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Preview: Incheon United vs Gangwon FC

Incheon United moved off the bottom of the K League 1 table following a draw last weekend. They'll be looking to go one better this coming Sunday as they host fifth placed Gangwon FC. Gangwon however proved last weekend that you cannot discount them, so this could be an interesting game.


Last Time Out

Gyeongnam FC 1-1 Incheon United

Incheon once again labored to a draw last weekend down in Jinju against fellow strugglers Gyeongnam FC. The first half started brightly for the visitors, and their early positive efforts were rewarded as Stefan Mugosa teed-up Swedish winger Jiloan Hamad for his first goal in the black and blue of Incheon. However, the goal proved to be the kick start Gyeongnam needed and they started to control more of the game from that point.

In the second half, Gyeongnam continued to press and were rewarded as dutch forward Luc Castaignos was given space and he headed home to level the game after forty-nine minutes. Once the sides were level the game settled down and there were only half-chances for either side for the rest of the game. Incheon seemed to settle for a draw and even subbed off key attacking options Mugosa and Hamad, maybe with an eye on this upcoming game.

Highlights: here

Gangwon FC 5-4 Pohang Steelers

This was a game that had to be seen to be believed. Pohang were four up with twenty minutes to play and Gangwon fought back to win. It was one of the best comebacks not just in K League history, but maybe in football.

The game started with Gangwon handing a deserved pro debut for U20 World Cup star keeper Lee Gwang-yeon, however his day didn't start well as Brazilian Wanderson Carvalho gave Pohang the lead after eighteen minutes. Wanderson then doubled the lead for Pohang via a slightly fortuitous free-kick late in the first half.

The second half continued to go for Pohang as Lee Seok-hyun extended their lead to three just nine minutes into the half. Then Wanderson Carvalho completed his hat-trick making it four-nil to the visitors and the game looked done and the points were heading back to the South East coast.

But then Gangwon introduced veteran forward Jung Jo-Gook and they started to pressure the Pohang goal. Cho Jae-wan gave Gangwon hope scoring first after seventy minutes. That was followed by a rare strike for Cypriot, Sielis, to make it four-two with ten minutes to play. Heading into injury time Gangwon continued to press forward and Cho Jae-wan grabbed his second of the game after ninety-two minutes. Cho Jae-Wan then completed an unlikely hat-trick and leveled the game at four-four in what seemed like the final minute of injury time. However, Jung Jo-Gook popped up to fire home the winner and complete a famous comeback in the ninety-sixth minute.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Incheon United and Gangwon clashed in May on Children's Day with Gangwon narrowly winning 1-0. Shin Kwang-hoon scored the only goal of that game midway into the first half. Last season, they played each other four times with Gangwon winning two (including a 7-0 hammering), one game ending three-all and the other won 3-2 by Incheon.

Incheon have only ever lost once to Gangwon at home, all the way back in 2010 when Incheon still played at the Munhak Stadium. A young Ahn Sung-nam (now at Gyeongnam) scored the third goal in a 3-1 win that day. Incheon last beat Gangwon at home in 2013, with Ahn Jae-joon scoring the only goal that afternoon.

Over the years Incheon and Gangwon have played each other 21 times with the victories tied at nine apiece. Only three games have ended in a draw.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-chul continues to find slight improvements week on week since taking the Incheon job. No Incheon players are suspended for this game, however Nam Jun-jae and Lim Eun-soo are both a booking away from a ban. Gordan Bunoza should be back following a short break.

Who To Watch

Incheon United will again be looking towards Montenegrin striker and current top scorer Stefan Mugoša to finally rediscover his scoring form from last season. Incheon have only scored nine times this season, with Mugosa scoring three of those.

Moving into the midfield, Swedish midfielder Jiloan Hamad finally started to show an attacking touch last weekend scoring against Gyeongnam. He looked much more comfortable playing in a more attacking role. Captain Nam Jun-jae should also feature on Sunday and is always a danger when Incheon attack.

Finally, at the back, keeper Jeong San returned to the started lineup against Gyeongnam. He produced a number of strong saves especially during the first half so he should start again on Sunday.

For Gangwon, hat-trick hero from last weekend Cho Jae-wan will be super confident coming into this game and Incheon therefore cannot afford to give him an inch. Also watch out for veteran forward Jung Jo-gook who scored the unlikely winner last weekend.

Prediction

Incheon United need to string together a solid run of result as the season approaches the half way point. They are deep in the relegation battle and continue to struggle to score goals, therefore a win against Gangwon could be the catalyst to start picking up points. Manager Yoo Sang-chul will once again play defensively with the normal 4-5-1 formation being the likely tactic this coming Sunday.

Overall, Gangwon will be confident heading into this one following their comeback last weekend, but they may also be running on tired legs. Defensively they were poor and Incheon might be able to exploit that come Sunday. In the end I see a close game with both sides trying to counter and improve defensively, with a draw being the more likely outcome. However, either side could pick up the win here, it will be a close one.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1 - 1 Gangwon FC

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