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Gyeongin Derby Preview: FC Seoul vs Incheon United

Gyeongin Derby Preview: FC Seoul vs Incheon United K League 1 Round 9
After five consecutive defeats FC Seoul look to bounce back this Saturday against Gyeongin Derby rivals Incheon United in Round 9 of the 2020 Hana 1Q K League 1 campaign. A 2-0 reverse to Ulsan Hyundai last time out condemned Seoul to their worst-ever run but are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Incheon. United are yet to win this term with six losses and two draws and so make the trip to the capital in desperate need of three points themselves.


Fixture: FC Seoul (11th) vs Incheon United (12th), K League 1 Round 9, 19:00 KST
Venue: Seoul World Cup Stadium, 19:00 KST
Form: FC Seoul: WLLLLL Incheon United: LLLLL

Last Time Out

FC Seoul 0-2 Ulsan Hyundai

Seoul were condemned to their fifth defeat on the trot with a 2-0 home reverse to Ulsan Hyundai thanks to goals from Bjørn Johnsen and Júnior Negrão in the second half. Manager Choi Yong-soo shifted to a back four for the first time in around two years, opting for a 4-3-3 with Kim Jin-ya and Go Yo-han flanking Par Chu-young in attack. Seoul had a decent go of things in the first half, a deflected free-kick by Park Chu-young hit the cross bar, an acrobatic follow-up shot by Ju Se-jong forced a decent stop from Jo Hyeon-woo in the Horangi goal. The shot by Ju was perhaps the only highlight of his afternoon as he was sent off for two bookable offences, both for clumsy challenges.

With 10 men for much of the second half Seoul battled bravely but, as has often been the case this term, struggled for rhythm in the final third. Ulsan took the lead on 65 minutes when Park Joo-ho's cross was met by the head of Bjørn Johnsen, the Norwegian scoring his second is as many matches. Just five minutes later and Go Yo-han struck the crossbar with a curling, right-footed effort from outside of the area, then Júnior hit the bar five minutes later at the other end. The Sangam groundsman will perhaps need some touch-up paint for his goal posts as Kim In-sung also hit the post late on.

Ulsan eventually found a second in the 90th minute, Júnior pouncing on a loose ball in the box to bundle home from close range. Yoon Bit-garam's corner from the left was missed by all except Seoul 'keeper Yu Sang-hun who, for some reason, decided to punch the ball into the back of his own defender. The loose ball was mopped up by Júnior for his eighth of the season. Individual errors costing FC Seoul for the second week in a row.


Incheon United 0-1 Busan IPark

A late Kim Moon-hwan strike for Busan piled the misery on Incheon United, condemning the Blue Black to their sixth defeat of the season. Lim Wan-sub was without Gordan Bunoza due to injury but Lee Jae-sung kept his place in the team at the heart of the defence. Incheon mustered just two shots on target throughout the whole 90 minutes and rarely looked like threatening. After Busan's shout for a penalty was denied by VAR after Jeong San was adjudged to have cleared the ball first before IPark striker Lee Jeong-heop went tumbling. However, the visitors did eventually find their goal, right back Kim Moon-hwan finding the top corner from just outside the box. A first win of the season for Busan, a sixth defeat on the spin for Incheon.


Previous Meetings

Seoul are unbeaten in three against Incheon thanks to two wins and a draw last season. The most recent encounter was at Sangam in September 2019 when the capital club ran out 3-1 winners, despite going a goal behind. Kim Ho-nam had the Blue Black in front on 26 minutes but a daisy cutter from Ju Se-jong on 59 minutes restored parity. Seoul then took the lead through a Park Chu-young penalty before Jung Won-jin made it three in the 90th.

In July at Sungui Arena Park, Park Chu-young scored his first of two Gyeongin Derby goals last season, scoring Seoul's second in a 2-0 win. Ko Kwang-min had given Choi Yong-soo's side the lead on the stroke of half time with his first K League goal in three years. The first meeting of 2019 ended as a 0-0 draw.

Overall, there have been 49 meetings between the two teams - Seoul have 21 wins to Incheon's 11 and 17 draws. In the last 10 meetings Seoul have four wins to Incheon's three and three draws. At home, Seoul have lost just twice to Incheon - the most recent being a 1-0 reverse at the tail end of 2018, Han Seok-jong piling the misery on a relegation-threatened Seoul.

