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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Incheon United

Incheon United will be looking to drag the Pohang Steelers into the relegation dogfight as they clash this coming weekend. Incheon are stronger away from home and will be hoping to build on that form. However Pohang could still make a late push for the top half of the table and won't just give Incheon the three points.

Last Time Out

Sangju Sangmu 2-1 Pohang Steelers
Pohang traveled to Sangju last weekend and went home empty handed as Sangju won the game 2-1. The match started in the worst possible way for Pohang as Sangju took the lead after just nine minutes. Yoon Bit-garam scored the goal finishing a rebound after his penalty was saved. Pohang improved following the goal forcing a handful of strong saves but couldn't score an equalizer.

During the second half the game was still dominated by Pohang and they finally leveled after sixty three minutes. Kim Yong-hwan with a bullet strike from the edge of the box following good work from Stanislav Iljutcenko. However Sangju soon retook the lead just six minutes later. Park Yong-ji (on-loan from Incheon) with the finish. Pohang pushed for an equalizer but just couldn't find a way past the strong Sangju defence.

Highlights:

Incheon United 0-0 Jeju United
Incheon United labored to a goalless draw in a forgettable match last weekend against Jeju United. The two relegation strugglers created few openings during the first forty-five minutes with Incheon maybe edging the half chances.

In the second half Incheon took further control of the game but couldn't find a few past a solid Jeju backline. Kim Do-hyuk made a welcome return during the second half and went close for Incheon late on, but in the end the game slowed game and both sides seemed to settle for a share of the points. Sadly yet another home game for the loyal Incheon fans to forget.

Highlights: 

Previous Meetings

Incheon and Pohang have played each other twice so far this season with Pohang coming out with a 1-0 win in the first game in Incheon. Kim Yong-hwan scored an injury time winner that afternoon. Then, Incheon won the second game played in Pohang a little over a month ago, winning 2-1 that evening. 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 as already mentioned just a month ago in July 2019, winning 2-1 with Lee Jea-ho scoring the winner in injury time. 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 47 times with the victories edged by Pohang twenty to fourteen. The other thirteen games have all ended in draws.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-chul has finally been able to get his Incheon side to click recently with a couple of victories in the past few weeks. Good news for Incheon as no players are suspended for this game, however four players are currently a booking away from a ban.

Also Gordan Bunoza was pictured at the game against Jeju United last weekend. He has been out injured since the beginning of the summer, but just might return this coming weekend.

Pohang Steelers will be without midfielder Lee Soo-bin who is suspended after picking up his third booking of the season against Sangju last weekend.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's current top scorer Stefan Mugoša  has five goals to his name so far this season, however he hasn't scored since Incheon last played Pohang. He needs to rediscover his scoring form from last season when he bagged nineteen goals.

Moving into the midfield Kim Do-hyuk made his return following a two year loan spell at Asan Mugunghwa for his military service last weekend against Jeju. He is a welcome addition to the midfield, and hopefully will create links in the attacking third.

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. Also watch out for keeper Jeong San who pulled off a handful of important saves in the last couple of games.

The Adversary

Pohang Steelers have lost four of their last five games, including defeats to Sangju, Jeonbuk, Gangwon and Sundays opponents Incheon United. So heading into Saturdays game against eleventh placed Incheon, Pohang are sit uncomfortably just below midtable. They are ten points clear of the relegation battle, but seven points off the top half of the table with only a few games until the league split.

Look out for German-Russian forward Stanislav Iljutcenko, the former MSV Duisburg star has scored three times in eight appearances since joining Pohang recently. He also picked up as assist last weekend against Sangju Sangmu.


Prediction

Incheon have once again struggled this season and find themselves down in the relegation battle. Pohang are in the middle of the table battle but a drop in form has seen them start to move down and they might drop into the relegation battle with Incheon come the end of the season.

Looking at Sunday evening's game at the Steelyard down in Pohang, Incheon will be slight underdogs, but do come into this game having only lost one of their previous five games. Pohang on the other hand have lost four of their last five, including a 2-1 defeat to Incheon a little over a month ago.


Overall this one could be a close and defensive game. Pohang cannot afford to lose yet again especially against one of the three relegation strugglers. Incheon have had issues scoring so far this season and have failed to capitalize on solid openings at times. In the end I see this finishing in a draw with Incheon coming from behind.


Predicted Score: Pohang Steelers 1-1 Incheon United


[READ: K League 1 Round 27 Preview.]

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