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Preview: Incheon United vs Sangju Sangmu

Incheon United will be hoping that a rare Friday evening game is the change of pace that could finally kick start their season. They haven't won since the beginning of March and take on Sangju Sangmu, who are currently mid-table. So can Incheon finally pick up a long overdue victory in the 2019 K League 1 season?

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 2 - 1 Incheon United
Incheon fell to yet another defeat last weekend in their first ever visit to the DGB Arena. Things couldn't have started worse as the Incheon defence failed to react, and Brazilian Cesinha opened the scoring for Daegu after just nine minutes. Daegu continued to control the game from this point until half time, but thankfully for Incheon couldn't find a clear opening.

In the second half, Incheon improved moving forward and their hard work paid off thirteen minutes into the second half when Moon Chang-jin connected with a Lee Joon-suk cross for his first goal in the blue and black of Incheon. The game was pretty even from this point, but a moment of quick reactions cost Incheon. Edgar Silva slid home a Hwang Soon-min through pass and regained the lead for Daegu. After their second goal Daegu played defensively and Incheon couldn't find a way back into the game.

Highlights: here

Sangju Sangmu 1-3 FC Seoul
A woeful crowd of just 1,638 paying fans turned up to see Sangju lose to FC Seoul, and most seemed to be away fans. Following a penalty shoot-out FA Cup win over Jeju United during the week, Sangju were maybe running on tired legs and it showed. Aleksandar Pešić opened the scoring for FC Seoul after nineteen minutes, however, Sangju responded quickly and equalized via Park Yong-ji just five minutes later. But the game swung back into the favor of FC Seoul as Ikram Alibaev restored their lead just before half time.

The second half was a little dull with few clear chances for either side, however, there was time for Aleksandar Pešić to grab his second of the game after sixty-eight minutes and seal the three points for FC Seoul.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon United and Sangju Sangmu clashed at the beginning of the season with Sangju winning 2-0.  Park Yong-ji and Kim Min-woo scored the goals to hand Sangju that win. Last season, they played each other four times, with Sangju winning twice, one game ending goalless and the final game was won 2-1 by Incheon.

Sangju beat Incheon at home at the beginning of last season 3-2, they were however 3-0 up at half time but almost let the win slip away. Incheon last beat Sangju away in August 2017, winning 2-1, with Park Yong-ji (currently playing for Sangju) scoring the winner with only two minutes to play.

Over the years Sangju and Incheon have played each other 38 times with the victories dominated by Incheon. They've won seventeen times vs Sangju's eleven. The other ten games have ended in draws.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-Chul takes charge of his first home game and should have a full squad to choose from. But, Gordan Bunoza will be unavailable for this game as he sits out a one match suspension. Lim Eun-soo is a booking away from a ban. Sangju Sangmu also have no players suspended for Friday evening's game.

Who To Watch

Incheon United will be looking towards Montenegrin striker Stefan Mugoša to rediscover his scoring form from last season and help fire them out of the relegation zone. He scored twice before his layoff due to a neck injury, but hasn't scored since returning a few weeks ago. Fingers crossed a boost from the home crowd on Friday will help. Just five teams goals from twelve games isn't good enough.

Moving into the midfield, captain Nam Jun-jae has been maybe the most consistent player this season, but he has struggled at time with injuries. The Incheon faithful will be hoping he can link up with Mugoša and others to provide some much needed goals. Also Vietnamese star Nguyễn Công Phượng came off the bench on Sunday, and looks increasing comfortable in the K League these days.

For Sangju Sangmu, forward Song Si-woo is someone the home fans will know very well as he is currently on-loan from Incheon. He only has two goals so far this season but is a dangerous option for Sangju moving forward. Also look out for Yoon Bit-garam, the former FC Seoul and Jeju United winger has international experience and is a key presence in attack for Sangju Sangmu.

Prediction

Incheon United come into this game knowing that their fans will be expecting things to improve. However, new manager, Yoo Sang-Chul, will need to come up with something new on the training pitch based on recent performances. He will most likely stick with the normal 4-5-1 formation, but with a few players rotating in and out.

Overall, Incheon desperately need a win but also cannot afford to lose again. The home fans deserve at least a goal to cheer, having not seen one since the second home game of the season. I personally see Incheon scoring, but those annoying defensive issues will cost them all three points and a draw seems the likely outcome.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1 - 1 Sangju Sangmu

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