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Preview: Incheon United vs Gyeongnam FC

With the K League up and running it's time for teams to start gelling and picking up points. With that in mind Incheon United host Gyeongnam FC on Saturday afternoon, and the home side will be looking to impress their fans with their first victory of the season.

Last Time Out

Incheon United 1-1 Jeju United

Incheon United started the 2019 season by picking up a deserved point against a strong Jeju United. The game was played in-front of a bumper crowd of over eighteen thousand at the Sungui Arena, in Incheon. Jeju Untied started brighter controlling the game and pinning Incheon in their own half. Jeju then took the lead late in the half via a Lee Chang-Min strike from range, that the keeper should have done better with. However, Incheon started the second half stronger and were finally rewarded with a VAR awarded penalty. Stefan Mugoša stepped up and coolly converted. The game then died down a little and both sides seemed to be happy with a point.

Highlights: here

Gyeongnam FC 2-1 Seongnam FC

Gyeongnam FC started the 2019 season were they left off from the 2018 season. The first half was pretty even with both sides creating half chances but couldn't find an opening goal. The second half was much more entertaining as Gyeongnam raced to a two goal lead. Firstly Kim Seung-jun scored on his debut, and then young Japanese forward Takahiro Kunimoto doubled the lead. Kim Min-hyeok scored late on for Seongnam FC, but it was only a consolation in the end.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon United and Gyeongnam FC played each other three times during the 2018 season, with Gyeongnam winning twice, and the third and final game ending in a two-all draw.

Incheon last beat Gyeongnam at home back in August 2014, coming out 2-0 winners. Brazilian Ivo scored the second via an injury time penalty. Gyeongnam beat Incheon away just last season winning 3-2 in April with Park Ji-Soo scoring the winner deep into stoppage time.

Over the years Incheon and Gyeongnam have played each other 27 times with the victories dominated by Gyeongnam. They've won eleven times vs Incheon's four, the other twelve games have ended in draws.

Team News

Incheon United should have a full squad to choose from for this game. Nguyễn Công Phượng may be ready for a debut, but I doubt he will start.

Gyeongnam FC, just like Incheon, should have a full squad to pick from on Saturday afternoon. However players may be rested or rotated, due to the upcoming ACL game in Malaysia, against Johor Darul Ta'zim

The Adversary

Gyeongnam FC go into Saturdays clash with Incheon United in good form looking to build on their impressive performance in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night. They faced tough opposition in Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng and came away with a creditable 2-2 draw at the Changwon Football Center. The performance, albeit not a winning one, was one of great importance for everyone involved in the club. Knowing that they can compete with the standard of opposition that Shandong Luneng possess holds Gyeongnam in great stead for the future.

The Reds manager Kim Jung-boo shuffled the pack in midweek, after the opening day victory over newly promoted outfit Seongnam FC. The key changes were the additions of Englishman Jordon Mutch, who made his first start of the campaign, and center back Woo Jo-sung who came in to bolster the back line. The manager has a selection dilemma for this Saturday with the squad being at full strength, it’s a question of can he keep everyone in the camp happy.

Incheon United have had a full week to prepare for this fixture, whereas Gyeongnam FC would have had their minds on the ACL this week. Luc Castaignos must be knocking on the managers’ door for a starting berth after making two very positive substitute appearances. Towering center back Lee Kwang-seon, who picked up a slight knock after the league opener, will be back fit for this clash and will most probably slot back into the back line alongside Song Ju-hun.

I think there will be goals this Saturday afternoon, with the away side maybe just having too much quality and nicking it 2-1.

By James Edrupt

Who To Watch

For Incheon United, Stefan Mugoša scored nineteen goals during his debut K League season and was once again on the scoresheet last weekend. He confidently converted a second half penalty, showing he hasn't lost his scoring touch during the off-season.

Moving into the midfield, and pre-season signing Jiloan Hamad had a strong debut last weekend. The soon to be Iraqi International is still adapting to the K League, however based on last Saturdays performance he could be a vital asset for Incheon this season. We could also see a debut from Vietnamese star Nguyễn Công Phượng, but most likely off the bench.

Finally, at the back Gordan Bunoza was solid last weekend and helped mop up some of his teammates mistakes. He'll need to be on form against an attack minded Gyeongnam.

For Gyeongnam, former Crystal Palace and Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Jordon Mutch produced solid performances against both Seongnam FC and Shandong Luneng. He's still settling into life in Korea, but the early signs are good. Also Incheon need to watch out for Luc Castaignos who was strong during the week in the ACL.


Both Incheon and Gyeongnam will be looking to build on solid starts to their respective seasons this coming Saturday afternoon. Gyeongnam will be dealing with slightly tried legs following their ACL game during the week against Shandong Luneng. With a smaller squad this could be a factor moving forward.

Incheon took a long time to get going last season and a draw last weekend was a solid start but not exactly what the fans were hoping for. The turnout maybe good once again but nowhere near the 18,000+ that saw the draw against Jeju United on the opening Saturday.

Overall, it will be a close game, however I see Incheon taking a surprise victory. Simply due to the fact that Gyeongnam will still have half an eye on their upcoming ACL game and might also struggle from playing a tough game during the week.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 2-1 Gyeongnam FC

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