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Preview: Incheon United vs Ulsan Hyundai

Preview: Incheon United Vs Ulsan Hyundai K League 1 Round 14
It's the final game before the World Cup break for both Incheon United and Ulsan Hyundai, and the break couldn't come sooner for 11th placed Incheon. Can they finish this Spring section of the season on a high after a less-than flattering first 13 rounds. Ulsan, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from their 3-0 defeat away to Suwon Bluewings in midweek which saw the Horangi's run in the ACL come to an abrupt end.
(Image via K League)

Last Time Out

Sangju Sangmu 3-2 Incheon United

It was a case of a game of two halves last weekend as Incheon fell 3-2 on the road against Sangju Sangmu. Sangju opened up a three goal lead before half time and Incheon looked a bit of a shambles at the back as a result. However the Durumi rallied in the second half, scoring twice via Mugoša and Lee Yun-pyo in the space of seven minutes to recover some pride.

Highlights: here

Ulsan Hyundai 1-1 Gyeongnam FC

Ulsan were held last weekend in the league at home against this season's surprise package Gyeongnam. The Horangi rotated their squad a little due to the ACL game against Suwon Bluewings and it showed at times. Kim Do-hoon's men took a first half lead thanks to a Hwang Il-soo penalty. However the sending off of Jung Jae-yong turned the tide in the favour of the visitors and Brazilian striker Marcão scored his 10th of the season to see the points shared.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon and Ulsan played each other at the end of last month with Ulsan claiming a narrow 2-1 win, thanks partly to some VAR fortune and an unlucky own goal. It was a point lost for Incheon in the end.

Over the years Incheon and Ulsan have played each other 43 times with Ulsan dominating the number of victories by twenty-one to twelve. Incheon last won at home against Ulsan back in 2014, winning 2-0 with Choi Jong-hwan scoring the winner. Ulsan won at the Sungui Arena Park last season 2-1.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's only possible representative at the 2018 World Cup in Russia is Winger Moon Seon-min. Moon has six goals in 13 games so far this season making him the top Korean goalscorer in the K League. He's quick, committed and has excellent awareness. He also created both Incheon goals last weekend against Sangju.

Another Incheon International is Montenegrin striker Stefan Mugoša. The former Sheriff Tiraspol man has seven goals this season, including one last weekend against Sangju.

Finally at the back it once again the key issue for Incheon. The Neroazurre conceded three goals before half time and none of the backline looked up for the job. The Sungui Arena faithful will be hoping that the caretaker manager will change things up and maybe even call up a few of the youngsters.

As for Ulsan Hyundai Croatian forward Mislav Oršić has been the dangerman moving forward for them in the K League. He had a poor game during the week against Suwon and missed an important penalty kick which could have sent Ulsan through on away goals and so will be looking to bounce back come Sunday. Therefore, the former Jeonnam Dragons winger could be seen as the key player Incheon need to stop in order to pickup some points against Ulsan.

Adversary (by Dan Croydon)

Ulsan will have a hard time picking themselves up for this fixture after their humiliating exit from the Asian Champions League on Wednesday night which showed yet again that manager Kim Do-hoon does not know how to chase a game. After some uncharacteristically soft defending gave Suwon the lead on aggregate, the Tigers needed to come out for the second half, claws sharpened and hungry for that all important away goal. However having barely mustered a growl, Kim’s side left the Big Bird with their tails between their legs, to the sound of Suwon fans crowing.

It's an all too familiar tale for Ulsan fans who had been led to believe that Kim Do-hoon's negative tactics were a thing of the past. It was looking promising for a while too as Ulsan made it out of a difficult ACL group, scoring fifteen goals in the process. Fans were even willing to overlook a string of mediocre K League results as Kim prioritized reaching the last eight of the continental competition for the first time since 2012. But after admitting his team were “not ready” for Wednesday night’s second leg, some have been asking where all that extra time and energy was being spent. Certainly not on learning how to break teams down.

Now the World Cup break cannot come soon enough for the Horangi. It will be an opportunity to reflect and refocus on a league campaign that been stalling and spluttering for weeks. With Lee Jong-ho and Junior returning from injury soon, Ulsan have the potential to a much more dangerous side when play resumes in July. Unfortunately, with Kim at the helm, that potential will most likely continue to go to waste.

Prediction

Incheon haven't won since the second week of the season and have only a single point from their last eight games. They can certainly score goals, but they just cannot seem to stop giving them away. A new manager is inbound and will be no doubt tasked with steadying the ship. However this game against Ulsan might be a little too soon for Incheon's recovery, and despite Ulsan playing ACL games in recent weeks, I see them having enough to take home all three points. A result that could leave Incheon bottom heading into the World Cup break.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai

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