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K League Coach: Incheon United vs FC Seoul Analysis

Incheon United Manager Jørn Andersen
Six weeks ago Incheon United turned to former North Korea national coach Jørn Andersen to turn around their disappointing season. Two draws and two heavy defeats later they faced off against local rivals FC Seoul in the Gyeongin Derby, who were having a somewhat disappointing campaign of their own. The K League Coach returns with a look at how the Durumi made it three games unbeaten against FC Seoul after Sunday's 2-1 win at Sungui Arena.
(Image via K League)

Game Information

Team: Incheon United
Opposition: FC Seoul
Date: July 22nd 2018
Competition: K League 19
Number of report: 1

Match Overview

Thanks to a late winner from Moon Seon-min Incheon United claimed their first win under their new coach and heaped more misery on FC Seoul. A disciplined performance paired with an energetic attack was enough to overcome their local rivals, as FC Seoul continued to struggle to break down well organised opponents.

Line Up

Incheon lined up on paper in a 4-4-2 formation, making only two changes from the team that suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Suwon Bluewings in midweek. Go Seul-ki came into midfield and Nam Jun-jae started on the wing with Moon dropping to the bench.

Defensive Structure

Incheon opted to form a defensive block just inside Seoul's half. The strikers would try to deny passes from Seoul defenders into central midfield areas and force play long and direct down one side. Two tight compact banks of four were formed behind the front two again restricting central attacks and forcing play wide.

If Seoul broke through the inial midfield block the units would drop off and recover the shape much deeper in their own half. They would stay compact and narrowing, leaving wide areas open for Seoul to play into. Incheon would then try to press to create turnovers or force the ball out of bounds.

Incheon crowded the centre of the field allowing Seoul to attack out wide
This approach was relatively successful. Though conceding from a wide area, Seoul struggled to break Incheon down and were unable to create many meaningful chances. Seoul were often forced to play long when trying to get the ball into their strikers, which Incheon were able to pick off and counter from.

Offensive Shape

Incheon would look to build out from defence but were much more comfortable and effective playing on the counter. When defenders were in possession Incheon's full-backs would advance into midfield when building play from the back but tended to play more conservatively one the ball was in the oppositions half. The two defensive midfielders would remain disciplined controlling the centre of the field while the wide players were given license to push him and roam around the field. Aguilar often dropped off into pockets of space just behind the Seoul midfield looking to orchestrate attacks as the wingers made runs beyond him. Once in possession in the final third, one central midfielders would join the attack, keeping a solid back four and one screening midfielder back to deal with any counters.

Attacking Movement

It was the freedom given to the front four of Incheon that resulted in both of their goals. Aguilar dropped in on both occasions, playing a major role in the build-up. The opening goal saw him drop in on the left-hand side and slip a great pass behind the Seoul defence that found the run of left winger Park Jong-jin. From there he squared the ball across the box and found the right winger, Nam Jae-jun, for a close-range finish.

The second goal again saw Aguilar dropping off slightly to the left. He found a penetrating pass forward into the feet of Go Seuk-ki how slipped Moon Seon-min in for a one-on-one. Moon had drifted inside from his role on the wing just as Nam did for the first goal.

Defensive Issue

One area of concern for Incheon will be their defender's ability to defend crosses. With the team set up to force play into wide areas, there will inevitably be times where they have to deal with balls into the box. There were two big occasions where Kim Dong-min at left-back failed to properly deal with this threat. Seoul's goal came when Kim failed to attack the cross, and despite tracking his man, was simply out-jumped for a ball that should have been cleared. Shortly after Kim misjudged another cross, this time getting underneath the ball, with the cross landing at the feet of a Seoul attacker in the box. Fortunately for Kim and Incheon, Seoul were unable to capitalise on the second mistake.

The left-back tracked his main but failed to attack the ball, allowing the winger to get  aleap on him and score
  • Andersen will be pleased with the defensive solidity provided by the two banks of four.
  • Incheon were able to restrict Seoul to only a few sights of goal.
  • Defenders need to be prepared to deal with balls crossed into the box from wide areas.
  • The system gives freedom to the front four, allowing them to express themselves.
  • Aguilar can unlock a defence and with runners getting beyond him he can turn a game.
  • Mugoša at times looked a little ineffective in the quick free-flowing counter movements. He is not the most mobile striker and this system of attacking at speed and interchanging roles may not bring the best out in him.
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