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Professional soccer club Incheon United’s chances of reaching the round of 16 in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) faded after a 1-3 loss to Shandong Taishan (China), coached by Choi Kang-hee.

Incheon, coached by Cho Sung-hwan, conceded a second-half own goal and a penalty kick to Shandong in their 2023-2024 ACL Group G match on Sunday at the Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Shandong province, China, and lost 1-3.

With its second straight loss to Shandong, Incheon improved to 2-2-2 (6 points) in the group stage.

They are in danger of losing second place in the group to Yokohama depending on the outcome of the upcoming Yokohama F.Marinos (Japan – 6 points) – Kaya Iloilo (Philippines – 0 points) match.

In the ACL East Asia Group Stage, the first-place team from each group and the three best-performing teams from the second-place group advance to the Round of 16.

With three wins and one loss, Shandong further solidified its position atop the group (9 points).

Coach Choi Kang-hee, who won six K League titles and two ACL titles with Jeonbuk Hyundai, has been leading Shandong since May this year.

Incheon tried to compete aggressively in the midfield, narrowing the passing lanes to Shandong’s frontline striker Marouane Fellaini as much as possible.

This, coupled with breakthroughs from Kim Bo-seop on the left and Park Seung-ho on the right, allowed Incheon to dominate the game and increase their ball possession to 57% in the first half.

However, like Shandong, Incheon was unable to capitalize on the decisive scoring chances.

The closest they came to scoring was in the 31st minute when Kim Yeon-soo’s deflected header off a Mpoku free-kick cross went just wide of the post.

At the start of the second half, Incheon brought Mugosa to the bench and inserted the speedy Hernandez, but this time, the goal hunt was not fruitful.

In the fourth minute of the second half, Min Kyung-hyun received a pass from Park Seung-ho and fired a shot from a no-mark situation that went just wide to the right of the goal.

In the end, the first goal belonged to Shandong.

In the ninth minute of the second half, Li Yuanyi scored the first goal with a right-footed shot in a chaotic situation.

Incheon squandered a crucial scoring opportunity in the 11th minute of the second half.

Kim Bo-seop’s back-heeled pass to Hernandez, who finished with a right-footed shot from the front of the goal area, hit the right post.

Incheon pulled one back in the 20th minute on an own goal after a backpass error by Lee Kwon-jin.

In the 30th minute, they conceded a penalty kick goal from Shandong Krijang.

Earlier, Hong Shihu was adjudged to have committed a foul by pushing Li Hailong inside the penalty area.

Incheon pulled one back in stoppage time when Kim Do-hyuk scored a lob over the goalkeeper’s head to avoid defeat. 사설토토

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