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Preview: Incheon United vs Busan IPark

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The great escape is looking less likely for Incheon following back-to-back defeats leaving them a point behind Seongnam and four off Saturdays visitors Busan. Busan only need a draw to claim survival, which is historically the most likely outcome when these sides meet. Can Incheon hold on for another week?

Last Time Out

Gangwon FC 3-1 Incheon United 


Gangwon FC confirmed their safety for another season with a routine victory over bottom of the league Incheon. Incheon had the better openings for most of the first half, whilst Gangwon bided their time and controlled possession. This tactic paid off as Kim Soo-beom gave the hosts the lead with a little over five minutes of the half to play. Things got worse for Incheon however as indecision at the back lead to Kim Ji-hyun slotting home and doubling the lead.

Incheon looked on edge at the start of the second half guarding against a game ending third. Kim Ho-nam came on to give extra attacking options, but within ten minutes was heading in for an early shower. VAR correctly upgrading a yellow to red for a wild challenge that ends his season and maybe time in Incheon. However hope was restored as Stefan Mugosa got a goal back with the aid of a deflection. This hope however was short lived as Lee Hyun-sik pounced on a loose ball to restore the two goal lead late on. Incheon now need to win maybe both of their remaining games.

Busan I'Park 0-0 Suwon Bluewings

 

Busan were held to a goalless draw against Suwon Bluewings last weekend, a result that moved them four points clear of Incheon and Suwon safe from relegation. Busan on the back of an important win over Seoul a couple of week prior focused on defense and guarding against possible Suwon counter attacks. Whilst in-form Suwon were rarely troubled apart from a couple of set-pieces. Overall it was a dull game, but both sides were happy with a point and it was nice for the fans to be in the stands again.

Previous Meetings 

Incheon United and Busan I'Park have played twice this season. Busan won the first clash away from home, picking up a 1-0 win. Kim Moon-hwan scored the only goal that evening. The clash down in Busan ended in a 0-0 draw, with both sides ending with only ten men.

Over the years Incheon and Busan have played each other thirty-nine times with the victories edged by Incheon with twelve over Busan's nine. However, eighteen have ended in draws, eleven of those when played in Incheon.

 

Team News

Incheon will be without former captain Kim Ho-nam due to suspension following his red card last weekend against Gangwon. Busan have no players missing due to suspension this coming weekend.

Incheon manager Jo Sung-hwan has for the most part been able to find a second gear this season as the unlikely great escape it now looking slightly possible. It seems that there will be a few changes in the starting lineup and/or tactics for Saturdays game, following the defeat last weekend.

Incheon still have a few injury concerns and players lacking the fitness to play a full ninety. Brazilian Gustavo could be on the bench again with Kim Ho-nam out, however Aussie Rashid Mahazi sadly doesn't seem to be in the bosses plans moving forward. Winger Ji Eon-hak was on the bench last Friday and could be involved more this coming weekend.

Adversary

Busan I'Park finally returned to the top tier this season following a number of years down in K League 2. They progressed via the playoffs beating Gyeongnam at the end of last season. Life up in K League 1 has been tough for the South East coast side as they are currently down in the relegation battle with Incheon. They have been draw specialists picking up a single point from ten of their game this season.

Watch out for Brazilian attacking midfielder Rômulo has become a fan favorite for the South East coast side for the past four seasons since joining from Bahia in his native Brazil. He has only scored four times this season, maybe due to the step up to K League 1 but also maybe because he's playing in a more supporting role. Busan's top scorer at the moment with just six is Lee Jung-hyub, so he'll be a danger that Incheon will need to watch out for.

Who To Watch

Starting upfront; current Incheon top scorer is Montenegrin International Stefan Mugosa with twelve goals, including six in September leading to him being named the leagues player of the month. Also watch out for super sub Song Si-woo, who can be a little hit-or-miss is a big game player.

Moving into the midfield; captain Kim Do-hyeok created the opening for the sole Incheon game last weekend and also leads the midfielder battles. Also Elias Aguilar can turn the tide of a game with ease, but has been a little off in recent weeks.

Finally at the back, keeper Lee Tae-hui has cemented his number one spot in goal thanks to some commanding performances since returning to the side during the summer, he has been let down a little by his defence at times.

FNR

Prediction

Incheon United lost ground on their relegation rivals once again last weekend losing to Gangwon on the road. They could be relegated this weekend if they lose and Seongnam win. So this game once again is must win for the hosts. Busan only need a point to confirm survival, but defeat puts them firmly back in the danger zone on the final day of the season.

Incheon on paper are better away from home, which may have something to do with the awful condition of the pitch at the moment. However with the fans back, that could give Incheon a boost. Goals aren't common when these two meet, but draws are. Therefore although I'd like to predict a win for Incheon I see this ending in a draw, which means survival for Busan and an unknown fate for Incheon.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-1 Busan I'Park

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