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Preview: Gangwon FC vs Incheon United

Gangwon FC come into this game against Incheon United knowing that a win will guarantee them a spot in the top half of the K League 1 split. However away specialists Incheon United are deep in the relegation battle and won't go home without a fight.

Last Time Out

Seongnam FC 1 - 0 Gangwon FC

Gangwon come away from Seongnam empty handed during the week, losing by a single goal in an evenly contested game. Seongnam took the lead late on in the first half with Lee Chang-yong scoring his first goal of the season. In the second half Gangwon piled on the pressure in their unsuccessful attempt to find an equalizer. Seongnam were able to hold on for a vital win, their first in over a month. Whilst Gangwon went home empty handed and on the bubble of the league split.

Highlights:



Sangju Sangmu 2-3 Incheon United

Incheon narrowly beat Sangju on the road during the week for just their fifth win of the season in a game of two halves. Stefan Mugosa gave Incheon an early lead from the spot after just six minutes and doubled the lead with a cool sidefooted strike from the edge of the box. Incheon found themselves three ahead after only fourteen minutes when Lee Woo-hyeok made the most of a failed Sangju clearance. The game slowly down from this point and the half ended with Incheon firmly in-front.

The second half started poorly for Incheon as Sangju grabbed a goal back quickly via a Kim Gun-hee strike. After Sixty-Four minutes Sangju scored again once against through Kim Gun-hee but this time from the spot. Incheon were however able to hold on for the next thirty minutes and almost finished off the game when Kehinde had a strong shot saved. Incheon went home with the full three points and moved off the bottom of the league.

Highlights:

Previous Meetings

Incheon United and Gangwon have played twice so far this season, once in May on Children's Day with Gangwon narrowly winning 1-0. Shin Kwang-hoon scored the only goal of that game. Gangwon then won again in June this time 2-1 with Jung Jo-gook scoring both goals. Last season, they played each other four times with Gangwon winning two (including a 7-0 hammering), one game ending three-all and the other won 3-2 by Incheon.

Over the years Incheon and Gangwon have played each other 22 times with the victories edged by Gangwon ten to Incheon's nine. Only three games have ended in a draw and Incheon and Gangwon have never drawn in Gangwon.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-chul switched them up on Wednesday and it paid off as Incheon won, however their were some tired legs so a few chances are likely on Sunday. Thankfully he will have a full squad to choose from as no one is currently suspended. But there are a few players currently a booking away from a ban.

Incheon maybe without defender Gordan Bunoza once again as the tall Croatian continues to struggle with a long term injury. Also Kim Jin-ya was only on the bench on Sunday and Wednesday but should be available for a start this coming Sunday.

Gangwon FC could be missing key defender Shin Kwang-Hoon this weekend after he picked up his sixth booking of the season against Seongnam. They will also be without first and second top scorers Kim Ji-hyun and Cho Jae-won, with the former out with a knee injury for the rest of the season. Cho will also be out for 6-8 weeks, meaning that goalscoring duties will likely fall to Jun Jo-gook.

Adversary

Gangwon FC have had a solid season and surpassing early expectations which had them labeled as a possible relegation battlers. They are currently fifth in the league and on the bubble of making the top half of the split. They need a win over Incheon to secure a place in the top half and a shot at making it into a ACL qualifying spot.

The standout players for Gangwon FC so far this season have been top goalscorer Kim Ji-hyun, who scored a brace recently in a win over Jeju United but will be unavailable here due to the aforementioned injuriy. Also Cypriot defender Valentinos Sielis has had another solid season commanding the backline, and has even bagged a couple of goals.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's current top scorer is in-form forward Stefan Mugoša who has twelve goals to his name so far this season, including seven in his last five K League games. He is currently the only Incheon forward free scoring at the moment.

Moving into the midfield Kim Ho-nam has four goals to his name since joining in the summer from Jeju United. He played almost the full ninety on Wednesday proving that finally his fitness issues might be improving.

Finally at the back, experienced defender Lee Jae-Sung has been solid in recent weeks in what is often a unreliable defensive unit. Also watch out for U23 International Kim Jin-ya has been a standout player so far this season.

Prediction

Incheon come into this game on the back of an overdue win during the week which took them off the bottom of the league. Gangwon, on the other hand, lost during the week and have three games in play in the next week so will be looking to rest a few legs and push for a top half finish.

Overall, both sides are playing for different reasons but will both be looking for the same result. I see Incheon playing in a similar style to Wednesday and taking the game to Gangwon and maybe even taking the lead. However defensive issues for Incheon could allow Gangwon back into the game and so in the end a draw seems the likely outcome.

Predicted Score: Gangwon FC 1 - 1 Incheon United

[READ: K League 1 Round 32 Preview.]

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