which made it difficult. However, I think it will bring a lot of experience to the team.”

Unlike the first half, Incheon’s performance rebounded after halftime. “In the league, we tend to play with a lower defensive line, but today we played with a higher line. In this situation, we re-ordered our defense where we were not organized. I asked them to be wary of plays that could lead to goals,” he said, referring to his requests to the players.

The 120-minute game saw a lot of changes in the offense. Mugosa and Chun Sung-hoon started, while Jerso and Hernandez came off the bench to score.

Cho saw this as a positive, saying, “I tried to put Hernandez on with a big lead. We didn’t have enough time to prepare, but I think it’s positive that my teammates and the coaching staff trusted him. We might have a physical problem against Suwon FC right now, but I think it will help us if we recover well. Playing well is one of our strengths, so even if the opponent knows it, we will continue to go for it and try to score goals,” he said, adding that he will focus on the performance of the offense and recovery of physical strength. 메이저사이트

He lamented the fact that the 120-minute game may cause stamina issues in the upcoming schedule. “You can see it in my face,” he said. We should have gotten a lot of points in the league because we started off poorly, but we didn’t. I can’t help but think about the league now. It’s disappointing to win after 120 minutes of play. That’s how people feel,” he said, expressing his disappointment at not being able to seal the win early on.

At the end of the press conference, Cho said, “Thank you to the players. I want to say thank you to the players for overcoming a difficult match,” he said.

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