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Gyeongin Derby Preview: FC Seoul vs Incheon United

Gyeongin Derby Preview: FC Seoul vs Incheon United
FC Seoul will host Incheon United on Sunday for the third Gyeongin Derby of the campaign when the two sides meet in Round 29 of the 2019 K League 1 season. Seoul are in the midst of a sticky patch of form with just one win in seven, but manager Choi Yongsoo can take solace in knowing that his side came out on top when these two teams last met. Relegation-threatened Incheon have just two defeats in their last seven but only two of those matches have ended in a Durumi win.  

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

FC Seoul 0-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Following a 2-0 reverse at home to once title rivals Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, FC Seoul extended their win-less run to four matches. Whilst FC Seoul manager Choi Yongsoo stuck to his much favoured 3-5-2 formation, his opposite number Jose Morais switched to a back three in order to help create more one on one situations, something which the Portugese said he felt his side were strong in.

The first goal didn't come from a one on one situation, instead it was a Samuel Rosa header from inside the box; the Brazilian nodded home Korean international defender Kwon Kyungwon's left-footed cross with just eight minutes on the clock. However, Jeonbuk's second did come from such a scenario, Moon Seonmin found himself bearing down on Seoul goalkeeper Yoo Sanghoon before squaring the ball to Lopes who swept the ball into the back of the net via the inside of the left-hand post. The win extended Jeonbuk's unbeaten run to 17 matches, but for FC Seoul it is now eight meetings since the capital club picked up a win over the Green Warriors.

Highlights





Incheon United 3-3 Ulsan Hyundai
A Stefan Mugoša hat-trick earned Incheon United a huge point in their bid to avoid the drop. The Montenegrin international struck twice in the last five minutes either side of a Lee Keunho headed to see the spoils shared at Sungui Arena Park. Ulsan, though, had a 2-0 goal lead thanks to a Junior Negao brace with goals on 41 and 53 minutes. However, just after the hour mark, Mugoša pulled one back before finding an 87th minute equaliser. However, almost immediately, Ulsan regained their lead through veteran striker Lee Keunho only for Mugoša to fire in a 92nd minute winner. Ulsan dropped to second whilst Incheon sit in the relegation place but one point ahead of Jeju United.

Highlights


Previous Meetings

Whilst Incheon United have proved to be a thorn in the side of FC Seoul in recent seasons, Choi Yongsoo's men were able to pick up the win the last time these two sides met. In mid-July, a Ko Kwangmin strike on the stroke of half time, only his third ever league goal and first in FC Seoul colours in three years, gave the visitors the lead. And then, with eight minutes to go, Park Chuyoung doubled Seoul's advantage with a long range strike, Osmar with the assist.

Said win was Seoul's first over Incheon since July 2017, a run of seven matches between the two teams, when a Dejan Damjanovic hat-trick sandwiched between strikes from Go Yohan and Kwak Taewhi sealed an emphatic win. Park Yongji, who is currently with Sangju Sangmu as part of his mandatory military service, pulled back a late consolation in injury time.

Incheon United players celebrate last season's Gyeongin Derby victory.
Sunday's match at Seoul World Cup Stadium will be the 51st Gyeongin Derby. the 28th at Sangam. Overall, Seoul have 24 victories to Incheon's 11 and 15 draws. In the capital, Seoul have 16 wins whilst Incheon have just two with the remaining nine fixtures ending in draws. Incheon's most recent win at Sangam, their first in five years, was at the tail end of the 2018 season when Seoul needed just a point to guarantee survival. However, a Han Seokjong strike in the seventh minute gave the Durumi a vital three points.

