Professional soccer’s K League One Incheon United head coach Cho Sung-hwan has hinted at an improved team.
Incheon United made it four wins out of four in the 2023-2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) Group G with a 3-1 victory over Kaya FC (Philippines) in the sixth match of the group stage at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines at 5:00 p.m. (KST) on Wednesday, thanks to goals from Park Seung-ho, Choi Woo-jin, and Kim Do-hyuk.
The win moved them into a 12-way tie for first place with Yokohama F.Marinos (Japan) and Shandong Taishan (China). However, they finished third in the group due to poor head-to-head goal difference and were eliminated from the competition.
Following their first-ever appearance in the ACL, they had hoped to advance to the round of 16 for the first time, but were unable to do so due to the pitch conditions. The Incheon players were not disappointed, but were happy to celebrate with their fans.
“Even though our last game was away to the Philippines, we are grateful to the fans for coming out and supporting us so much,” head coach Cho Sung-hwan told the KFA after the game.
He added, “There are some regrets while playing the seasonal league, FA Cup, and ACL at the same time, but I think the team can improve through these regrets.” He concluded, “I am very grateful to all the members for doing their best, and I want to say thank you for your hard work.”
Midfielder Kim Do-hyuk, who scored the team’s third goal of the game, said, “I wanted to finish well with a win in the last game, but it’s good to get a goal and win. We were able to win thanks to our fans who traveled all the way from the Philippines to support us.”
“The manager, the coaches, the support staff, the secretariat, everyone has worked so hard this season. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of them,” he added.
Meanwhile, of the four K League clubs that competed in the ACL this season, Incheon was the only one to fail to reach the round of 16. The other three teams – Pohang Steelers, Ulsan Hyundai, and Jeonbuk Hyundai – advanced to the tournament.