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Preview: Daegu FC vs Incheon United

Daegu FC are looking to get back to winning ways in the race of an AFC Champions League spot when the Sky Blues play host to bottom side Incheon United this Sunday. Can the Sky Blues take three points in front of home crowds? Or will the Durumi turn things around in the second game with new manager Cho Sungwhan in charge? K League United's Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung previews this clash in Round 16.

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 0-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

It was a remorseless reality check for Daegu after their Cesinha-less side hardly threatened seven times K League Champions Jeonbuk at home. The Sky Blues managed to keep in-form Han Kyowon and summer signing Gustavo, who made a surprising start, quiet, but former Cardiff City midfielder Kim Bo-kyung scored a brace for the visitors before the break and gave his side three points.

[READ: Match Recap: Kim Bo-kyung brace seals win at Daegu]


Incheon United 0-2 Seongnam FC

The bottom side Incheon United lost to Seongnam FC at home after Korean international winger Na Sangho got a double for the Magpies. The Durumi, recently appointed former Jeju United manager Cho Sunghwan as a full-time manger, were looking to bounce back, but there was little time for him to make any immediate impact on the side. Both sides made a couple of chances in the first half, but none of them were actually far from testing each goal keeper.

Just a few minutes from the break, the game could have gone either way. Seongnam defender Lee Taehee was shown a direct red card for a trip on an attacker, but the decision was rescinded after the VAR pointed out there was a deliberate handball in the build up before the through ball was delivered. After the event, Seongnam broke the deadlock when Na Sangho curled the ball into the far post from the free kick and put the Magpies ahead. Incheon pushed harder and harder with more possession, but their attack was dull in the final third, giving the ball away too easily. The game ended 2-0 to the Magpies after Na Sangho got his second before the full time whistle.


Previous Meetings

This campaign, Daegu FC and Incheon United met at Incheon Football Stadium on the opening day when the two sides had to settle for a point in a goalless draw. Despite the goalless draw, the game was well remembered to the fans for the stellar performances of Rashid Mahazi who entirely erased Cesinha on the pitch.

Historically, the two citizen football clubs have clashed 42 times with the Sky Blues winning 11 times and the Durumi 13 times. Since the Sky Blue's return to the top flight in 2017, Daegu are ahead of their counterpart with four wins out of 12 meetings, while Incheon recorded a solo win which was claimed in October 2018.

Team News

Daegu FC

With Hong Jungwoon (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and Hwang Soonmin (fatigue fracture) out for a while, Daegu FC line up for this Sunday's home game will remain similar to the previous side that lost to Jeonbuk last time out. However, there may be some chances for a forced change. Right wing back Jung Seungwon was subbed off at the break last time out, which is very unusual. With no official statement from the club, it is believed to be a tactical decision. If it isn't, Hwang Taehyun will likely to take his place as wing back.

On the bright side, caretaker Lee Byunggeun spoke to the press in a post match interview that Cesinha, who missed the last game with a groin injury, is expected to return in time for the home match with Incheon. Upfront, Edgar da Silva might start again on the bench, and in that case Dejan Damjanović will continue to start. In midfield, Kim Sunmin will serve the last suspension in his two-game ban. Accordingly, Japanese midfielder Nishi Tsubasa will be paired with Ryu Jaemoon.

Incheon United

Incheon United are significantly suffering from injury and fitness and haven't gained any significant momentum generated from their summer signings yet. It is reported that a couple of A Team players such as Lee Jaeeong, Kim Junbeom and Kim Ho-nam are out with unspecified injuries, while one of their summer signings Gustavo was ruled out last time out due to fitness issues.

In their previous game which was the first game with newly-appointed former Jeju manager Cho Sunghwan in charge, they were set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with not many radical changes. Costa Rican Elías Aguilar was occasionally the stand out with his left foot, but the anticipated combination with Stefan Mugoša needs to urgently be improved. For a trip down to the South, the Durumi's line up will be uncertain with no suspensions.

What To Watch

Can the Sky Blues record their 200th K League win at home?

It was a reality check showing where the Sky Blues are in the line of title challenging sides as Daegu FC got away with a very disappointing 2-0 loss in their first game with home fans in the stands. Pathetically, the game already looked over when the Sky Blues were 2-0 down at the break and there was no real glowing desire or belief in their eyes to come back. Fans would have been fooled by the emotion that they had finally made it to the stadium, but in the cold light of the day, it was absolutely pathetic and almost like 11 adults playing against children. On that night, I know every single player really worked hard and pushed hard but there was only individuals on the pitch, but no collective effort or spirit on the pitch.

Daegu FC should live up to fans' expectation with better performances this Sunday

This Sunday's tie will see even much more hype and higher expectations from the fans by virtue of 3,000 tickets (25% capacity) having been completely sold out following last weekend's full house. The Sky Blues are only one win away from their 200th K League win. I hope the last game's scars serve them as a wake-up call and they do better and celebrate the milestone at home this weekend.

Can Cho Sung-hwan turn things around for the wrecked Incheon?

More than half way into the campaign, Incheon United's time in the top flight is ticking and they are again thrown into turmoil after their technical director Lee Chunsoo stepped down from his post. Former South Korean international Lee was one of the key figures that appointed former Jeju manager Cho Sunghwan as full time manager in the aftermath of a controversial hiring process with former Suwon Bluewings manager Lee Imsaeng.

Incheon United manager Cho Sunghwan is tasked with the most difficult work

On the appointment, it is widely viewed that Cho was the best option available on the market with a notable CV and great achievements in K League before he parted ways with Jeju United amid the 2019 season. However, can he really do the most difficult assignment on his own without tangible and/or intangible support from the technical director? The manager also expressed his shame on the resignation of the director.

Two days later since his appointment, he had his first game and made little change in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation. The game didn't look much different considering the little time allowed for him. With a full week given to him ahead of this Sunday's visit to Daegu, it will be interesting how their side look in Daegu. When he was in charge of the islanders, Jeju had good results against Daegu, although the citizen club managed to come back later in the records; Jeju earned 4 straight wins before 3 losses when Jeju started to struggle during his time.

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Despite the notable gap in the league table, this game easily wouldn't go the way of the Sky Blues as Incheon are always hard to play against. Incheon will also acknowledge it and push hard for their overdue first win, boosted by the new manager. I expect Daegu to win by a narrow margin.

Daegu FC 2-1 Incheon United

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