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Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Incheon United

K League 1 Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Incheon United

Opposite ends of the table collide this weekend as the newly crowned champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors welcome a relegation-threatened Incheon United side to their sixth K League trophy ceremony. Will the North Jeolla side find a result to match the fireworks or will Incheon look to put a dampener on the celebrations?
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

With Gyeongnam FC losing to Jeju United earlier in the day, Jeonbuk's match with Ulsan Hyundai had added importance by kick-off, with the visitors knowing a draw would be enough to secure the league title for the sixth time. They looked to be achieving one better when winger Lopes was introduced on the hour mark and immediately scored, yet Jeonbuk's lead was short-lived when Han Seung-gyu converted a back-heeled pass from teammate Kim In-sung to bring things level.

It looked as if the title celebrations would have to be postponed for a week longer when Ulsan's Kim In-sung looked to have clinched the winner in the final ten minutes, but Jeonbuk's veteran striker Lee Dong-gook had other ideas. Ulsan defender Kang Min-soo tripped Hong Jeong-ho in the box in the 93rd minute, allowing for Lee to step up and convert the penalty to claim the K League crown for his club once more.

You can read a full match recap here.

Highlights of the match can be found here.

Incheon United travelled to fellow bottom-half side Daegu FC with the hope of clawing themselves closer to survival. Despite Daegu's recent form, the visitors imposed themselves on the match, taking an early lead through a delightful Moon Seon-min lob over national team 'keeper Cho Hyun-woo.

Daegu equalised not long after thanks to an effort Jung Seung-won that saw not one, but two Incheon defenders sent the wrong way before scoring and sending both sides in level at the break. The second half was evenly contested, but the 73rd minute saw some well-worked passing play find Mugosa unmarked in the box who converted with the reliability fans have become accustomed to this season. Depsite some late attmepts, the visitors held on to earn their sixth vicotry of the season and keep themselves in the fight for survival.

Highlights of the match can be found here.


Previous Meetings

Once again, Incheon United find themselves the last team yet to be defeated by Jeonbuk in a season, a situation that has occurred in both the previous two campaigns. Incheon have claimed four points from Jeonbuk this year, scoring six goals in the process and looking very good on each occasion. In fact, Incheon have the second best record against the North Jeolla side this season, bettered only by Pohang Steelers. Last time these two sides met in Jeonju, the game played out to a thrilling 3-3 draw, with Kim Shin-wook tapping in an equaliser for the champions during added time.

Over the years, Incheon have often proved somewhat of a 'bogey side' for Jeonbuk. In forty meetings Jeonbuk lead Incheon 13-12, with the rest playing out as draws. It has been just over three years since Incheon won in Jeonju however, claiming a 1-0 victory over their hosts in August 2015.

Team News

Surprisingly, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors have nearly every player available to them for this coronation. The only absentee is Kim Jin-su, who is reportedly 2-3 weeks from returning to action after being injured on international duty in March. What will concern Jeonbuk however is the future of their manager Choi Kang-hee. While the annual Chinese media rumours have resurfaced and submerged over the course of the international break, with Chinese Super League clubs pursuing his signature, there seems to be more weight to these rumours than on previous occassions. The manager himself has suggested a decision will be made after this match. However, he is under contract until the end of 2020 and has not spoken with the club's chairman in regards to a move as of last week.

As for Incheon, the visitors have no suspensions or injuries to key players to concern themselves with and should be at full strength.

The Adversary


"Prior to the much needed International break, Incheon United claimed a vital win over a solid Daegu FC on the road 2-1. However was Incheon’s first win in over a month or 5 games. Also due to the improved form of fellow relegation zone sides Jeonnam Dragons and Sangju Sangmu, Incheon are still bottom of the league and two points adrift. Jeonbuk, of course, are in a polar opposite situation."

"Norwegian manager Jørn Andersen won’t make many changes from a winning side, Moon Seon-Min made two substitute appearances for the national side and should start despite recent injury and fitness issues. No players are suspended, and no key players are currently sidelined with major injuries."

"Montenegro international Stefan Mugosa scored the winner two weeks ago against Daegu FC and picked up a brace whilst on international duty on Monday against Lithuania, making him the one to watch coming into this fixture. He has fifteen goals so far this season from twenty-nine games. Also, keep an eye out for rumoured Jeonbuk transfer target Costa Rican Elias Aguilar and top K League domestic goalscorer Moon Seon-Min."

"Jeonbuk have looked unstoppable at times during this K League season, however, it was Incheon who handed them their first defeat all the way back in March. They almost beat them again in July and so Incheon do seem to be a bogey team for Jeonbuk this season. Jeonbuk will come into the game as heavy favourites and relaxed knowing that the title is in the bag, but Incheon will be there to spoil the party. So I see Incheon maybe picking up a point; Jeonbuk 1-1 Incheon"


Prediction

Naturally, Incheon United are the only side really playing for something on Saturday, with the hosts waiting out the ninety minutes for their trophy ceremony. It is expected to be a bumper crowd, however, and with club records to break, Jeonbuk could look to celebrate with a flourish. Expect Incheon to make it difficult for the hosts, but the champions to have proven their title credentials yet again come full-time.

Predicted Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 Incheon United

K League 1 R33 Preview here

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