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Preview: Incheon United vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Relegation battlers Incheon United host title challengers and reigning champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Sunday afternoon in a game that could have effect at both the top and bottom of the league. Can Incheon become only the second side this season to beat away specialist Jeonbuk?

Last Time Out

Gangwon FC 2 - 2 Incheon United

Incheon were able to stage a late comeback to rescue a vital point on the road against Gangwon last weekend. Gangwon took the lead halfway into the first forty-five via a Kang Ji-hoon strike right into the top corner. This was followed by a second just before half time, this time Lee Young-jae with the goal.

So heading into the second half Incheon have a mountain to claim two goals down on the road. It took until fifteen minutes from time for Rashid Mahazi to make the most of some slow Gangwon defending to give Incheon a lifeline and then five minutes from time Stefan Mugosa (who else?) leveled for Incheon with his thirteenth goal of the season. Incheon didn't have the time to push for a winner, but a point apiece was a fair reflection of game of two halves.

Gyeongnam FC 1 -1 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Following two postponements, Gyeongnam and Jeonbuk finally clashed on Thursday afternoon. The game ended all square with Jeonbuk struggling to find their rhythm. Jeonbuk took the lead partway into the second half via a Kwon Kyung-won finish, his first goal since rejoining Jeonbuk in the Summer. However, Gyeongnam FC were able to mount a comeback and youngster Kim Joon-beom equalized in the final minute of the ninety. The draw was a fair result in the end, with Gyeongnam certainly doing enough to deserve their point.

Highlights: Coming Soon

Previous Meetings

Incheon United and Jeonbuk Hyundai have clashed twice so far this season with Jeonbuk winning both games. The first 2-0 with former Incheon man Moon Seon-min, as well as Kim Shin-wook, scored the goals that day. Then narrowly 1-0 with Kim Shin-wook scoring a late winner. Last season, they played each other three times, with Jeonbuk winning one, one game ending three-all and the other won 3-2 by Incheon.

As mentioned Incheon beat Jeonbuk at home at the beginning of last season 3-2, Moon Seon-min (now Jeonbuk) scored the key goals that afternoon. Jeonbuk last beat Incheon away earlier this season 2-0.

Over the years Incheon and Jeonbuk have played each other 43 times with the victories edged by Jeonbuk. They've won sixteen times versus Incheon's twelve. The other fifteen games have ended in draws.

Team News

Incheon United Manager Yoo Sang-chul got a little lucky on Sunday, however, it seems unlikely he change up the starting lineup and tactics to much for this one. On loan Jang Yun-ho will be suspended and unable to play against his parent club, but he is the only Incheon player suspended.

Incheon will probably be without defender Gordan Bunoza once again as the tall Croatian continues to struggle with a long term injury. However, U22 International Kim Jin-ya has shaken off a recent injury and should be fit to start once again and play a full ninety.

Jeonbuk Hyundai will be without Kwon Kyung-Won who picked up his third booking of the season on Thursday afternoon. Otherwise they'll have a full squad to choose from.


Jeonbuk Hyundai unsurprisingly have been in the championship race since the beginning of the season and despite disappointing exits from the ACL and FA Cup they still have a strong shout at retaining their K League title once again. It's closer at the top of the league this season with Ulsan proving dangerous competition, but Jeonbuk are still most naturals picks for the title.

The standout players for Jeonbuk Hyundai so far this season have been top goalscorer Ricardo Lopes, the Brazilian has nine goals so far during a season, however, five have been scored in the past couple of months. Also former Incheon winger Moon Seon-min will be dangerous and won't be welcomed back warmly by the Incheon faithful.

Who To Watch

Incheon United's current top scorer is in-form forward Stefan Mugoša who has thirteen goals to his name so far this season, including eight in his last six K League games. He is currently the only Incheon forward that look like scoring at the moment.

Moving into the midfield, Kim Ho-nam has proven a strong summer signing since joining from Jeju. Plus Australian Rashid Mahazi has also settled into the Incheon setup quickly and even picked up a maiden goal last weekend against Gangwon.

Finally at the back, experienced defender Lee Jae-Sung has been solid in recent weeks in what is often an unreliable defensive unit. Also, watch out for U22 International Kim Jin-ya has been a standout player so far this season.


Incheon come into this game undefeated in three and following a hard earnt point away against Gangwon FC. Jeonbuk, on the other hand, are struggling a little for form and are now two points behind Ulsan. A win for Jeonbuk might put them top again, whilst defeat would give Ulsan the upper hand heading into the final five games of the 2019 season.

Overall, Incheon have been poor at home this season, whilst Jeonbuk are away specialists only losing once on the road this year. So on paper Jeonbuk should be clear favorites to win this one. However, Incheon have been improving and deep in the relegation battle so won't be easy targets. Plus Jeonbuk only played on Thursday so tired legs will be a factor. In the end I see Jeonbuk edging this one, but it will be close.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1 - 2 Jeonbuk Hyundai

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