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Preview: Gwangju FC Vs Incheon United Featuring Connor Chapman

Incheon United, bottom of the K League Classic head south to Jeolla Province on Saturday to take on 10th placed Gwangju FC, with their sights set firmly on launching themselves further up the table and away from the drop zone. A slow start to the campaign left United flirting with the relegation places but after a well-earned win against Sangju on Buddha's birthday, Incheon United's Australian defender Connor Chapman believes that the win could be the catalyst to propel Incheon up the table.
Image courtesy of Incheon United 

Graphic from Soccerway.com
Last Time Out

Hosts Gwangju suffered a heavy lost to Jeonnam in Gwangyang, with the Dragons putting five past a team for the second time already this term thanks to a Jair hat-trick, a Lee Seulchan strike and an injury time goal from Feczesin sealed the points.

Incheon, however, were unlucky to lose away to Gangwon with a late, late goal and a somewhat controversial penalty decision being the major talking points in Pyeongchang. Said penalty being awarded against Chapman who was adjudged to have handled the ball in side the box.

Incheon actually got themselves ahead through Choi Jongwan just after the hour mark before Jin Sunghwan levelled on 77 minutes for Gangwon, Diego Mauricio went on to fire home in the 95th minute to turn the game completely on its head.

Previous Meetings

The most recent meeting between Incheon and Gwangju was in October of last year at Sungui Arena where United comprehensively beat their Jeolla Province counterparts 2-0 in a game that was in the midst of Incheon's incredible run in their bid to avoid the drop,

In the eighth game of an nine game unbeaten run, goals from Kim Yongwan and Jin Sungwook on 51 and 58 minutes respectively sealed the points for Incheon.

Incheon's most recent trip to Guus Hiddink Stadium resulted in a 1-1 draw last August when Kim Dohyuk gave the visitors an early lead inside six minutes only for Jung Jogook to level three minutes later.

In a K League United exclusive interview, Australian defender Connor Chapman offered his thoughts on Incheon's fortunes this term and how he the win against Sangju Sangmu in round 9 has helped to instill some much-needed confidence in the team, despite the set back against Gangwon last time out. 

After the win against Sangju, surely now the mood in the dressing room must have been given a much-needed lift?

Yeah for sure. There were games where we deserved to win or to get something out of the game and we didn't and I think we were unfortunate; there were a few referee calls that went against us too. I think against Seoul there were two goals that were goals but we didn't get. All these things can change games.

We got our first win and it's a massive boost and it gives confidence to everyone in the team and hopefully with that, individually and as a team, we can step up sort of like how Jeonnam did when they first got their win and go on a run.

So you felt that the team were playing well enough but just didn't quite get that little but of luck?

There was probably two games that were didn't deserve to win, but I think most games we were sort of there or there abouts and they could have gone either way. We've had chances but the other teams have taken their chances and won. I think our team is a very good team, I think moving forward we will, for me personally, hopefully get out of that relegation race and move up the table.

With the Under 20 World Cup being in Korea it means that Incheon are away from home for four straight games, after the win at Sangju would it have been more ideal for you to be at home then to try to build on that? How do you feel about being on the road again for another month?

I think, honestly, the level is pretty similar between the teams in the K League and I think for our confidence moving forward, away or at home, even thought it would be nice to win at home in front of our home fans who have been very patient with us, I think going away shouldn't be an issue.

This Incheon team, you talked about how that after the first win you're looking up  to keep climbing the table, how far do you think this Incheon team can go this season?

I think obviously with the slow start it hurts us. We could have a different outcome in five or ten weeks but you never know; the team is a good team and I think that if we get on a run we can definitely hurt teams and if that's top teams or bottom teams, I think we can win. I think now, it's taken a little while to get the same team sticking together. I think you saw that against Ulsan and Sangju and we've won now as well and it's a major thing. Honestly, I don't know where we could end up.

Is it very much a together squad?

I think for sure, yeah. Obviously speaking English and Korean, you're not going to go and try speak English to a Korean who can't speak English but you still make jokes with all them and you can still understand what's going on it's quite enjoyable to go to training.

Despite the win at Sangju, Incheon are still rooted to the foot of the K League Classic table three points heind 11th place Daegu and four points behind Saturday's opponents Gwangju.  United won't play in front of their home fans until mid June, with difficult trips to Jeonbuk and Jeonnam in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for more exclusive interview content with Connor Chapman...

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