Incheon United’s historic victory was perfect in every aspect.
Japan’s ‘Soccer Digest’ said on the 20th, “Korea’s Incheon, which participated in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) for the first time in 20 years since its founding, showed the quality of the visiting team,” and added, “Incheon, who achieved a comfortable victory, was in the locker room after the game. After cleaning it, I even wrote the word ‘thank you’ on the white board.”
Incheon ranked 4th last season and advanced to the finals through the ACL playoffs. The first opponent was Yokohama F. Marinos, last season’s Japanese J1 League champion. Yokohama was also the team that the late Incheon coach Yoo Sang-cheol played for in 2019.
Most experts predicted Incheon’s defeat. However, Incheon won 4-2 in the away game against Yokohama on the 19th in the first leg of Group G of the 2023-2024 season ACL group stage.
The first half was tied 2-2. However, Incheon took the win in the 30th minute of the second half when Hernández converted Gerso’s pass into a goal, and in the 34th minute of the second half, Hernández scored a key goal again to confirm the victory.
The opponent, Yokohama, may have been caught off guard and made the bold choice of rotating most of their players. In response, Incheon confused the Yokohama defense with their unique counterattacking football. All four goals were scored through a strategy of going down and counterattacking all at once.
Hernández, who scored a comeback goal and a key goal on this day, was replaced by Mugosa in the 16th minute of the second half and entered the stadium. It was Mpoku, who came on in the 28th minute of the second half, who assisted both of Hernández’s goals. Incheon coach Cho Seong-hwan’s bench management shone.
Incheon’s cheering match was also perfect. The Incheon cheering team prepared a large banner and hung it in the stadium for the away game. The banner read, “Thank you for not forgetting Yoo Sang-cheol.” In response, Japanese media such as ‘Soccer Digest’ and ‘Football Zone’ also mentioned that it was a touching banner.
The reason the Incheon cheering squad put up this banner was out of gratitude. Every year, Yokohama remembers the anniversary of the death (June 7) of coach Yoo Sang-cheol, who worked for the club from 1999 to 2000 and 2003 to 2004. Former director Yoo Sang-cheol passed away in 2021 due to pancreatic cancer.
Yokohama took a commemorative photo with supporters after winning 2-0 against Urayasu in the round of 64 of the Emperor’s Cup on June 7. At this time, the supporters displayed coach Yoo Sang-cheol’s uniform number ‘8’ behind the Yokohama players. Same as the first cycle. 바카라
Incheon’s victory did not end here. He also showed his presence in the locker room. The locker room was emptied cleanly after the game. After cleaning up every little piece of trash, he wrote, “Thank you,” and even said goodbye on social media, saying, “I’m returning to Incheon with a clean and happy heart.”
Japanese soccer fans who saw this acknowledged Incheon’s historic and perfect first ACL win, saying, “It’s perfect,” “Amazing,” “Well done,” and “We won the game, the cheering, the bench, and the locker room.”