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Preview: Incheon United vs Jeju United

The early game on Sunday evening in the K League 1 is a big relegation six pointer between eleventh placed Incheon United and bottom side Jeju United. Can Incheon move further ahead of Jeju, or can the visitors pick up the win and leapfrog Incheon off the bottom of the table. 

Last Time Out

Suwon Bluewings 0-1 Incheon United

Incheon United picked up a huge three points last Saturday evening on the road against Suwon Bluewings. The first half was pretty even and played at a solid pace despite the heat and humidity at the Suwon World Cup Stadium. Both sides had their moments but lacked a little luck and killer instinct in-front of goal.

Incheon United started the second half with a little more energy and composure. They were rewarded just seven minutes into the half as Kim Ho-nam smashed home from a narrow angle. From that point Incheon continued to control the game and limit Suwon in the attacking third. Fine saves from Jeong San were also invaluable in the end. It might not have been pretty but the victory moved Incheon off the bottom ahead of Jeju United.


Jeju United 1-4 Sangju Sangmu

Jeju United crashed to a depressing defeat last weekend against mid-table Sangju Sangmu, a result which saw them drop to the bottom of the league below Incheon United. The first half started great for Jeju as they took an eighteenth minute lead via a Christian Osaguona finish, he first in the K League. However Sangju bounce back and leveled after thirty-two through a Kang Sang-woo finish.
Kang Sang-woo scored his second from the spot a minute before half time.

In the second half things went from bad to worse for Jeju as Sangju extended their lead and took control of the game. Sim Dong-woon scored twice in the middle of the half to leave no doubt on who was going to take home the full three points. Jeju looked poor in defence and lacked control in midfield, whilst Sangju converted their chances clinically.


Previous Meetings

Incheon United and Jeju United have already clashed twice this season with the first game ending in a 1-1 draw. Then Incheon won 2-1 down in Jeju just before the summer with Lee Woo-hyeok scoring the winner. Also these sides played each other three times during the 2018 season, with Jeju winning twice, and the third and final game ending in a goalless draw.

Incheon last beat Jeju at home back in July 2016, coming out 2-1 winners. Kim Dae-joong scored the late winner deep into injury time. Jeju beat Incheon away just last season winning 2-1 on May 5th.

Over the years Incheon and Jeju have played each other 40 times with the victories slightly edged by Jeju thirteen to eleven, with the other sixteen games ending in draws.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-chul seems to be getting more out of his much changed squad at the moment. Midfielder Kim Do-hyeok makes his return to Incheon following his loan spell at Asan Mugunghwa. Also no Incheon players are suspended for this game, however Kim Jeung-ho, Lee Jae-sung, Myung Jun-jae and Jeong San are all a booking away from a ban.

Gordan Bunoza has been injured for much of the Summer, it’s a little unlikely but he could be available for a return on Sunday evening. Kim Jin-ya went off injured last weekend, so could miss out this weekend. Summer signings Rashid Mahazi & Lanre Kehinde both should be in the squad and probably starting XI for the game against Jeju United.

The Adversary

Jeju will be happy to see the returns of Ahn Hyun-beom and Kim Ji-un to the club following the completion of their military service at Asan Mugunghwa. Ahn was an instrumental player in Asan’s title run last year, and was also a key figure the last time he played for Jeju in 2016 and 2017. He made over forty appearances in league play, totaling six goals and six assists, and also saw action in the ACL on eight occasions in 2017. Kim will be a depth piece at most. He spent a few loan spells in K League 2 with Seoul E-Land and Suwon FC in 2016 and 2017, amassing 34 appearances with one goal and eight assists over that spell.

Oh Seung-hoon’s Jeju stint has not gotten off to the start that many had hoped for, as he has allowed eleven goals in the three matches he has played since joining the club. After a solid performance in a 2-2 away draw against Jeonbuk on his debut at the end of last month, it is safe to say that the last two times out have been likely the worst performances of his career. If Jeju are going to have a chance at avoiding relegation, he needs to play much better.

After being brought into the club in the winter transfer window to provide an attacking presence, Elias Aguilar was beginning to establish himself as one of its most dependable players. However, since his return from the Gold Cup, he has played a full ninety only once, in the 2-0 loss to Suwon Bluewings on July 7th, and has not seen consistent action since. Considering it is his former club that Jeju will be facing next, the hope is that he will get the call from the first whistle.

Finally, Christian Osaguona has shown that he can be a presence up front for the islanders, as he has started each of the past two matches and played a full part, registering the only goal in last week’s loss to Sangju. He was also instrumental on his debut, coming on as a substitute in the second half, having a goal in the equalizing goal against the defending champions.

In other club news, Lee Chang-min is lost until June, 2020 as a final decision was rendered in his court case and he is now facing disciplinary action. Lee Dong-ryul is on national duty with the U-22 side and is unavailable, while Lee Keun-ho’s return from a muscle fiber injury is still very much up in the air, although it is thought that if he does in fact play again this season, it will be later in the fall. There are no suspensions in the team, thus, Choi Yun-kyum will have some decisions to make with regards to his starting eleven coming off back-to-back poor performances.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's current top scorer Stefan Mugoša currently has five goals to his name this season, and he is in fact the only Incheon player to have scored more than once. Also new signing Nigerian Lanre Kehinde played full games since joining. The tall former Denizlispor man looked solid on the ball and fingers crossed he finds a goal scoring touch sooner rather than later.

Moving into the midfield Kim Do-hyeok returned from Asan Mugunghwa during the week following the end of his military service. Kim made over one hundred appearances for Incheon before leaving many toward the end as captain. He'll be a big boost to the midfield.

Finally at the back; last weekend Incheon played three at the back and claimed a clean sheet, in part thanks to a string of strong saves from keeper Jeong San. Hopefully he'll be on form once again this coming Sunday.


Both Incheon and Jeju will be fully aware of what is at stake as they clash on Sunday evening. This is a true relegation six pointer even at this stage of the season. Incheon will be slight favorites playing at home and coming into the game on the back of an impressive win over Suwon Bluewings last weekend. Incheon are however a little weak at home only winning once in Incheon so far this season, all the way way back in March.

Jeju United have struggled so far this season which is a slight surprise when compared to their form in previous years. They made a few mistakes in their hiring and firing during the off-season which has caused them to drop to the bottom of the table with only three wins all season. Recently Jeju United have lost their last two games heavily against Ulsan 5-0 and then last weekend 4-1 against Sangju Sangmu. Prior to those defeats Jeju picked up six points from four games and seemed to be moving in the right direction.

Overall neither Incheon nor Jeju have played well this season and are rightly down in the relegation battle. But Incheon recently have looked improved and have brought in some strong players during the Summer transfer window. Plus with Jeju's poor form at the moment I see Incheon claiming all three points and extending their lead over Jeju in the league table.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 2-1 Jeju United

[READ: K League 1 Round 26 Preview]

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