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Preview: Seongnam FC vs Incheon United

With the second third of the K League 1 season in full swing fans have started to get an idea of where in the table their teams will be when it is all said and done in October. For Seognam and Incheon fans the fear of relegation is starting to settle in. Both teams enter this match 9th and 12th in the table, respectively, and while the Magpies are looking to use this match as a stepping stone away from the league's bottom half, Incheon, who are coming off a big win against Jeju, are just trying to claw their way up from the bottom.

Last Time Out

Things have not been going well for the Magpies this season but lately things have gone from bad to worse as they have dropped 4 in a row and haven't won in 6 matches. This past weekend saw Seongnam lose to 1st place Ulsan, 4-1. Though Seongnam's offense did seem to wake up, as they held onto possession far longer then expected and had 15 shots including 8 on goal, the Ulsan attack proved too much to handle for Seongnam's back line.

On Tuesday the Magpies hopped on the subway and headed for Seoul World Cup stadium for a match against FC Seoul. But once again walked away beaten down by a strong attack, losing 3-1. Though the Magpie defense held strong in the first half FC Seoul was able to break them down in the second half. The goals included a wonderfully designed effort, off a through ball sent in by Ikram Alibaev and sent into the back of the net by Persic.

For Seongnam's part midfielder Mathias Coureur showed the team wouldn't go down without a fight with a stylish no look, back foot, goal in the 93rd minute.

On the flipside if there is one team that could make Seongnam feel better about their season its Incheon United. Sitting at the bottom of the table Incheon hasn't had much to be happy about this season. However, in their last game they did finally secure their second win of the season knocking off Jeju United by a scroline of 2-1. Ji Eon-jak and Lee Woo-hyeok were the goal scorers with Woo-hyeok's goal coming off a penalty in the 82nd minute.

Previous Meetings

The last meeting between these two sides took place not too long ago, at the end of April, and ended in a 0-0 draw. Truly it was a microcosm of both teams' seasons where defense reigned supreme and offensive production was non-existent. Both teams could only muster up 8 shots each (6 on target for Incheon and 4 for Seongnam) in what was an overall lethargic match.

Before that meeting the teams hadn't met since 2016 because of Seongnam's relegation. Ironically, these two teams are likely to find themselves both fighting relegation towards the end of the season.

Team News

The news front for Seongnam has been quiet this week. Regarding the situation with striker Jaja, there have been no updates but its safe to say that it is not improving and he will not be making an appearance for the Magpies anytime soon.

Seongnam have no one suspended this week but Kim Min-hyeok, Kong Min-hyu, Choe Byeong-chan and Kim Hyun-sung are all in yellow card jeopardy this week with 2 each.

The Adversary

Incheon United come into this game against Seongnam FC on a high after beating Jeju United on Tuesday evening, for their first win in twelve games. However, they are still bottom of the league and therefore need another good result. Beating Seongnam would certainly help them up into a little more of a secure area of the league table.

New manager Yoo Sang-chul hasn’t had the best of starts to life in Incheon, losing his opening two games, but has at least now picked up his first win in the blue and black of. Vice-captain Gordon Bunoza returned on Tuesday in one of six changes, and those players that came in might hold onto their starting spots. However, top scorer Stefan Mugosa might return after missing Tuesday due to a light injury. The formation should be a defensive 4-5-1 once again, as Incheon rarely change from that tactic.

Asian Games Gold Medalist and young star at Incheon United Kim Jin-Ya has been one of a few consistent players so far this season. The twenty year old winger, turned full-back, is reliable both at the back and going forward, and never seems to tire.

Incheon are once again in the relegation battle, but that’s the norm for their long suffering fans. They can’t really afford to lose to another side in trouble like Seongnam, therefore a draw seems like the likely outcome for this one. I do see Incheon scoring, but a clean sheet seems unlikely based on
recent performances.

- Tim Barnes 

Prediction

It's no secret that both teams have struggled to generate any offense and don't truly have a real striker up front. But, Seongnam has shown to be capable of pulling together some great chances off crosses and and on the counter attack. It will be a close and somewhat slow match, however, the Magpies should be able to come away with 3 points.

Seongnam FC 1-0 Incheon United



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