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Preview: Ulsan Hyundai vs Incheon United

Preview: Ulsan Hyundai Vs Incheon United K League 1 Round 9
Incheon United make the long trip south on Wednesday night to face an Ulsan Hyundai side unbeaten in six in all competitions and steadily climbing the K League 1 table. Incheon, on the other hand, are without a win since round two, but their record at Ulsan is not to be sniffed at. Can they defy the odds again and return north with a famous victory? Dan Croydon previews this one with help from Tim Barnes.

Game: Ulsan Hyundai vs. Incheon United
Venue: Munsu Stadium, Ulsan
Kick Off: Wednesday 25th April, 7.30pm KST

Last Time Out

Ulsan returned home last Sunday evening with just a point when they so easily could, and perhaps should have, had all three. They let several first-half chances go to waste in an entertaining goalless draw at Gyeongnam.

Top scorer Junior missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when Oršić's cutback found him on the near post. The red-hot Brazilian could only scuff the ball into the near-post side-netting though. Fellow striker Hwang Il-soo came closest to scoring just before halftime. Some excellent footwork gave him a yard to get his shot away and across the keeper but it only found the upright and was cleared before Oršić could pounce on the rebound.

Image via K League
Perhaps a draw was a fair result in the end, as Gyeongnam also created some good chances on the break, most notably through their Japanese youngster Kunimoto. In the end though, Ulsan recorded a third clean sheet in a row, but having dictated so much of the game, they will have been disappointed not to get the win.

Gyeongnam 0-0 Ulsan 
Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon have been something of a bogey team for Ulsan over recent years. In fact, the two teams have very similar records in meetings at the Munsu: Ulsan have won nine, Incheon eight, with six games ending even. Last season Incheon famously brought then high-flying Ulsan's eight-match unbeaten run to an end when they came from behind to win 2-1 - Wesley and Choi Jung-hwan with the goals that sent the Incheon faitfhul home happy.

Ulsan's last home win over Incheon in the league was way back at the start of the 2014 season when the Horangi ran out 3-0 winners. They were helped by the fact Incheon played much of the game with ten men - that man Choi Jung-hwan having seen red after just 20 minutes.

Team News

With both midweek and weekend fixtures booked solid for the next month or so Kim Do-hoon will inevitably have to rotate his lineup. He opted to play full-strength XI against Gyeongnam at the weekend, so we can expect to see a good few changes when Incheon come to town.

An injury may well have forced Kim's hand when it comes to his selection upfront. A disappointing game for Junior Negrão last Sunday in Changwon got even worse when he limped off just after the hour mark.  The in-form striker went down clutching his knee with no one around him, indicating a muscle problem that may well keep him on the sidelines beyond the visits of Incheon and Jeonnam this week. Yohei Toyoda will be hoping to step in and score his long-awaited first goals in Ulsan colours.

The Adversary

by Tim Barnes

Incheon United have a solid record over the years against Ulsan Hyundai, especially when playing away from home. They’ve picked up three wins down on the South East coast over the past two seasons, so it’s almost like a second home.

However, the Durumi have struggled in the league recently, losing their last three games on the bounce, including an injury-time defeat to Suwon Bluewings at the weekend. Players have been moved around but replacing average squad players with yet more average squad players highlights a lack of strength and depth in the squad.

Incheon United 2-3 Suwon Samsung Bluewings 
Highlights: here

So heading into the game against Ulsan Hyundai I see a few changes to the starting XI, with the 'keeper and a couple of defenders rotating. Upfront it should stay the same and I see Incheon sticking with their 4-5-1 formation.

Montenegrin striker Stefan Mugoša (right) in action for Incheon. (Image via K League)
Watch out for Montenegrin striker Stefan Mugoša, who has five goals in seven games since joining at the start of the season. He wasn’t on the scoresheet on Sunday but he looked dangerous and Suwon had him marked closely.

Prediction

Dan's Prediction: Despite Incheon's good record at Munsu it is hard not to predict a win for the Horangi. Their backup squad played well last Wednesday in the final ACL group game away at Kawasaki Frontale - from 2-0 down at halftime they fought their way back to get a draw, showing Ulsan's strength in depth. The likes of Lee Young-jae and Kim In-sung will be able to create enough chances and even if they are without their top scorer Junior, Ulsan should bag a couple to win the game.

Ulsan Hyundai 2-0 Incheon United

Tim's Prediction: Incheon have a solid record against Ulsan over the years. However there is a gulf in comparative form between the sides recently, Ulsan have it and Incheon don’t - Ulsan coming out on top in a close game.

 Ulsan Hyundai 2-1 Incheon United




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