Team News

FC Seoul will have midfielders Ju Sejong and Lee Myoungju available for selection after the pair were discharged from military duty with Asan Mugunghwa. Given FC Seoul's recent form, suspensions, and injury woes, the pair could go straight into the starting lineup. Jung Hyeoncheol is suspended meaning that Osmar is likely to revert to centre back with Ju Sejong as the holding midfielder. A drop in form for young right wing back Yoon Jonggyu could mean that captain Go Yohan could shift to the right with Lee Myungjoo lining up alongside Alibaev in the centre of midfield.

Elsewhere, Park Chuyoung remains a doubt with a with a calf injury, and Cho Youngwook is suspended meaning that Park Dongjin or Yun Jutae are Choi Yongsoo's main options to partner Aleksandar Pešić in attack.

FC Seoul starting lineup vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, K League 1 R28.


The Adversary


Much like his opposite number Choi Yongsoo, Incheon United manager Yoo Sangchul is a creature of habit when it comes to formation. The Durumi have been set up in a 4-4-2 formation since taking over from Jorn Andersen, with the exception of the away trip to Suwon Bluewings for which the Durumi were deployed in a 3-5-2. Whilst Stefan Mugosa has been a relative mainstay up front, which striker partners him has varied; against Ulsan it was 25 year-old Ji Eonhak who made his first foray into K League this season having joined from Gimhae City over the winter. In the 5-3 defeat to Pohang Steelers two rounds ago it was Nigerian targetman Olanrewaju Kehinde and in five other matches this season since joining from Denizlispor from 1.Lig, the Turkish second tier, but is yet to find the back of the net for the Neroazure with the partnership with Montenegrin international Mugoša not clicking just yet. Kim Jinya, Yeo Seonghae, and Kwak Haesong have been regulars at the back, as has Lee Jaesung but the as has former Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors central defender is suspended for the trip to Sangam, whilst fellow centre back Gordon Bunoza is out through injury.

The absence of Lee Jaesung will be a huge miss for Incheon as, after becoming much harder to break down throughout the summer, they have shipped eight goals in their last two games. And so, with Stefan Mugoša bagging five in his last three, finding the back of the net doesn't seem to be the issue for Incheon at the moment. That said, the Durumi have the second lowest expected goals ration in the division with just 28 and 22 goals scored. At the other end, Incheon have conceded the third most in K League 1 with 43, only their relegation rivals Jeju and Gyeongnam have shipped more with 48 and 54 respectively. However, somewhat interestingly, Incheon have been involved in the most amount of defensive duels in the divisions, the most per 90 minutes with an average of 68.83%, and are second in terms of success rate with 59.6% of all defensive duels won. In other team news, Gordon Bunoza is out through injury.

Incheon United starting lineup versus Ulsan Hyundai, K League 1 Round 28.


What To Watch



How FC Seoul handle Stefan Mugoša is going to be key in the capital club picking up all three points. The Montenegrin international has is outscoring his expected goals with 10 goals compared to an xG of 8.38, and has five in his last three and bagged for his country during the international break too. Mugoša's movement in the box, knowing where to be at the right time, is what makes him one of the league's best strikers. Seoul's back three has seen several personnel changes in recent months, Kim Lee Woonghee, Kim Jusung, Hwang Hyunsoo, Jung Hyeoncheol, Kim Wonsik, Osmar, and Kim Wonkyun before his season threatening injury have all played in Seoul's back three. It's highly likely that a different combination of central defenders will take to the field for FC Seoul given Jung Hyeoncheol's suspension, Kim Namchun's return to fitness, and a shaky display from youngster Kim Jusung against Jeonbuk. Seoul will have to be careful of giving Mugoša space in and around the box if they are to get back to winning ways.

Prediction

Seoul should win this one but the record against Incheon in recent seasons leaves a lot to be desired. With Mugoša's rich goalscoring form it will be expected that the Montenegrin international will have chances given the space which FC Seoul's back line often allow. That said, a week's rest for the vast majority of FC Seoul's players, Pešić in particular, may just be what was needed to head into the split strongly. A narrow home win if Pešić can get the right service and Osmar returns to the back three. 

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