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Preview: Incheon United vs. Daegu FC


The long wait is finally over for both Incheon United and Daegu FC as they can both begin their 2020 K League 1 Seasons this coming Saturday. Famous slow starters Incheon will start the game as slight underdogs but will have home advantage against 2018 FA Cup winners Daegu FC.

2020 Pre-Season

Incheon United

Pre-season for Incheon has been of course just like all K League sides interrupted. They had a successful start over in Thailand and reports were that the squad bonded and gelled quickly. However, their most recent pre-season friendlies haven't ended well. Firstly they lost 1-0 to second-tier Suwon FC. Then last weekend they fell to another K League 2 sides this time at the hands of Seoul E-Land 2-1. Defender Kim Jeong-ho with the only goal for Incheon.

Off-season signings have been mainly aimed at boosting squad numbers and strength in depth. midfielder Kim Jun-yub (from Daegu), defender Kim Yeon-su (from Ansan) and forward Song Si-woo (loan return from Sangju) are the highlights. The departure of U22 international Kim Jin-ya to FC Seoul was a blow.

Daegu FC

Daegu started their pre-season over in China, and things went well as the recorded solid wins over the likes of Beijing BSU and Qingtao Hwanghae. But then they were forced to return early due to the virus outbreak and then with Daegu being a hot-spot for covid19 in Korea, their pre-season has been disrupted a little more than others.

The biggest off-season signing was of veteran forward and K League legend Dejan Damjanović (from Suwon Bluewings) along with also young full-back Lee Jin-hyun (from Pohang Steelers). The departure of Korea International keeper Jo Hyun-hoo (to Ulsan) could cause them problems at the back this season.

Previous Meetings

Last season Incheon and Daegu have played each other three times with Daegu winning the first two games, and the third was a draw. Daegu won 3-0 away in March and 2-1 at home in May. The final game ended 1-1 back in September 2019, Edgar Silva with the goal for Daegu and Myung Jun-jae with the injury time equalizer for Incheon.

Incheon last beat Daegu at home during the summer of 2013 winning 2-1. Brazilian Diogo Acosta scored the winner that evening. Daegu last beat Incheon away early last season. Winning 3-0 with Kim Jin-hyeok scoring a brace, and Cesinha with a late third

Over the years Incheon and Daegu have played each other 41 times in all competitions with the victories edged by Incheon. They've won fourteen times versus Daegu's eleven. The other sixteen games have ended in draws.

Team News

This weekends game sees neither side coming in with any suspensions and, of course, no K League players tested positive for COVID-19 after rigorous testing last week.

Incheon don't have any reported injury concerns, however, star forward Stefan Mugosa only played a small part in one of their recent friendly matches. Daegu also come into the game with a clean bill of health and should be able to name a full-strength starting eleven.

Adversary

Daegu FC had a solid 2019 season, but couldn't build on their successful 2018 Cup Winning campaign. They dropped out of the ACL at the end of the group stages. The finished the season in fifth place just outside of the ACL spots.

Look out for star Brazilian attacking midfielder Cesinha. He has played over one hundred times for Daegu, and scored a solid fifteen goals in the league just last season. Also, watch out for veteran forward and former Incheon United star Dejan Damjanović. The former FC Seoul legend joined from Suwon Bluewings during the off-season and, despite being close to his thirty-ninth birthday, is still very dangerous. He scored thirty goals in two seasons for Suwon Bluewings.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's top goal scorer from the 2019 season was Montenegrin International forward Stefan Mugoša. He scored fourteen goals in twenty-two games, including nine in the final stretch of the season. That form lead him to be the only Incheon player named in the K League award nominations.

Moving into the midfield, Australia summer 2019 signing Rashid Mahazi quickly settled into life in the K League and fast became a fan favorite at the Sungui Arena. He is a confident and reliable rock in the middle of the park.

Finally at the back, with star wing-back Kim Jin-ya moving to rivals FC Seoul, hopefully new signing from Ansan Greeners Kim Yeon-su will fill the gap. Between the sticks, it should be the experienced hands of Jeong San, he can be a little hit-or-miss but fingers crossed this weekend it's the former.

Prediction

This is a super tough game to predict as both sides haven't played a competitive game since the end of 2019, so are slightly unknown forces at this point.

Overall Daegu will come in as slight favorites based on last seasons performances and their overall squad. However Incheon are generally strong at home (although it's tough to judge if the lack of fans in attendance will have an impact), so will make this a close and competitive game. In the end, I honestly see this one ending in a draw, but it should be competitive with a few goals.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-1 Daegu FC

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