‘First loss in ACL’ Incheon coach Cho Sung-hwan “It’s a crisis…we have to be alert”

After suffering their first defeat in three matches in their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) debut, K League One Incheon United head coach Cho Sung-hwan has labeled the current situation as a “crisis” amidst a packed schedule.

Speaking after the team’s ACL Group G match against Shandong Taishan (China) at the Incheon Football Stadium on Friday, Cho said, “Football is not a game you win by playing a lot or working hard. You have to score goals to win, and we didn’t capitalize on our chances in the first half,” he reflected.

Earlier in the day, Incheon lost 0-2 to Shandong to suffer their first defeat after two straight wins in their ACL group stage debut.

Incheon welcomed Shandong, led by Choi Kang-hee, into the stadium and threatened the goal through Mugosa and Gerso in the early stages of the match, but could not find the finishing touch and eventually conceded back-to-back goals to their foreign opponents in the second half.

Incheon, who recently drew their last two K League 1 matches and then went winless in the ACL, have also been dealing with injury issues.

Coach Cho Sung-hwan has begun writing the numbers of players who have recently been sidelined with injuries on the caps they wear on the field, including “8” and “20” for Shin Shin-ho and Delbridge, who are out for the season, and “5” for Lee Myung-joo, who was injured against Pohang on the 20th.

Kim Yeon-soo, who had been active in the defense during the game, was also substituted after complaining of muscle pain.

“There are good times and bad times in the season, and I think the situation is a crisis,” Cho said, emphasizing that the team needs to be alert in their respective positions and prepare well to avoid any more problems.”

With the mood somewhat sagging, Incheon will play a league game against Gwangju FC this weekend, followed by the Korea Football Association (FA) Cup, and then a trip to ACL Shandong next month on July 7.

Cho said, “It’s hard for even the most physically fit players to perform well if the games continue like this. I think we need to do a partial rotation,” Cho said, sharing his plans for the team.

“There are dangers lurking in many areas, so we need to prepare well, including thorough self-management and opponent analysis in each position, so that we can produce results in a difficult schedule,” he said, urging the players to work hard. 슬롯게이밍

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