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Preview: Incheon United vs Suwon Bluewings

Preview: Incheon United vs Suwon Bluewings K League 1
Bottom-of-the-league Incheon United will be looking to take advantage of manager-less Suwon Bluewings on Saturday afternoon, who could have half an eye on their upcoming ACL quarter final with Jeonbuk Hyundai next Wednesday.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Incheon United 3-2 Ulsan Hyundai

Incheon battled hard to see of an in-form Ulsan just prior to the international break. It was Ulsan who took an early lead via an Escudero finish after just seven minutes. However, Incheon regrouped quickly and were ahead before half time thanks to goal from Stefan Mugosa and Kim Bo-seob. Part way into the second half Kim Bo-seob added his second of the game and sealed a vital three points for Incheon. A very late Junior Negao penalty restored some pride for the traveling Ulsan players.

Highlights: here

Jeju United 0-0 Suwon Bluewings

 Suwon played their rearranged fixture, away to Jeju, last weekend and a picked up a point in what was a very dull game. In a game of few chances, perhaps the best opportunity to score fell to Han Eui-kwon, in stoppage time. The forward found himself through on goal and one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but his shot was well saved and with that, the game finished as a scoreless draw.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon and Suwon have played each other twice so far this season with Suwon picking up two impressive wins. A 3-2 victory back towards the beginning of the season, with an injury time winner from Park Hyung-jin. Then, more recently a 5-2 hammering; Yeom Ki-hun and Dejan both picked up braces.

Over the years Incheon and Suwon have played each other 42 times with Suwon dominating the number of victories by twenty-five to just five. Incheon last won at home against Suwon back in 2013, winning 2-1 with Lee Hyo-gyun scoring the winner in the 95th minute.


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 including, Mugoša, Kang Ji-yong, Kim Dae-joong, Han Suk-jong, Appiah-Kubi, Lim Eun-soo, Kim Bo-Seob and Go Seul-ki. Winger Moon Seon-Min has been struggling recently for fitness and might not start on Saturday.

Suwon’s injury worries worsened on Tuesday night, when the returning Hong-chul limped out of Korea’s international friendly with Chile. The left-back was due to make his long awaited return, after being discharged from the military, in this fixture but after picking up a muscle injury he is a huge question mark going into this game.

Meanwhile, Park Ki-dong, Park Jong-woo and Waguininho all remain long term absentees. Elvis Saric, played in both of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s matches this week, and after a 28 hour round trip to Europe, it is probably likely that he will begin this game on the bench.

However, Suwon had some positive news last week, with both goalkeeper, Shin Hwa-yong, and defender, Lee Ki-je, returning from injury and both players will likely keep their places against Incheon.

The Adversary

Suwon continued their poor recent form when they played out a drab affair with Jeju last weekend. It’s now just one win from their last seven league games and so the Bluewings find themselves in a struggle to keep up with Ulsan and Gyeongnam who sit in third and second place in the table respectively.

What's worrying for Suwon is that, after their rampant performance in Jeonju two weeks ago, their attack has been completely blunted in their last two games, against Daegu and Jeju. In that demolition of Jeonbuk, interim manager, Lee Byung-geon, was praised for fielding a 4-4-2 formation. But he has been naive to persevere with a central midfield pair in the absence of Elvis Saric, who has been away on international duty.

Whilst the Bosnian was in Europe taking the newly formed UEFA Nations League by storm, scoring a goal and providing an assist in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s two victories, Suwon have been pedestrian in midfield. Saric’s energy, technical ability and eye for a pass was the key component in that victory in Jeonju and without him Suwon have looked like a shadow of the team that won so convincingly against the K League champions in waiting. The midfield combination of Lee Jong-sung and Kim Eun-seon haven’t been able to match the quality and intensity that Saric provides and his return will be welcomed by all quarters at Suwon.

by Scott Whitelock

Who To Watch

Incheon United have had four players away on international duty; Stefan Mugoša (Montenegro), Elias Aguilar (Costa Rica), Moon Seon-min (South Korea) & Kim Jin-ya (South Korea U23). They have been Incheon's core players this season, and could be the difference between survival and relegation.

Mugoša has thirteen goals this season and is a powerful presence up front. Elias Aguilar is one of the leagues top assistants, creating seven goals during this his debut season in the K League. Finally Moon Seon-min is the top Korean goalscorer in the K League with eleven so far this season. Finally Kim Jin-ya was key member of the Asian Games squad that won gold just a few weeks ago.

As for Suwon Bluewings; former Incheon forward Dejan Damjanovic has had a strong season for Suwon since his surprise transfer from rivals FC Seoul in January. He score twice against Incheon back in July and picked up five whilst playing for Seoul last season. Incheon fans will be hoping that he forgets his scoring boots on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction

Incheon have picked up seven points from their three games, however Jørn Andersen's side are still bottom of the table as their relegation rivals have also found form recently. Lessons have been learnt from the 7-0 hammering against Gangwon in August. However, despite a drop in form recently Suwon will be a dangerous undertaking.

Incheon will need to play tight and controlled, once again trying to plug some of those holes at the back. Moving forward Incheon are dangerous, so the key to victory will be a solid defensive line. Suwon could have half an eye on their upcoming ACL quarter final clash with Jeonbuk, which at this point in the season is more of a focus than league. In the end I see this one ending in a draw, which wouldn't please either side but, moving forward, may be a good result.


Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-1 Suwon Bluewings




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