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Preview: Gangwon FC vs Incheon United

The league's two leakiest defenses meet on Sunday as Incheon United travel to Gangwon FC. Both kept a clean sheet in midweek though, so maybe goals aren't quite guaranteed. Steve Price and Tim Barnes with the preview.

Last Time Out

At the start of the season Uroš Ðerić scored a lot of goals and got a lot of assists through the simple act of pressing the defense. He did the same against Jeonnam Dragons on Wednesday night, blocking an attempted long ball near the center circle before driving into the box, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home to score the only goal of the game on 83 minutes. A perfect start to Kim Byung-soo's reign, and a confidence-boosting clean sheet.

Incheon United managed their first clean sheet in the league since the very start of May. It's progress, but unfortunately for Incheon they could only draw against Sangju Sangmu. To make matters worse, Daegu won, increasing the gap between the two sides. Jørn Andersen has had a decent start to his tenure in Incheon but will be disappointed that his side have only picked up one point from their last two matches against their rivals at the bottom.

Previous Meetings

Three-three is quite a rare result in football, but Incheon fans were treated to two three-all draws in a week back in July. The first was against Jeonbuk, the second against Gangwon (who would also draw three-three with Ulsan two games later), and in both games Incheon conceded late on.

Incheon went in at the break two-nil up with early goals from Aguilar and Ko Seul-gi. Diego pulled a goal back for Gangwon on the hour mark, and then the away team leveled the scoring through an Incheon own goal. Ko Seul-gi put Incheon back in front with his second of the game, but Ðerić scored with a powerful header from quite far out to level the game in the last minute.

Team News

New manager Kim Byung-soo set Gangwon up in a 3-4-3 formation in midweek, with Lee Beom-young in goal and Oh Beom-seok in the center of a three man defense to try and keep things strong at the back. His big change was playing creative midfielder Jeong Seok-hwa as one of the wingbacks in the formation. After having a bit more time to evaluate his players, it will be interesting to see if Kim sticks with the same tactics in his first home match in charge on Sunday.

The Adversary

Incheon United have fallen into a slump in recent weeks, losing two and drawing during the week in a dull game against Sangju Sangmu. They’re now six points adrift of Daegu and only a point ahead of managerless bottom side Jeonnam Dragons. 

Incheon’s main weakness all season has been an leaky defense with the worst defensive record in the league, which also cost them a chance at the FA Cup. Norwegian manager Jørn Andersen has improved things since joining and has opted against heavy squad rotation. Therefore I don’t see many changes on Sunday evening to the starting XI, apart from Stefan Mugosa being recalled to the starting lineup. No players are suspended, however Kim Jinya is away on International duty at the Asian Games. 

One to Watch: Based on recent league games, the only Incheon United player called up for the World Cup Moon Seon-Min has been back in the side and playing well. He didn’t set the world alight over in Russia, but in the K League this season he is the top domestic goalscorer. Pretty impressive for a winger. 

Prediction: Incheon will be the underdogs in this one, and will try and come home with at least a point. However I see Gangwon edging this one 2-1.

One To Watch

Oh Beom-seok scored a wonder-goal against Jeonbuk last weekend, but he is also one of Gangwon's more competent defenders. Kim Byung-soo clearly knows this as he stuck him in central defense against Jeonnam, rather than employing him as a central midfielder. It's rare that a defender gets into the 'one to watch' section, but with Incheon's attacking mentality, Oh Beom-seok will probably be called into action quite a bit on Sunday.


Both sides will be aware of each other's attacking threats and could approach this match more cautiously than usual. I'd love to see another six-goal thriller but have a feeling it will be a more low scoring affair.

Predicted Score: Gangwon 1-1 Incheon

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