Incheon United’s Kim Dong-min is looking forward to the Korea-Japan match against the Japanese team.
Incheon United (South Korea) defeated Hai Phong FC (Vietnam) 3-1 in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Champions League (ACL) playoffs for the 2023-24 season at the Incheon Football Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22. With the win, Incheon advances to the knockout stages of the ACL.메이저사이트
It was a tough match. Incheon got off to a tough start, conceding a goal early in the first half. Fortunately, they were able to equalize early on to even the score. However, not only did they not score another goal, but they also gave up a number of dangerous chances. The game eventually went into extra time, where goals from Hernandez and Gerso were enough to secure a spot in the knockout stages.
Five players played the full 120 minutes on the day, including Kim Dong-min, Mugosa, Jung Dong-yoon, Delbridge, and Kim Dong-heon. Kim Dong-heon is a goalkeeper, so he’s less physically demanding, but the rest of the field players were to die for.
After the game, Kim Dong-min posted a photo on his personal social media with less than 20% battery. It must have been hard. In a phone interview with ‘Interfootball’ on the 23rd, Kim Dong-min said, “I posted it because I was tired. I’ve been playing since July 12 against Ulsan. Our plan was to score a lot of goals in the first half, seal the victory quickly within 90 minutes and play players who hadn’t played before, but it didn’t work out that way. We ended up playing a lot of 120 minutes, and it’s been the hardest we’ve played this year. We have a league game on Friday, so we want to recover well and give our fans something to look forward to. If we win, we have a chance to go to a higher ranking, so we need to be more motivated and work hard without giving up.”
“I would like to meet a Japanese team, because Japanese players kick the ball well and their teams have good infrastructure. If we win against a Japanese team, we can create the perception that Incheon is a stronger team than Japan. And it’s a Korea-Japan match. So, I really want to win against the Japanese team.”
Q. How did you feel about the Hai Phong match?
A. “For the first time in my professional career, I played against an Asian team instead of a K League team. I think it was a good lesson. Since it was a different country, it was difficult to understand the tempo and player information that was different from ours. I realized that the Asian stage is hard and difficult.”
Q. It must have been difficult to stop Hai Phong’s No. 10.
A. “Our coach watched the Hai Phong vs. Hong Kong Rangers game, and our power analyst provided us with the Hai Phong game, so we prepared based on that, but the actual game was very different. I had to defend the No. 10, and I had a hard time because he was so physical. Not only was he big and strong, but he also had speed. We were physically weaker. There will be a lot of stronger teams in the final, so I’ll have to be better prepared.”
Q. The early concession must have been going through your minds.
A. “I think every player panicked because it didn’t go as planned. I panicked a lot, too, and I wanted to know what to do, but Mugosa said, ‘Stay calm. You can do it. Let’s do it again,’ and he was soothing. So I calmed down a lot. However, we didn’t take the initiative in the game, but rather defended a lot. There were many times when we pressed and Hai Phong released the pressure. I kept thinking, ‘What should I do?'”
Q. You played the full 120 minutes. You posted a picture of your battery on Instagram.
A. “I posted it because it was hard. I’ve been playing since July 12 against Ulsan. Our plan was to score a lot of goals in the first half, try to seal the win quickly within 90 minutes and play players who hadn’t played before, but it didn’t work out that way. We ended up playing a lot of 120 minutes, and it’s been the hardest we’ve played this year. We have a league game on Friday, so we want to recover well and give our fans something to look forward to. If we win, we have a chance to go even higher in the standings, so we have to be more motivated and not give up.”
Q. Can you play against Suwon FC?
A. “If the coach allows me to play, I can play (Dajeon). As a player, I’m happier to play than not to play. I want to play unconditionally. It’s hard for every player, but I’m preparing well because it’s about increasing my value.”
