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Preview: Incheon United vs Ulsan Hyundai

It's a classic top vs. bottom clash on Sunday evening as league leaders Ulsan Hyundai travel to rock bottom Incheon United. Can Incheon spring a surprise and claim a famous win over Ulsan, or will it be another routine day at the office for high flying Ulsan?

Last Time Out

Pohang Steelers 5-3 Incheon United
Incheon United were involved in a classic last Sunday evening on the road against mid-table Pohang Steelers. The match started badly for Incheon as Wanderson Carvalho teed up Iljutcenko to give Pohang the lead after just eleven minutes. Wanderson then put himself onto the scoresheet on the half hour to double the lead for Pohang. However Incheon found a reply just before half time as Kim Ho-nam made the most of a Pohang defensive mix-up, his third goal since joining earlier in the Summer.

During the second half Pohang continued to look like scoring, and it only took ten minutes for Ha Chang-rae to head home a Wanderson corner to restore Pohang's two goal advantage. However Incheon were once again able to bounce back, Stefan Mugosa scoring on the hour with a looping finish. Then six minutes later Mugosa again this time hitting a fabulous strike into the top corner to level the game. Things continued to go Incheons way as Iljutcenko was sent off for a second booking thirteen minutes from time. But this seemed to reenergize Pohang, and Wanderson restored their lead again with seven minutes to play. In injury time Wanderson completed his hat-trick and finished this wild game off.


Ulsan Hyundai 5 - 1 Sangju Sangmu
Ulsan Hyundai returned to the top of the K League following one-sided routine victory over Sangju Sangmu. Ulsan looked hungry following their disappointing defeat to Jeonbuk a week earlier and only had to wait twenty-two minutes to take the lead through Kang Min-soo. Five minutes later former Cardiff City star Kim Bo-kyung netted his eleventh of the season to double the lead. Sangju were able to regroup following that goal and scored just before half time via Kim Min-hyeok (on loan from Seongnam).

In the second half Ulsan dominated the action and looked dangerous throughout. Kim In-sung extended their lead to three just before the hour. Then later on in the half Hwang Il-su grabbed a brace to complete the scoring. The Jeonbuk defeat in now a distant memory as Ulsan return to the top of the K League.


Previous Meetings

Incheon United and Ulsan Hyundai have played each other twice so far this season with Ulsan winning both encounters, the first 3-0 (in Incheon) and the second 1-0 (in Ulsan).
Also during the 2018 season, Incheon United won once, one game ended in a 1-1 draw and the other was won 2-1 by Ulsan.

Incheon last beat Ulsan at home just last season winning 3-2. Youngster Kim Bo-seob was the hero that day scoring a brace, with Stefan Mugosa scoring the other. Ulsan last beat Incheon earlier this season winning 3-0 in April, Kim In-sung scored twice that afternoon.

Over the years Incheon and Ulsan have played each other 47 times with the victories dominated by Ulsan. They've won twenty-three times vs Incheon's thirteen. The other eleven games have ended in draws.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-chul saw improvements in his side with a couple of victories in the past few weeks, before last weekend defeat to Pohang. On loan midfielder Myung Jun-jae is suspended for this game after picking up a third booking of the season last weekend. Also three other players are currently a booking away from a ban.

Incheon key defender Gordan Bunoza was pictured at the game against Jeju United just under two weeks ago. He has been out injured since the beginning of the summer, but just might return this coming weekend.

Ulsan Hyundai will be without suspended defender Kang Min-soo, but apart from him they should have a full squad to choose from.

[READ: K League 1 Round 28 Preview

Who To Watch

Incheon United's current top scorer Stefan Mugoša has seven goals to his name so far this season, including two just last weekend against. He seems to be finally finding his scoring form from last season when he bagged nineteen goals.

Moving into the midfield Kim Ho-nam has scored three times since joining a little over a month ago from Jeju United. Also watch out for on-loan Jang Yun-ho who at the end of last season was tipped for an international call up.

Finally at the back, U23 International Kim Jin-ya has been one of the star Incheon players so far this season despite the sides poor form. He offers options moving forward and at the back and has a seemingly unlimited gas-tank. Also watch out for keeper Jeong San who pulled off a handful of important saves in the last couple of games, but admittedly wasn't great against Pohang.

The Adversary

Ulsan Hyundai returned to the top of the league last weekend following their impressive win over Sangju Sangmu, help by Jeonbuk Hyundai drawing against Seongnam FC. In recent weeks Ulsan lost to title rivals Jeonbuk Hyundai 3-0, and draw against Daegu. But prior to those results eased past Jeju United and FC Seoul.

Ulsan Hyundai last won the K League fourteen years ago in 2005, but did finish runners-up in 2013 losing out on the title on the final day of the season. This has been their best season since then and many feel they just might be able to dethrone Jeonbuk this season.

Look out for former Cardiff City star Kim Bo-kyung who has eleven goals so far this season. He is only on loan from Kashiwa Reysol, but Ulsan will surely be looking extend his stay at the end of the season. Also Brazilan forward Junior Negao is always dangerous upfront, and American Midfielder Mix Diskerud will be a controlling influence.


Incheon have once again struggled this season and find themselves deep in the relegation battle. Whilst Ulsan are polar opposites sitting at the top of the league and have a strong shot at winning their first title in fourteen years.

Looking at Sunday evening's game over in Incheon, Incheon will be clear underdogs, especially after their big defeat to Pohang coupled with Ulsans easy win over Sangju. However Ulsan have only won one in three, so they certainly aren't unbeatable.

Overall this one is must win for both sides, but for different reasons. Incheon can't afford to let their relegation rivals gain anymore ground. Whilst for Ulsan they need to pick up points against sides at the bottom of the table for their title bid. In the end I see a defensive approach from Incheon looking to counter, but Ulsan should have enough to claim the three points and go home happy.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai

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