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Preview: Pohang Steelers v Incheon United

The weather's getting colder and the leaves on the trees are starting the show there autumnal colours, that means that the K League is drawing to a close. Incheon United haven’t exactly had a season to remember but are still very much in contention of avoiding relegation. United travel to Pohang Steelers on Saturday afternoon, a side who have been equally unimpressive during 2017. The bottom half of the K League is super close and therefore any points are basically worth double.
(image via [IUFC Press])


Last Time Out

Incheon United lost 2-0 away to Gangwon FC last time out, ensuring that the Durumi remained level on points with fellow strugglers Jeonnam Dragons and Sangju Sangmu. A Diego strike on 66 minutes and a spot kick from veteran striker Jung Jo-gook secured the points for Gangwon.

Pohang Steelers came from behind to rescue a draw at home to Suwon Bluewings. Suwon took the lead through Park Gi-Dong but eventually lost the lead with Yang Dong-Hyun bagging a later equaliser to see the spoils shared at the Steel Yard.

Previous Meetings 

August 20th: Incheon United 2-0 Pohang Steelers 

This was maybe the best Incheon performance of the season as goals in either half claimed a well deserved three points. Two first team regulars Han Suk-Jong and Choi Jong-Hwan scored the goals. This is one of three wins in four games for Incheon, it’s a shame they couldn’t play like that on a regular basis.

In 2017 season Pohang have won twice, whilst Incheon have one win and there haven’t drawn since April 2015. One of their more memorable clashes came back in June 2012, a game played behind closed doors due to crowd trouble in the Incheon-Daejeon game a few months earlier. That game ended 1-1.

Over the years these sides have have played each other 41 times in the K League, with the record being surprisingly even.

Pohang Wins: 16
Incheon United Wins: 13
Draws: 12

Who To Watch

There are a number of standout players for both sides, players who may move to bigger K League sides at the end of the season.

Incheon United

Thirty-three-year defender old Lee Yun-Pyo may not be the most famous name on the teamsheet but he’s the most regular, and after amassing 195 games for Incheon over seven seasons, shows his loyalty and ability to adapt to new managers and teammates.

The current top goalscorer, Song Si-Woo, has developed a super-sub reputation this season. He’s made 28 appearances but only played the full 90 four times. Finally, Australian defensive
midfielder Connor Chapman found his place in the team following a slow start. He blends well between the defensive and midfield, plus he can grab the rare goal.

Pohang Steelers

With 17 goals this season and 30 over the past two, centre forward Yang Dong-Hyun is the best Korean striker at the moment in the K League and should be on the plane to Russia for next years World Cup. He scores important goals as well as assisting others.

Brazilian Midfielder Lulinha has been the best foreign signing Pohang have, maybe in years. He creates and he scores. Also Pohang have only lost once this season when he’s scored.

Prediction

Despite the fact that over the past few years Pohang and Incheon rarely have drawn, I see this ending all-square. With five post-split games in the K League neither side will want to lose any ground, especially Incheon. It could be a cagey game with the focus being on deep play and possible counter attacks, because Pohang are weak at the back and Incheon weak going forward.

Pohang Steelers 1-1 Incheon United

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