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Preview: Incheon United vs Gyeongnam FC

It's a relegation six-pointer this Tuesday evening down at the Sungui Arena as bottom side Incheon United host fellow strugglers Gyeongnam FC in the K League 1. Incheon will be looking to build on their recent win over Pohang, whilst Gyeongnam just want to win in the league for the first time since March.

Last Time Out

Pohang Steelers 1-2 Incheon United
Incheon United finally discovered a little luck in order to beat Pohang on the road. Incheon came into the game without a win in seven games and only two all season, but thankfully they were able to pick up the vital three points. The first half started slowly in part due to the wet and rainy conditions down at the Steelyard. Both sides had their moments during the first forty-five however defensive tactics restricted attacking openings.

Incheon United started the second half brightly and took the lead via a Stefan Mugosa finish for his fifth goal of the 2019 season. However Pohang bounced back quickly and six minutes later were level. Iljutcenko turning home a Wanderson pass for the equalizer. The game settled down from this point and the game seemed like it would end level, but their was late drama. Deep into injury time Incheon mounted a late attack and young midfielder Lee Jea-ho became an instant hero scoring the vital winner. Incheon went home happy, whilst Pohang were left empty handed.

Highlights:

Gyeongnam FC 2-2 Jeju United
Gyeongnam braved the elements to draw against relegation rivals Jeju United. New summer signing from Gangwon Urus Đerić started the game with a bang scoring after just two minutes, his first for his new employers. However Jeju United were level after nineteen minutes when Brazilian Mango Cruz slotted home a Nam Joon-jae (former Incheon Captain) pass. Then things went from bad to worse for Gyeongnam FC as Yun Il-lok put Jeju in front just before half time.

In the second half Gyeongnam pushed the pace early on and were rewarded with an equalizer as Luc Castaignos scored his third of the season for Gyeongnam. But just as Gyeongnam looked ready to push for a winner they were reduced to ten men with Kim Jong-pil seeing red. Jeju were unable to take advantage of their man advantage and the game ended two a piece.

Highlights:

Previous Meetings

Incheon United and Gyeongnam FC have clashed twice already this season. Incheon won the first encounter at home 2-1 back in March, whilst the game down in Jinju ended 1-1. Also they played each other three times during the 2018 season, with Gyeongnam winning twice, and the third and final game ending in a two-all draw.

As mentioned Incheon last beat Gyeongnam at home back in March, coming out 2-1 winners. Mugosa scored the second vital goal that afternoon. Gyeongnam last beat Incheon away just last season winning 3-2 in April with Park Ji-soo scoring the winner deep into stoppage time.

Over the years Incheon and Gyeongnam have played each other 29 times with the victories dominated by Gyeongnam. They've won eleven times vs Incheon's five, the other thirteen games have ended in draws.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-chul finally seems to be putting together a solid Incheon side after months of issues. Also good news that no Incheon players are suspended for this game, however defender Kim Jeung-ho, Lee Jae-sung and Myung Jun-jae are all a booking away from a ban.

Gordan Bunoza has been injuried for much of the Summer, but could be availble for a return on Tuesday evening. Summer signings Rashid Mahazi & Lanre Kehinde could both be involved after joining over the past week or so.

Gyeongnam FC will be missing suspended Kim Jong-pil, who was sent off against Jeju United last weekend.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's current top scorer Stefan Mugoša rediscovered his attacking edge against Pohang just over a week ago scoring an important goal early in the second half. Incheon will need him to be ready once again on Tuesday against Gyeongnam.

Moving into the midfield Lee Jea-ho has seemingly come out of nowhere in recent weeks putting in better and better performances as he gets used to K League 1 football. He scored the winner last time out against Pohang, his first professional goal.

Finally at the back; wingback Kim Jin-ya played the second half for Team K League against Juventus on Friday evening and made a strong account of himself. He is ever improving and a key asset for Incheon at the back

The Adversary

Gyeongnam FC had an amazing 2018 season following their promotion back into the top tier, finishing second in the league and qualifying for the Asian Champions League. However fighting on multiple fronts this season has proven difficult, especially after losing star striker Marcão to the Chinese Super League. This season started OK, but they haven't won since March in the league and are slipping deeper into the relegation battle along with Incheon United.

Recently Gyeongnam have picked up three points from their last five games, drawing three times against Jeju, Daegu and Suwon. Their main issue has been a weak defence, having conceded forty-two times this season the most in the league.

Look out for Dutch Forward Luc Castaignos has been slowly but surely been adapting to life in the K League. The former Sporting Lisbon man has scored three times this season and always causes problems. Also watch out for recent signing giant Serbian forward Urus Đerić, who finished last season as the leagues second top scorer whilst playing for Gangwon FC.

Prediction

Incheon come into this game well rested following the free weekend and still buoyed by their victory over Pohang last time out. Their only home win this season was against Gyeongnam back in March, and they'll be looking to match that result on Tuesday evening.

Overall Incheon and Gyeongnam are both in deep relegation trouble at the moment, and desperately need to start finding some form and bridging the gap to the midtable sides. Incheon should have the edge as they're at home, but that being said Gyeongnam are a tough side to beat, proven by the fact they've drawn nine games already this season.

This is a tough one to call, my head says it will be defensive and tight, therefore a draw seems the likely outcome. However my heart sides with a narrow win for Incheon, a result that will see them finally move off the bottom of the K League table.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 2-1 Gyeongnam FC



[READK League 1 Round 23 Preview]

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