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Preview: Incheon United vs Sangju Sangmu

K League 1 Preview: Incheon United vs Sangju Sangmu

Incheon United have lost their way in recent weeks losing twice in the league and crashing out in the cup to semi-pro opposition. However Sangju Sangmu haven't done any better and so this should be an interesting one as both sides line up against one another this midweek.
(Image via K League)

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 2-1 Incheon United

Incheon United lost for the third time in a week on Saturday evening, falling to a narrow 2-1 defeat to fellow relegation battlers Daegu FC. Daegu took an early lead via a Ryu Jaemoon finish from range. Incheon however bounced back quickly with Mugosa hitting the post shortly after. The game didn't spring back into action until mid-way into the second half when Gordon Bunoza headed home via free-kick, VAR with the assist. But sadly poor defending and a counter attack led to Daegu retaking the lead via a Zé Roberto strike and that's how it finished.

Highlights: here

Sangju Sangmu 1-2 FC Seoul

Only little over two thousand turned up to see Seoul defeat Sangju Sangmu on Sunday evening. Those who stayed away didn't miss much as Seoul eased to the three points. Song Jinhyung and Shin Jinho both scored shortly after half time to give Seoul a strong lead. Sim Dongwoon scored a late consolation goal for the hosts, but it was too little too late.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon and Sangju have played each other twice already this season with Sangju Sangmu winning both games. The first finished 1-0 in Incheon, with the win coming deep into injury time, and then 3-2 at home after mounting a three goal comeback.

Over the years Incheon and Sangju have played each other 35 times with the record edged slight by Incheon; winning 16 compared to Sangju's 10. Incheon last won at home against right at the end of last season 2-0. As already mentioned Sangju already hold a home and away double over Incheon this season.

Team News

Incheon United don't have any players suspended for Wednesday evening's game. However, a number of players are a booking away from a suspension, inlcuding, Mugosa, Kang Jiyong, Kim Daejoong, Han Sukjong, Appiah-Kubi and Go Seulki. Wing back Kim Jinya is away 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 again.

Sangju Sangmu also have no players sidelined by suspension. They didn't have any players called up for the Asian Games squad and so should able to pick a strong side on Wednesday.

The Adversary

Sangju Sangmu have somewhat fallen off the rails since their pre-World Cup form that saw them gatecrash the top half and threaten for an unlikely spot in the Asian Champions League. The military outfit are on an abysmal league run of four points in just eight games since the league recommenced, in addition to crashing out of the FA Cup on penalties to K3 Advanced side Yangpeong FC, a team that would then head out the cup themselves after losing 8-0 to relegation threatened Daegu FC.

Hopes of a revival after their win and draw against Pohang Steelers and Suwon Bluewings respectively were short-lived after they found themselves trailing to FC Seoul. While Sangju did arguably mount a reasonable fightback, hitting the crossbar in injury time in addition to numerous other chances, they will be concerned with the manner they fell so quickly behind once more.

This match also represents Sangju's first away trip in a considerable while. After spending the first ten rounds on the road, the K League countered this by giving nearly all home fixtures throughout the summer. Besides a trip to Gwangyang to face Jeonnam in July, the military's sides last twelve fixtures across all competitions have been at Sangju Stadium. Given their recent form, playing away from home, especially against another struggling side, may give them the change of scenery they need to regroup away from the pressures of their home crowd and stablise somehat.

- Matthew Binns

Who To Watch

Incheon United's top goalscorer and Montenegrin international striker Stefan Mugoša wasn't given much to work with last weekend, as other K League sides understand the danger he is. He'll be hoping to add too his eleven goal tally for this K League season.

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 summer transfer window. Partly due to the fact he has contributed six assists this season and is one of the key creative outlets for Incheon.

Finally the defensive line for the Neroazurre has been a key issue this season, the return of keeper Lee Jinhyung has helped but isn't enough week in week out.

As for Sangju Sangmu; Korean International wingback Hong Chul is a class player and important at the back and going forward for Sangju. Yoon Bit-Garam is one of their better midfielders and when on-form can be very dangerous.

Prediction

Incheon's Norwegian manager Jørn Andersen hasn't found life in the K League easy, and overall Incheon haven't improved much since his appointment. However little things are starting to click and when they're good they can get the better of anyone. Sadly this doesn't happen too often.
The positive of this game from an Incheon point of view is that Sangju haven't been playing any better than them, so this is a winnable game. However, tired legs and a lack of confidence at the back leads me to feel like this will end in a draw. With both sets of fans going home happy with a point.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-1 Sangju Sangmu

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