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Preview: Incheon United vs Suwon Bluewings


Both Suwon and Incheon head into this game off the back of missed opportunities in midweek and know that nothing less than 3 points will be acceptable in their respective quests for Champions League football and to escape the dreaded drop to the Kleague Challenge. 
(image courtesy of www.bluewings.kr)

Last Time Out

Suwon's poor home form continued on Tuesday night as they lost 3-2 to Jeju United. Jeju began the game brightly and scored their first of the night courtesy of a hopeful 80 yard punt forward from centre back Aleksander Jovanovic, which was comically misjudged by Shin Hwa-yong in the Suwon nets. Jeju then went further ahead after a left wing cross found it's way to a loosely marked Jin Sung-wook who made no mistake from 6 yards out.

Despite being outplayed for much of the game, Suwon showed a lot of fight and pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time via a Santos header only for Yoon Bit-garam to score a beautiful goal early in the 2nd half.

Suwon then saw themselves reduced to ten man after another debatable VAR decision judged that Kwak Kwang-seon had stamped on an opposing player. But despite Jeju's numerical advantage Suwon scored their 2nd of the night when Lee Jong-sung thundered home a shot from the edge of the area. Suwon continued to press and came agonizingly close to scoring an equaliser, but it was the island team that came away with all three points and continued their march up the table.

While Suwon struggled at home, Incheon picked up a vital point in their bid to avoid the relegation play-off as they drew 0-0 away to Jeonnam. In a game of few clear cut chances Incheon may consider themselves lucky to have avoided defeat as it was the home side that pressed for much of the game. Nevertheless, Incheon went on to record their 4th consecutive clean sheet and improve their chances of remaining the the Kleague Classic for another year.

Team News

The big team news for Suwon is that Johnathan remains sidelined with the fractured bone that he picked up against Seoul a month ago. The striker will see a specialist next week and may get the all clear to resume full training earlier than expected but he will probably still not return to the team until the middle of October.

With Park Ki-dong putting in a less than impressive performance against Jeju in midweek the door may be opened for the return of Kim Gun-hee. The young striker who impressed so much in his debut season last year has found his opportunities limited this term but he produced a bright display when he came on for the last 10 minutes on Wednesday night and he may have done enough to persuade Seo Jung-won to start him this weekend.

One piece of good news for Suwon fans was the return of Kim Jong-woo from injury on Wednesday night. The central midfielder made his first appearance since August and his guile and skill in central areas has been severely missed.

The Adversary

An abysmal start to the season left Incheon languishing in the bottom two for most of the last 6 months. However, their recent unexpected turn of form has now seen them slowly edge away from the danger of immediate relegation and it now looks like they are in a straight shootout with Daegu, Sangju and Jeonnam to avoid the relegation playoff.

Their overly defensive approach has been criticised by some but has been the catalyst for their steady rise away from danger and a shift in position for Connor Chapman has been key to their new successful approach. The big defender has been the linchpin in Incheon's recent unbeaten run of 6 games and if they are to avoid the drop then the big Australian will be vital to their cause.

Prediction

On paper, it would appear that Suwon were well beaten by Jeju in midweek. But what the final scoreline didn't reflect was the fact that they were not only up against a very talented Jeju team, but also up against an incompetent referee who heavily favoured the away team in almost every decision he made. And despite being up against those odds Suwon put in a spirited performance that they should be proud of.

With a game against Jeonbuk upcoming next week and with the end of season split lurking around the corner this game takes on extra significance. Suwon's record against teams in the top half of the table has been so bad this season that they simply can't afford to not win this game if they harbor any ambitions to at least finish in 3rd place.

However, playing against a tough and stubborn Incheon rearguard, which hasn't been breached for 4 games, may be too tough of a challenge for a team lacking any real goalscorer. This game may well be one for the purists.

Incheon 0-1 Suwon


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