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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Incheon United

Bottom of the league Incheon United desperately need to find some form heading deeper into the K League season. They travel to Pohang Steelers on Saturday in what will be a tough game. Can Incheon finally improve or will Pohang build on their recent run of form?

Last Time Out

Jeju United 1-1 Pohang Steelers

Pohang traveled to Jeju last Sunday in a match that was overshadowed by other games at the top of the K League. The game started brightly with both sides having chances, however it was Jeju United who drew first blood taking the lead after twenty-four minutes. Yun Il-lok with the goal, his sixth of the season. But Pohang were able to mount a first half comeback and leveled four minutes before half time when Stanislav Iljutcenko turned home a Kim Seung-dae pass.

During the second half the action and game didn't really get going again. Pohang looked the more like scoring, but Jeju seemed happy to play defensively and settle for a point. In the end Pohang maybe should have done better in a winnable away encounter.

Highlights:

Incheon United 0-2 FC Seoul

Incheon United suffered yet another disappointing defeat last weekend as they lost by two goals against local rivals FC Seoul. It was a pretty uneventful game despite being a derby match. An even first half ended with a bang as Ko Kwang-min capitalized on some slack Incheon defending to slot home with basically the final kick of the half.

In the second half Incheon didn't really improve and when they finally tried pushing forward they were punished on the counter attack. Park Chu-young latched onto a Osmar pass and hit a belter into the top corner. Incheon tried in vain to start an unlikely comeback but Seoul held on for the full three points.

Highlights: 

Previous Meetings

Incheon and Pohang played earlier this season with Pohang coming out one-nil victors. Kim Yong-hwan scored the injury winner that afternoon. They also played each other three times last season, with all three games being very even. The first ended 0-0, then Pohang won the other two 2-1 and 1-0.

Incheon last won at away against Pohang back in 2016, winning 1-0 with Park Se-jik scoring the winner via the spot. Pohang beat Incheon at home just last season, winning 1-0 with Kim Seung-dae scoring the only goal of that game.

Over the years Incheon and Pohang have played each other 46 times with the victories edged by Pohang twenty to thirteen. The other thirteen games have all ended in draws.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-chul continues to struggle to find the winning formula since taking over. But there is a little good news as no Incheon players are suspended for this game, however defender Kim Jeung-ho and Myung Jun-jae are both a booking away from a ban.

Also Gordan Bunoza and Jiloan Hadam were both pictured at the game against Suwon Bluewings a little over a week ago, so fingers crossed they're fit and ready to play soon. Recent signing from Jeju United Kim Ho-nam played a full ninety last weekend and should be ready to play again on Saturday.

Recent signing Rashid Mahazi may be available to at least sit on the bench after signing from Australian side Western Sydney Wanderers during the week.

Pohang Steelers sold Kim Seung-dae to Jeonbuk Hyundai during the week, however they don't currently have any players suspended.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's current top scorer Stefan Mugoša played full games against both Suwon and Seoul, but didn't look 100% fit and ready. Fingers crossed a few days off will have done him some good as he is still the best outlet for goals Incheon have.

Moving into the midfield Jung Hoon-sung once again impressed against Suwon Bluewings and his was rewarded with a goal, however he didn't feature against Seoul. Myung Jun-jae has looked strong since joining from Jeonbuk and will be key on Saturday.

Finally at the back, wingback Kim Jin-ya has been one of the star Incheon players so far this season despite the sides poor form. He has been named in the squad that will face Juventus highlighting his growing value.

The Adversary

Pohang Steelers are undefeated in their past four games drawing three and beating Seongnam FC 1-0 in the other. Heading into Saturdays game against bottom of the league Incheon, Pohang are sit comfortably in midtable. They however will have half an eye on Suwon one place and three points above them and inside the top half.

Look out for German-Russian forward Stanislav Iljutcenko, the former MSV Duisburg star has scored twice in three appearances since joining Pohang recently. He will be extra important since key playmaker Kim Seung-dae has now joined Jeonbuk Hyundai.


Prediction

Incheon are in big trouble, dropping points week in week out and lacking any type of consistency. They've only scored twelve times so far this season by far the lowest in the league. Defensively they've been solid at times but still continue to concede avoidable goals often late in the half.

Looking at Saturday evenings game at the Steelyard down in Pohang, Incheon will be obvious underdogs having lost their last four games on the bounce. But their loyal fans hold out hope that times will change and Incheon can make an unlikely relegation escape.


Overall both sides need to start winning as neither is currently on any great run of form. However Pohang Steelers at home should have the edge over bottom of the league Incheon. In the end I see a narrow single goal victory for Pohang, whilst Incheon might be thinking about appointing their third manager of the 2019 season sooner rather than later.


Predicted Score: Pohang Steelers 1-0 Incheon United


K League 1 Round 22 Preview: here

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