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Preview: Incheon United vs Gangwon FC

Preview: Incheon United Vs Gwangwon FC
Incheon United's first home game since the World Cup break is some midweek K League action with ACL-chasing Gangwon FC. This one might not be seen as a glamour game as such, but both sides know that three points are a realistic possibility and could help to get their respective season's up and running. A win for Incheon would help to close the gap between themselves and Jeonnam, whilst a Gangwon victory could put them in the top half. 
(Image via K League)

Last Time Out

Jeonbuk Hyundai 3-3 Incheon United
Incheon United were unlucky not to pick up a famous win on the road against the league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai. Incheon raced out to a two-nil lead within 10 minutes, thanks to goals from Moon Seon-min and Stefan Mugoša. Jeonbuk replied via an Adriano penalty, Incheon then extended their lead just after half an hour, again through Moon Seon-min. However, Ricardo Lopes replied for Jeonbuk just before half time. Incheon defended bravely during the second half, and did so with 10 men due to a harsh red card to Kim Dong-min. Jeonbuk found an equaliser in the dying moments, with Kim Shin-wook the goalscorer.

Highlights: here

Gangwon FC 1-1 Jeonnam Dragons
Gangwon were held at the weekend to a 1-1 draw against Jeonnam Dragons. Jeonnam took a fourth minute lead through Kim Young-wook. It took Gangwon until the 64th minute to equalise thanks to journeyman Park Jung-soo and that's how the game ended.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon and Gangwon played each other all the way back in early March over at the Chuncheon Stadium with Gangwon coming out 2-1 winners on that chilly afternoon.

Over the years Incheon and Gangwon have played each other 17 times with the record being very even: Incheon winning eight to Gangwon's seven. Incheon last won at home against Gangwon back in 2013, winning 1-0 with defender Ahn Jae-Joon, now at Daejeon Citizen, scoring the winner. Gangwon have only beaten Incheon United away once before, all the way back in 2010 at Incheon's old home the Munhak Stadium. They won 3-1 with Ahn Sung-nam, now at Gyeongnam, with the third goal.

Team News

Incheon United will be without Kim Dong-min after the 23-year-old defender was dismissed during the 3-3 draw with Jeonbuk last Saturday. The Durumi have no other suspensions of which to speak of but have no fewer than six players who are one more yellow card away from a one-match ban, namely defender Kang Ji-yong, midfielders Ko Seuk-ki, Elías Aguilar, Choi Jong-hwan, Lim Eun-soo and attacker Kobi Appiah-Kubi. 

Gangwon FC will have winger Seo Myeong-won available for selection and may be in line to make his debut in the near future. The former Daejeon Citizen man joined from Ulsan Hyundai earlier in the season and has played in Gangwon's last six reserve games. However, 31-year-old midfielder Park Jung-soo will be suspended after picking up his third caution of the campaign during the 1-1 draw with Jeonnam.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's had one player travel over to Russia for the World Cup, Moon Seon-Min. Sadly, he didn't have a tournament to remember performances wise. But on his return he looked fantastic during the first half against Jeonbuk, scoring twice. He went off injured, but he should be back for Wednesday's game.

Another Incheon international is Montenegrin striker Stefan Mugoša. The former Sheriff Tiraspol man has eight goals this season, including one at the weekend against Jeonbuk. He is a big danger on the break and during set-pieces.

Finally the defensive line once again the key issue for Incheon. The Neroazurre conceded three goals last weekend, but did weather a heavy Jeonbuk storm. Goalkeeper Jung San was generally good, but the rest looked stronger whilst still lacking depth.

As for Gangwon FC, giant Serbian Uroš Đerić has had a fantastic debut K League season scoring 11 goals in 15 games. He's been a key reason Gangwon aren't in the relegation battle this season. Also at the back Cypriot defender Valentinos Sielis has looked much more settled this season, and he'll need to be awake on Wednesday when he comes up against Mugoša and Moon.

Adversary 

Seventh-placed Gangwon are still only three points away from jumping into the top six having lost just once in their last six. In Uroš Đerić, the club's and league's leading marksman , Gangwon posses quite the potent attack with 11 goals to his name this term. Đerić's goals make up for eight points, the difference between knocking on the door of the ACL places or floundering in the lower reaches of the table, not to mention the two assists, one which provided teed up Jung Jo-gook for the decisive goal against FC Seoul in a 2-1, the other for Kim Seung-yong's opener when Gangwon hosted Incheon in March. Quite simply, without the 26-year-old Serbian, the complexion of Gangwon's season would look a lot different.

However, Gangwon’s big problem before the break was their defence, and looking for a clean sheet against Jeonnam Dragons, head coach Song Kyung-seop employed a surprisingly defensive-looking line up for a home match against one of the league’s weakest sides. But tactics don’t matter a jot if your players are still going to make schoolboy errors. Han Yong-soo, on his debut for Gangwon, hit a slow pass across the edge of his own area in the fourth minute. The sloppy pass was intercepted by Jeonnam who took an early lead. Han spent the last few seasons at Pocheon while he did his military service, but even at amateur level, you will get punished for mistakes like that.

Maybe it was the formation, maybe the lack of star player Lee Keun-ho, who moved to Ulsan in the summer, but Gangwon struggled to create chances from open play. They levelled in the second half through Park Jung-soo, but will need to do a lot better against Incheon if they have any ambitions of a top-four finish. Gangwon have the players to achieve their goal; they started their last match with the K League’s top scorer for this season and top scorer from two seasons ago playing as strike partners. But Gangwon need a replacement for Lee Keun-ho to give them more of a creative spark, and they need to cut out the silly mistakes and poor defending that have let them down so far this season.
- Steve Price

Prediction

Incheon have just a single win all season, but have at least drawn six of their 15 games. The Durumi are generally slightly better at home and will be looking to re-energise their fans on Wednesday evening following the long World Cup break. New manager Jørn Andersen will be aiming for a competitive home debut.

Gangwon have been inconsistent this season, when they play well they can look very dangerous. But sadly for Gangwon fans, that doesn't happen week in week out.  It could be a good game for the naturals as both sides like to attack and are lacking at the back. In the end I see it ending in a draw.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 2-2 Gangwon FC

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