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Preview: Jeonnam Dragons v Incheon United

Incheon United make the long trip down to Gwanyang this weekend to face the Jeonnam Dragons in week 13 of the K-League Classic. United are currently propping up the table and desperately in need of the three points to climb back out of the danger zone. The Dragons, meanwhile, recorded their first K-League victory of the season in the reverse fixture in April, and are seeking to make the most of home advantage and bank the three points themselves - to avoid a relegation scrap and push them towards mid-table. Jeonnam correspondents Alex Meyer and Aodan Halligan preview this Sunday's game....
(image via dragons.co.kr)

Last Time Out (Alex Meyer)

In week 12 the Dragons were away to Ulsan, a tough road game for anyone in the league. The first half was a pretty even affair as both teams were a bit unlucky not to find the back of the net. The woodwork and a wayward diving header from Ugo kept the Dragons off the board in the first half and going into the break it looked as if the Dragons knew they’d squandered their chances. The second half was all Ulsan and they finally broke through in the 69th minute with a beautiful move between two ex-Dragons. Lee Jong-Ho set up Oršić with a lovely outside of the foot drop pass and the Croatian shot first time - curling it into the side of the net. That was enough to see the Dragons collect a loss as it finished 1-0.

The Dragons lost to Ulsan on the road the last time out
(image via dragons.co.kr)

Positive takeaways
The Dragons, as they have in most their losses, were in the game until the end and could have easily walked away with at least a point. They attacked with speed and numbers in the first half creating dangerous chances. In the second half, they were under attack and the back line held strong. It took a top-class touch and an equally good finish to see the Dragons off and they kept it interesting until the final whistle.

Unfortunately, the Dragons have now dropped two in row, dampening the excitement that was building around the club coming out of April, but this week we’re at home to the same team we broke our 5-game slump with, Incheon United. The confidence is still high in the looker room and although they're sitting in ninth, only six points separate them from the top 6. With the bulk of the season left to play, a place in the top half of the table - before the split occurs - is still very much alive and has to be the goal for the team. 

The Incheon United team that secured a draw away to Jeonbuk Motors last time out 
(image via incheonutd.com)
Scouting the Opposition: Incheon United (Aodan Halligan)

Even though Incheon are rooted to the bottom of the table, and some of their fans are already entertaining thoughts of relegation, the last two away fixtures have given them hope. A scoreless draw away to Gwangju was followed by an impressive 1-1 draw away to K-League giants - Jeonbuk.

In fact, were it not for an abysmal April, when Incheon United picked up just a solitary point and lost five games in succession, things would definitely seem a lot rosier, as they've lost only once so far in May (a 2-1 defeat away to Gangwon). Nevertheless, United started the month with a one nil victory against Sangju and thus have only lost one of their last four away games.

So who's to say they can't pick up points for their third road game in a row?

Issues to Address
With only 10 goals scored from their first 12 games, Incheon are the second lowest goalscorers in the Classic this season. Midfielder Moon Seon-min and attackers Song Si-woo and Kim Dae-kyung are top goalscorers with a modest two goals each so coach Lee Ki-hyung needs to coax a lot more goals out of the team, and in particular out of misfiring foreign forwards - Dalibor Veselinović and Weslley Smith Alves Feitosa
Incheon United's Dalibor Veselinović has struggled in front of goal this season
(image via static0.hln.be)

Indeed, 29-year-old Russian, Veselinović hasn't managed to score in his first nine games, while former Dragons forward, 25-year-old Brazilian, Weslley, has scored only once from 12 games. Clearly, both need to contribute a lot more. 

Former Dragons' favorite Weslley now plays for Incheon United.
(image via english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

At the other end, along with this weekend's opponents, the Jeonnam Dragons (and Sangju FC), Incheon have conceded the joint second most goals - 19 in 12 games -  in the league. They've improved lately defensively, however, with only three goals conceded in their last four games. But can they shut out a potent Dragons' outfit - who've scored 15 goals from a total of six home K-League games - in their own backyard?

Incheon United's Goalkeeper, Lee Tae-hee (in red), in action versus Jeonbuk last weekend
(image via sportsseoul.com)

One to Watch

Lee Tae-hee has been in fine form for Incheon over the last few games. The 22-year-old goalkeeper, who's represented Korea at underage levels, has helped tighten Incheon's rearguard and could prove a formidable obstacle for Jeonnam's free-scoring team.

Can Incheon Secure Another Share of the Spoils?

Although the Dragons have struggled over the last few weeks, 75% of their matches this season have seen over 2.5 goals and they have also scored in 100% of their home matches. Therefore, most experts fancy Jeonnam to score.

However, 75% of Incheon United's points this season have come away from home and they've proved a tough outfit to defeat on the road in recent weeks. 

So will they be able to secure another score draw?


Alex: Nope! Despite the last two results the Dragons are still the same team we saw in April and are dangerous for anyone in the league. This week the result will reflect the strong side they are. 

3-0 Dragons.

Aodan: Even though Incheon have improved recently - especially on the road - the Dragons offence will prove too strong and I don't think they'll be able to get anything from this. So I predict a relatively comfortable victory for the Dragons, too (with Weslley coming back to haunt us for a while by scoring Incheon's only goal of the game).

Jeonnam Dragons 3 Incheon United 1.

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