Incheon United continued their winning streak with consecutive dramatic goals.
On the 16th, Incheon United secured a thrilling 2-0 victory against Daejeon Citizen in the 23rd round of the ‘2023 Hana 1Q K-League 1’ at the Incheon Football Stadium, thanks to consecutive late goals just before the end of the match.
With two consecutive wins and an unbeaten run of four matches (3 wins, 1 draw), Incheon United reached 30 points (7 wins, 9 draws, 7 losses), leveling with Daejeon (7th) and Jeju (8th), maintaining their position at 9th place due to goal difference. Incheon achieved consecutive wins for the first time this season, after a gap of 323 days.
Incheon United started the home game with an unprecedented lively atmosphere. Having defeated the table-toppers Ulsan Hyundai 2-1 in the previous 22nd round, they were on a streak of unbeaten matches (2 wins, 1 draw).
Additionally, the return of their beloved mercenary Mugosa from Vissel Kobe in Japan last summer brought even more excitement, and his first public appearance was celebrated with great fanfare.
Despite facing some setbacks due to late COVID-19 infections among players, Incheon’s entry formation was not greatly affected, thanks to the passionate support of the home fans.
On the other side, Daejeon came prepared for a fierce battle. Having faced Incheon United twice this season, with 1 draw and 1 loss, they were eager to break their streak of five consecutive draws.
A victory in this match would have allowed them to re-enter the top six group. Daejeon’s coach, Lee Min-sung, expressed his determination to balance the head-to-head record with Incheon this season and start the third round of the regular league on a positive note, stating, “We’re not affected by Incheon’s recent win against Ulsan.
We have beaten Ulsan before, and we will strive to achieve balance in our head-to-head matches against Incheon and decorate the beginning of the third round of the league with a positive result.”
Incheon United and Daejeon Citizen both strived to revive the atmosphere, albeit for different reasons, but the weight of their determination was equally intense.
Throughout the first half, both teams engaged in an intense back-and-forth battle, but they failed to create decisive opportunities. It was all sparks without real fire.
While Incheon had only one shot in the first half, Daejeon showed more aggression with three shots (two on target), but it wasn’t enough to trouble Incheon’s defense. Even Daejeon’s new recruit, Gu Taek, who made his starting debut, couldn’t produce any remarkable scenes.
Daejeon’s coach, Lee Min-sung, as promised before the game, opted to go all out in the second half, taking into account the hot and humid weather.
He made changes by bringing in Kim In-kyun and Shin Sang-won at the start of the second half in an attempt to bring about a transformation.
However, it was Incheon who showed more vigor in the second half. Seemingly targeting the latter part of the match, Incheon repeatedly threatened Daejeon’s penalty area, relying on their foreign trio of Jair, Um Won-sang, and Cesinha.
Daejeon responded with determination. The intense battle between the two teams heated up even more in the second half, and it seemed to be a back-and-forth affair that would end with futile attacks.
However, Incheon’s perseverance was even more impressive. In the 83rd minute of the second half, after persistent attacks on the opponent’s goal, Hernandes and Jair finally found the net.
Hernandes received a through pass in the backline, penetrated deep into the left side, and delivered a precise cross. Jair, with perfect timing, stormed in and scored with his left foot.
The dramatic game-winning goal was met with cheers from the crowd, and the camera captured the moment when the returning Mugosa stood up from the stands and applauded.
But the celebration for Mugosa’s comeback didn’t end there. In the 92nd minute of added time, Hernandes, who had assisted Jair’s goal, struck a beautiful left-footed turning shot from an acute angle, sending Incheon fans into a frenzy.
Hernandes’ stunner was aided by Jair. They complemented each other, resolving challenges with a perfect partnership between the two foreign recruits. 토토