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Preview: Incheon United vs Pohang Steelers

Preview: Incheon United vs Pohang Steelers K League 1
Incheon United will be looking to record a third league win on the bounce and four in all competitions when they host Pohang Steelers at the slightly later time of 8:00pm on Saturday evening. However, Pohang will be looking to bounce back following a disappointing set of results last week having bowed out of the FA Cup before succumbing to Sangju Sangju.
(Image via K League)

Last Time Out

Jeonnam Dragons 1-3 Incheon United
Incheon United recorded their third win in a week in all competitions, beating Jeonnam Dragons last weekend. The game didn't start well for Incheon as yet another defensive error allowed Lee Sangheon to give Jeonnam the lead after seventeen minutes. But Incheon bounced back quickly, Mugoša was allowed too much space and he converted a Nam Junjae cross. Mugoša then turned provider early in the second half to give Incheon the lead, Park Jongjin scoring his first goal in six years and first ever for Incheon United. Mugoša then finished the game off with his second of the evening and eleventh of the season.

Highlights: here

Sangju Sangmu 2-1 Pohang Steelers
Pohang were on the end of a slightly surprising defeat last weekend falling 2-1 to army side Sangju Sangmu. Kim Minwoo opened the scoring for Sangmu after twenty minutes, but Pohang equalised shortly after Song Seungmin slotting home via a Connor Chapman assist. But Sangmu retook the lead in first half injury time through Lee Kwangseon. Pohang had chances in the second half, but Sangju held on.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon and Pohang played each other back at the beginning of May, with a dull game ending 0-0 down at the Steelyard..

Over the years Incheon and Pohang have played each other 43 times with the record edged slight by Pohang; winning 17 compared to Incheon's 13. Incheon last won at home against Pohang almost a year ago, winning 2-0 with Han Seokjong and Choi Jonghwan on target. Pohang also won at the Sungui Arena last season, beating Incheon 3-0 with Choi Jonghwan, now playing in Japan, on hand again to complete the drubbing.

Team News

Incheon United don't have any players suspended for Saturday evenings game, however four players are a booking away from a suspension. Wing back Kim Jinya will be absent after joining up with the South Korea Asian Games squad next week. Midfielders Moon Seonmin and Appiah-Kubi are both recovering from minor injuries, and therefore could be in the squad but might not play the full 90.

Pohang Steelers will be without Brazilian defender Alemão (Rafael), who picked up a third booking of the season last weekend. Attacking midfielder Jung Wonjin has departed for FC Seoul in a swap deal with Lee Seokhyun who could be in line to make his Steelers debut.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's top goalscorer and Montenegrin international striker Stefan Mugoša was key last weekend. The former Sheriff Tiraspol man has eleven goals this season, and he's been a big difference in Incheon's attacking line compared to last season. He is a big danger on the break and during set-pieces due to his speed and height.

Another foreign star for Incheon United this season has been Costa Rican midfielder Elias Aguilar. The on-loan Herediano man received interest for K League Champions Jeonbuk Hyundai during the transfer window, highlighting his form. He's contributed six assists this season and is one of the key creative outlets for Incheon.

Finally the defensive line for the Neroazurre has looked to be improving during the past few games, the return of keeper Lee Jinhyung and centre-back Gordan Bunoza have made the world of difference.

As for Pohang Steelers; former Incheon man Connor Chapman has been a key asset in defensive midfield and young keeper Kang Hyeonmu is having another strong season. A lack of a main goalscorer is an issue, Léo Gamalho currently has five making his their main dangerman at the moment.

Adversary

Pohang Steelers continue their mighty inconsistent form which has blighted their campaign thus far. After picking up two wins on the bounce against teams in the bottom half they had hoped to continue that trend against Sangju Sangmu, but came away with a bitterly disappointing 2-1 defeat instead. The team created plenty of chances but, as has been the case for most of the season, were let down by some farcical defending that led to both Sangju goals.

The team usually sets up in the 4-3-3 formation and manager Choi Soon-ho changes the personnel to fit the system. The game against Sangju saw new right-back signing Teixeira deployed in the centre forward position. This creates quite a fluid attack, but results in a disjointed defence. Sangju's first goal was an example of this as Teixeira was covering the right-back position despite starting right back Lee Sang-ki, a forward by trade, also being the vicinity, but neither picked up Kim Min-woo who had a simple tap in to open the scoring.

The lack of consistency has seen some fans call for change in the managerial position and the general disconsolate demeanour of Choi certainly seems like a man on the brink. On top of this, knocks to top scorer Gamalho and new signing Teixeira, as well as the departures of Jung Won-jin who was traded to FC Seoul and Lee Jin-hyeon for the Asian Games, means the Steelers come into Saturday's clash in not great shape. New signings Kim Ji-min and the  Lee Seok-hyeon, who arrived as part of the Jung Won-win deal, may help plug the gaps, but I can only see Incheon coming away with the victory in this one and further piling the pressure on Pohang's under-fire coach.

by Ross Davis

Prediction

Incheon have finally found some form and things seem to be clicking for recently appointed manager Jørn Andersen. But issues at the back are still there, and a lack of activity during the transfer window could prove to be a mistake. Pohang haven't had the rub of the green in recent weeks, however no mid-week game will have benefited them and a strong defence will certainly be an advantage.
This one could play out in a similar fashion to the first meeting back in May and a a draw seems like the most likely outcome on paper.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-1 Pohang Steelers

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