Q. You are a member of Incheon One Club. What does it mean to you to qualify for the ACL main stage?
A. “We were in the relegation zone from 2016 to 2020. I made my debut in 2017 and the team was hovering around the relegation zone. Everyone said Incheon couldn’t go to the top split or the ACL. Luckily, after I got out of the military, Incheon went to the top split and finished fourth. And they qualified for the ACL, so I was happy. I’m happy, but I think (Kim) Do-hyuk is probably more emotional because he suffered more than me. Do-hyuk suffered more than I did. Of course, (Lee) Tae-hee also had a tough experience. They went through a tough gateway after the game, so I promised myself to be more alert and prepared for the main event and go beyond the group stage to the round of 16.”
Q. What were the players talking about?
A. “In the locker room, Mugosa said, ‘We made a history in Incheon. You can be proud because you are part of that history. We played a tough game tonight, but we deserve to enjoy it. ‘ (Oh) Ban-seok said, ‘Let’s enjoy today and tomorrow and prepare well for the upcoming game against Suwon FC,’ (Lee) Myeong-joo said, ‘Let’s just enjoy today and prepare well for the game against Suwon FC so that we can win unconditionally,’ and (Lee) Myeong-joo said, ‘Let’s learn from what we lacked in Hai Phong and show a good performance in the ACL main event.’ I thought we had an easy time in Hai Phong, but we let our guard down, so he said, ‘Let’s learn from today’s game, be alert, and do well in the ACL.”
Q. How far do you want to go in the ACL Main Stage?
A. “Of course, I want to go to the finals. (Laughs.) I think if we do our best in the time we have and do well, the results will be great. I know that Daegu made it to the round of 16 in 2022. I want to break Daegu’s record and win more games.”
Q. Are there any teams or leagues you’d like to see in the ACL?
A. “I would like to meet a Japanese team. Japanese players kick the ball well and their teams have good infrastructure. If we win against a Japanese team, we can create the perception that Incheon is a stronger team than Japan. And it’s a Korea-Japan match. So we really want to beat the Japanese team.”
Q. Incheon seems to be a military base. After the match against Gwangju FC, you said something stinging.
A. “I’m the middle man. I think it’s difficult for the older players to speak out loud to the younger ones, so I think it’s up to me or (Moon) Ji-hwan or the ’94 generation to do it. I was really pissed off that day. I wanted the players who came on as substitutes to give us more energy and participate in defense, but I couldn’t see that, so I said something. Before the Gwangju game, Ban-seok had asked the players who came on as substitutes in the Daegu game. I told them, “Don’t take what the captain said last week for granted.” I felt like they were devaluing themselves, even though they have a lot of affection and are very good players. They worked hard to get to the pros, and they worked hard to get there. I felt sorry for them because they were tearing themselves down. After the match, I came home and (Kim) Bo-seop sent me a private KakaoTalk message, saying, ‘Thank you for being bitter. I think I needed that. I’ll stick to the basics and do well in the next match. In Hai Phong, (Chun) Sung-hoon also increased his value by scoring the equalizer. Bo-seob also played defense and offense at wingback, which is not his position. I think they made the changes I told them, so I’m grateful.”
Q. From what I heard, you are a military commander. Do you have any aspirations to captain Incheon in the future?
A. “I haven’t played the role of captain yet in my soccer career. Personally, I would like Ji-hwan-i, who was the captain at Sangsung, to do it. He is also a military captain. We are both military leaders, but there are more fights on the field than I am, and there are more times when he says something to the boys. I think it would be better for me to help him (as a vice captain).”
Q. You’ve played over 100 games for Incheon. What are your goals for the future?
A. “I haven’t had any major injuries in my professional career. I want to have a safe season without any major injuries, and I want to improve my performance. Also, I’m going to the ACL tournament, so if I do well at that stage, I’ll be able to show my value to other countries. The goal is to increase my value and the value of the team.”
Q. What would you like to say to the Incheon fans?
A. “Yesterday in Hai Phong, despite the rain, a lot of fans came and supported us. I think they might have been dissatisfied with our performance in the first, second, and overtime, but they supported us until the end and helped us win. The players will do their best to achieve good results in the ACL main event, and I hope they will support us until the end.”