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Preview: Incheon United vs Jeonbuk Hyundai


Incheon United will be looking to pull off a shock on Sunday evening as they host defending champions and currently second placed Jeonbuk Hyundai. Incheon are winless all season, but greet a side Jeonbuk side in the middle of a slump. Can Incheon finally win? Or will it be a routine three points for Jeonbuk?

Last Time Out

Incheon United 1-1 Sangju Sangmu


Incheon United draw against an in-form Sangju Sangmu last Saturday evening in a pretty dull game overall. The first half was very even, but sadly neither side created any meaningful openings and the keepers basically had a forty-five minute break.

The second half was an improvement and it didn't take Sangju long to break the deadlock. Oh Se-hun headed home a Kang Sang-woo corner for the lead. It got worse for Incheon as two minutes later Lee Je-ho (who'd only come on just before half time) was sent off for a high and miss timed challenge. Then just after the hour mark Incheon were down to nine as Song Si-woo received a second booking and of course a red. Sangju seemed happy to coast to another one-nil win, but Incheon found something extra in injury time as Ji Eon-hak finished off a flowing move that gave his side a maybe vital point.

Jeonnam Dragons 3-2 (AET) Jeonbuk Hyundai

Jeonbuk were made to work hard in the cup during the week against local rivals Jeonnam Dragons. Jeonbuk have had terrible luck in the cup over the past few years losing four seasons on the bounce to K League 2 sides. However they took an early lead in this one via experienced midfielder Lee Seung-gi. The first finished with Jeonbuk a goal up.

The second half was mainly controlled by Jeonbuk, however Jeonnam didn't throw in the towel and took the game into extra time when Lee Jong-ho leveled the game in the final minute of normal time. Jeonbuk regrouped in extra time and retook the lead thanks to Son Jun-ho and extended it via Japanese winger Kunimoto. Jeonnam reduced the deficit when Ha Seun-gun scored at the end of the first half of extra time, but it was a little too late. Jeonbuk won and progress to the quarter finals. However it was a long night.

Previous Meetings 

Incheon United and Jeonbuk Hyundai played towards the beginning of the season with Jeonbuk winning narrowly 1-0 thanks to a Lee Dong-gook finish via the spot. Last season they played three times with Jeonbuk winning two and the final game ending in a goalless draw.

Incheon last beat Jeonbuk at home at the beginning of the 2018 season winning 3-2, Moon Seon-min  scored the key goals that afternoon. Jeonbuk last beat Incheon away just last season winning 1-0, Kim Shin-wook with the only goal.

Over the years Incheon and Jeonbuk have played each other 45 times with the victories edged by Jeonbuk. They've won seventeen times versus Incheon's twelve. The other sixteen games have ended in draws.

Team News

Incheon have two players suspended for this game, forward Song Si-woo and defender Lee Je-ho as both were sent off last weekend. Jeonbuk will be without Kim Jin-su who is also suspended.

A new boss to take over at Incheon since the departure of Lim Wan-seop is still currently unknown. Lim Joong-Yong is in caretaker control and if Incheon improve on the field he could be given the role long term. Incheon captain Kim Ho-nam is a doubt again due to injury, as is Australian midfielder Rashid Mahazi. Apart from them Stefan Mugosa could start on the bench again as he still isn't one hundred percent fit. Finally Oh Ban-seok joined on loan from Sundays opponents Jeonbuk on Thursday, but is unlikely to lineup against his parent club.

For Jeonbuk Kim Bo-kyung returned in their cup match during the week, so could be involved on Sunday. Cho Kyu-sung should start up-front due to Lee Dong-gook being still injured and South African Lars Veldwijk leaving the club to join K League 2 side Suwon FC on Thursday. 

Adversary

Jeonbuk Hyundai are once again in the title race looking to add an eighth K League championship to their record. They are currently second in the league just behind Ulsan Hyundai, in part due to a defeat against Sangju Sangmu and then a draw again Seongnam. So they'll be looking to bounce back against bottom side and winless Incheon United.

The standout players for Jeonbuk Hyundai this season have been former Incheon midfielder
Han Kyo-won. He has bagged five goals already this season which is slightly surprising as last year he failed to score any. Evergreen Lee Dong-gook is still dangerous even at the age of forty-one, he scored the winner earlier this season against Incheon, but maybe rested due to injury. Finally young keeper Song Bum-keun continues to be first pick between the sticks for Jeonbuk.

Who To Watch

Firstly upfront; Ji Eon-hak picked up a vital winner last weekend as well as man of the match. The former Gimhae City and Alcorcon forward is normally a backup option, but is starting to show signs of being a valued starter. Also top scorer Stefan Mugosa (if fit) will be a useful option coming off the bench on Sunday evening for the hosts.

Moving into the midfield; new resigning Costa Rican international Elias Aguilar is getting back into the groove of playing for Incheon, fingers crossed he'll start creating openings for the forwards soon. Also Kim Do-hyeok impressed last weekend with his pace and fitness, as well as playing a vital role creating the equalizing goal.

Finally at the back, the experienced hands of Jeong San kept Incheon in the game last weekend, but maybe was at fault for the Sangju goal. Sadly at the back Incheon don't have any players at the moment who stand out for the right reasons.

FNR

Prediction

Incheon produced a moment of magic to pick up a point last weekend despite going down to only nine men. However they are still winless all season and lack options within a small squad. Jeonbuk on the other hand have options on the bench every week, but don't always use them. Like Incheon a lack of goals at times and general accuracy in the final third have been their issues so far this season.

Incheon aren't an easy team to beat despite what the league table shows, plus they have the advantage of not playing a midweek cup game with extra time. However Jeonbuk have depth in their squad plus they will be looking to improve their league form and they'll not want to drop points against bottom of the league Incheon. I see Jeonbuk winning, but maybe only by a single goal.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai

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