Team News

FC Seoul will be without the services of Ju Se-jong who was sent off in the 2-0 defeat to Ulsan last week. Osmar is due a return and so could replace the Korean international as the holding midfielder. The Spaniard has been out with an ankle injury picked up in training but could be recalled given that Seoul have leaked 14 goals during their last five matches. Meanwhile, Yun Young-sun is expected to make his Seoul debut after joining from Ulsan on loan.

FC Seoul starting lineup vs Ulsan Hyundai, K League 1 R8.
For Incheon, Nigerian striker Olanrewaju Kehinde has been ruled out for the season, and fan favourite Stefan Mugoša is a doubt after limping out of the defeat to Busan, limiting Lim Wan-sub's attacking options. Centre back Gordan Bunoza lasted just 10 minutes before being forced off through injury in the loss to Gwangju and missed Sunday's loss to Busan, but centre back Lee Jae-sung has returned to the fold following an alleged bust up with manager Lim. The 2016 AFC Champions League winner has featured in the Durumi's last three matches and should keep his place for the trip to Seoul. Meanwhile, defensive midfielder Rashid Mahazi is now fully fit and is likely to start in central midfield.

Incheon United lineup vs Busan IPark, K League 1 Round 8.

Eulji Lewis

The Adversary

The first Gyeongin Derby of the season will be the division's bottom two going toe-to-toe in search of long overdue wins. Incheon prop up the K League 1 table having picked up just two points from their first eight matches and with just three goals scored - two by Kim Ho-nam and one from Montenegrin international Stefan Mugoša. The 2020 campaign started off relatively well with Incheon picking up two draws and not a single goal conceded but are now on a run of six straight defeats. A tendency to sit back and invite pressure has meant that United have faced the third-most number of shots against (101), but have blocked the second-most with 27.

But, Incheon's problems at the other end of the pitch are as clear as day having managed just 72 shots this season, the second-fewest in the division. The Durumi are believed to be desperately searching for a replacement for Kehinde and are in direct competition with Seoul for Uroš Đerić from Gyeongnam.

Incheon are led by former Ansan Greeners gaffer Lim Wan-sub - the anointed one. Yoo Sang-chul had reportedly recommended Lim to the club as his successor before stepping down last season. So far this term, Lim has set Incheon up in a 5-3-2 for the most part (46%) , otherwise a 4-3-3 (23%). However, injuries have hampered their start to the season; Gordan Bunoza has been limited to just one appearance and Mahazi had missed some important matches before returning a couple of weeks ago.

At Sangam on Saturday, Incheon will be expected to hit Seoul on the counter but will have to make the most of the opportunities they fashion for themselves if Mugoša is forced to sit the game out. This could be a game for Song Si-woo who has three goals against Seoul in recent seasons.

What To Watch

Seoul be looking to their senior players and dressing room leaders to help steer the club out of this mess. Go Yo-han is the club captain but has had to make do with a place on the bench for four times. Ju Se-jong has also worn the armband but is suspended this term and hasn't been able to nail down a regular place in the team either.

The influence of Osmar is huge, both in terms of his leadership and tactical nous but also because the experienced defensive midfielder is such a calming presence. Seoul need to grind out a result and get back to winning ways. The first win after a long string of defeats doesn't have to be pretty, a 1-0 win with a Park Chu-young penalty would do for Seoul fans. Given that Incheon have conceded three penalties already this season, it would not be at all surprising if the former Monaco and Arsenal man is presented with an opportunity from 12 yards come Saturday. Park is another who Seoul need to look to for inspiration. Last season he had something of a renaissance by scoring 10 goals and laying on seven assists - most of which came from set pieces.

Getting the basics right at the back and at the other end of the pitch is key and is where Seoul can win this match. The arrival of Yun Young-sun will help steady the backline but the likes of Go Yo-han and Park Chu-young need to take responsibility and lead the team out of this mess.


Neither side are in the best of form, Seoul are on their worst-ever run whilst Incheon...
Anything less than a win for Seoul could pile the pressure on manager Choi Yong-soo. The tone of his post-match interviews appears to be that of a man who is losing patience and running out of ideas. While both teams are in need of the points, it is Seoul who need the win on Saturday. They should have enough for a narrow win. But, Seoul and Incheon have two lowest xGs in the league with 4.8 and 6.15 respectively and so a 0-0 draw would not be at all surprising.

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