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ACL Matchday 5 Preview: Can Incheon, Ulsan, Jeonbuk get the results they need?



While Pohang Steelers are already through to the AFC Champions League knockout stages, qualification hands in the balance for the three other K League sides. Incheon United need a win over J.League giants Yokohama F. Marinos to move closer to the top two, while Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors need results to keep their destiny in their own hands.

Tuesday 28th November

#ICNvYFM: Incheon United (KOR) 3rd vs. Yokohama F. Marinos (JPN) 1st - 19:00




Back-to-back defeats to Shandong Taishan means that Incheon United's fate in the ACL is no longer in their own hands. Incheon sit third in Group G, three points behind Shandong and their opponents on Tuesday, Yokohama F. Marinos. Incheon, therefore, need to pick a result at home to the Japanese champions and hope that Shandong and Yokohama draw on Matchday 6 to ensure that a win on the final matchday against Kaya could see them through. Yokohama F. Marinos also played on Friday night, drawing 0-0 with Albirex Niigata - a result that paved the way for Vissel Kobe to go on and seal the J1 title. But, in all competitions, Yokohama are on a run of six unbeaten in all competitions.

Incheon, though, will be feeling confident after a rotated side beat champions Ulsan Hyundai 3-1. Of the foreign contingent, only Hernandes made an appearance, doing so off the bench. The win ensured that Incheon remain unbeaten in Final B with two wins and two draws. But the Durumi may have to do without a handful of first-team stars with Stefan Mugoša and Gerso Fernandes both serious doubts and Harrison Delbridge and Shin Jin-ho out for the rest of the season.  

Image via AFC.com




#BGPvUHD: BG Pathum United (THA) 4th vs. Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) 2nd - 19:00

Following defeat in Malaysia against JDT, Ulsan Hyundai's position in Group I has become somewhat precarious. The Horangi are level with JDT on six points, six behind the group leaders Kawasaki Fontale. But, crucially, they sit second on goal difference and on Tuesday face a BG Pathum United side that is yet to win or pick up a single point. Hong Myung-bo's men, then, have their ACL destiny in their own hands. Ulsan began their ACL campaign with a win over BG Pathum, 3-1 at the Munsu thanks to a Martin Adam hat-trick. With group leaders Kawasaki Frontale hosting JDT on Tuesday too, a win for Ulsan and a win for the J.League giants would put Ulsan on the bring of qualification to the knockouts. But the Horangi will need to dust themselves off and bounce back from the 3-1 away to defeat to Incheon last time out. Ulsan have won all three of their meetings with BG Pathum United, scoring seven and conceding just once and have a decent record against Thai teams in general, losing just once in five meetings - a 1-0 reverse away to Muangthong United in 2017. 


Image via AFC.com



FNR



Wednesday 29th November

#KITvJBH: Kitchee SC (HKG) vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR) - 19:00


Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' shock defeat away to Lion City Sailors in Matchday 4 has left the Green Warriors with a bit of a fight on their hands to qualify for the knockouts. Jeonbuk, though, much like Ulsan, have their destiny in their own hands. Sitting second, level on points with Lion City Sailors, Jeonbuk take on the group's basement side Kitchee SC this Wednesday. A win for Dan Petrescu's side and a defeat for Lion City Sailors against Bangkok United would put them three points clear of third heading into the final matchday. Jeonbuk won last time out, earning three points at home to end a run of three matches without a win in all competitions. The Green Warriors began their ACL campaign against Kitchee at home, earning a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Hong Jeong-ho and Han Kyo-won. Jeonbuk's record against Kitchee overall reads played three and won three with 11 goals scored and one conceded.

Image via AFC.com



#POHvHAN: Pohang Steelers (KOR) vs. Hanoi FC (VIE) - 19:00


Pohang Steelers are already through to the knockout stages of the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League having won four from four, including back-to-back wins over the competition's holders Urawa Reds. The Steelers are eight points clear of Urawa Reds and Wuhan Three Towns meaning that Kim Gi-dong's side have already won Group J. Facing the group's basement side, then, could mean some rotation. The Steelers earned a 1-0 win over Daegu FC at the weekend with Coach Kim handing starts to forwards Kang Hyeon-je and Yoon Jae-woon, earning just their second and fifth first-team appearances respectively, while regular U22 quota player, 20-year-old midfielder Kim Jun-ho, started in midfield. It's Pohang's last home game of the season with trips to Gwangju and Wuhan to come between now and the end of the year so will want to end their Steelyard campaign on a high.

Image via AFC.com


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