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Preview: Incheon United vs Gyeongnam FC

Incheon United and Gyeongnam FC are two sides desperately looking for some winning form heading into the final five K League games before the World Cup break, but who will come out on top on Sunday afternoon as they come up against one another?

Last Time Out

Ulsan Hyundai 2-1 Incheon United
Incheon fell to yet another defeat during the week. Two sloppy early goals ended up being the difference, with defensive issues and bad luck being to blame. Stefan Mugosa scored a second half consolation goal as Incheon improved, but Ulsan were able to hold on.

Suwon Bluewings 3-1 Gyeongnam FC
Gyeongnam also lost during week, as they had no answer to a powerful looking Suwon side. Two first half goal and another shortly after half time meant it was a long journey back home for the traveling fans.Park Ji-Soo scored in injury time but it was too little to late in the end.

Previous Meetings

Three and a half years have past since the last time Incheon and Gyeongnam crossed paths. Last time out the game ended in a 1-1 draw and it wasn't exactly a classic, both sides were depth in the relegation battle and seemed to settle for a point in the end. Lee Seok-Hyun (now at FC Seoul) opened the scoring for Incheon in the first half. Serbian Stojanović (now playing in Thailand) equalized in the second half.

Over the years Incheon and Gyeongnam have played each other 24 times with Gyeongnam edging the number of victories by nine to four.  Two of Incheon's four victories came twice at home with the last win coming in August 2014. However, Gyeongnam last beat Incheon away in 2009 with a young Kim Dong-Chan scoring an injury time winner.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's Montenegrin striker Stefan Mugoša once again got onto the scoresheet during the week, heading home his sixth of the season. Sadly he also scored an unlucky own-goal but there was little he could have done about it. He seem the only target for Incheon moving forward and will be key on Sunday.

In midfield, Australian Appiah-Kubi has continued to worry K League defences with his quick turn of pace and commitment. He might lack a little finesse, but makes up for it with heart. Finally, while Incheon have looked poor defensively this season, with the only exception being Gordan Bunoza. The tall Croatian has finally settled into K League life and has been the only defender to play every game so far this season.

As for Gyeongnam, in my opinion their are a couple of key players in their squad. Firstly there is Brazilian center forward Marcão who scored six goals in the opening four games of the season. He's not scored in 4 games, but is certainly dangerous and will be hopeful of scoring against a shaky Incheon defence. Secondly, experienced defensive midfielder Ha Sung-Min has slotted into the side nicely since his move from J2-League side Kyoto Sanga. He's not flashy but he gets the job done.

The Adversary

The Adversary Gyeongnam head into the clash at the weekend after a 3-1 loss midweek at Suwon Bluewings. It was a toothless performance from The Reds,  especially in the first half and their play in general has been a worry for the fans of the club in the past few weeks. It is now no wins in five games for the South Gyeongsan side.

 Despite their fantastic start to their league campaign, their game management from the manager and players on the pitch alike has to come into question. It is a squad with bags of talent and this was clearly evident in the first month of the season. The manager Kim Jung-boo really needs to find an alternative to his playing style. In the first few weeks,  Gyeongnam were an unknown entity in the K League 1 as a newly promoted side. Teams did not know how to play against them initially. Since then, other clubs have done their homework on them and are finding it easier to play against them now.

If Gyeongnam are to succeed in this tough league, they need to think of an alternative way of playing, a plan B or even plan C if you like. There is plenty to ponder for The Reds going into the clash this Sunday against Incheon. This is a crucial part of the season for Gyeongnam. If they are to establish themselves in this league, it is these tricky away games against youthful energetic sides like Incheon that they should be trying to pick up maximum points from.
by James Edrupt


Both Incheon and Gyeongnam started the 2018 season strongly, Gyeongnam even topped the table for a few weeks, but April has been a month to forget with both sides winless in the past five rounds. Incheon continue to concede sloppy goals in games they should at least draw if not better. Gyeongnam have also struggled defensively, but their early form upfront seems to have died off as well. Sunday will be a big game for both sides as on paper either could walk away with all three points. However I'm not sure either currently has the cutting edge or defensive steadiness to do the job on Sunday. Either side could win, but I see it ending in a draw.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-1 Gyeongnam FC

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