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Preview: Incheon United vs Gangwon FC


Gangwon FC travel over to Incheon riding high on a victory over defending champions and league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai. Incheon United on the other hand were hammered by Pohang last Sunday and are one off the bottom of the table and without a win all season. Can Incheon finally kickstart their season this Friday?


Last Time Out

Incheon United 1-4 Pohang Steelers


Incheon were dealt a lesson in clinical finishing by visitors Pohang Steelers on Sunday evening. Stanislav Iljutcenko opened the scoring turning in a Manuel Palacios cross after just seven minutes. Pohang were two up ten minutes later as Ha Chang-rae smashed home at the far post from a corner. Incheon however regrouped and captain Kim Ho-nam hit a thunderbolt in from twenty yards out to reduce the deficit.

However, during the second half Pohang were able to slow the pace of the game and stretched Incheon, leading to two further goals. Firstly youngster Lee Seung-mo fired home a little after the hour. Then sub Song Min-kyu completed the scoring four minutes before time. Incheon were poor throughout and lacked options on the bench, whilst Pohang were clinical and in control.


Gangwon FC 1-0 Jeonbuk Hyundai


Gangwon FC pulled off a shock win last weekend beating league leaders and defending champions Jeonbuk Hyundai by a single goal at home. Jeonbuk suffered an early setback as defender Hong Jeong-ho was sent-off for a professional foul after just fifteen minutes. Gangwon were able to use that man advantage to take the lead late in the first half via a Ko Moo-yeol finish.

Jeonbuk improved during the second half and were unlucky not to find an equalizer, however the Gangwon defence stood strong and they held on for the full three points.

Previous Meetings 

Incheon United and Gangwon played either other three times last 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 (now Jeju) scoring both goals. The final game ended 2-2, with Stefan Mugosa scoring the second in a two goal comeback for Incheon.

Over the years Incheon and Gangwon have played each other twenty-three times with the victories edged by Gangwon ten to Incheon's nine. Only four games have ended in a draw. Finally only one of the twenty-three games has finished goalless.

Team News

Incheon have no players missing due to suspension this coming weekend, neither do Gangwon FC.

Incheon will be missing Nigerian forward Lanre Kehinde who went off injured during the first half against Suwon Bluewings and has a suspected knee injury. Midfielder Rashid Mahazi has missed the last three games with a thigh injury, but maybe able to return this weekend. Finally, Bosnian defender Gordan Bunoza hasn't played yet this season, he could be pushed back into making a return following Incheon's poor defensive showing against Pohang.

Adversary

Gangwon had a strong 2019 season finishing in the top half, but lacked a little at times to be able to push beyond that. They have a young squad and have built on last seasons positives and strengths. Also they only have one foreign player in the form of Japanese defender Nakazato, so they have the option to sign a few additional players in the Summer. So far this season they've beaten FC Seoul and Jeonbuk Hyundai. But they looked off when playing away from home against Sangju Sangmu.

The standout players for Gangwon FC so far this season have been top goalscorer Ko Moo-yeol. The former Jeonbuk, Asan and Pohang forward has two goals so far during his debut season for Gangwon, including the winning goal last weekend against Jeonbuk Hyundai. Also another former Jeonbuk and Pohang player in the form of Kim Seung-dae could pose a danger. He can be both score and create goals.

Who To Watch

Firstly upfront; Incheon United's top goal-scorer from the 2019 season Stefan Mugoša. He scored for fun during both the 2018 and 2019 seasons for both club and country. However so far this season he has been struggling for fitness and form, but Incheon have no other options at the moment.

Moving into the midfield; Kim Ho-nam has been impressive on the wing both last season and this. He scored Incheons only goal this calendar year just last weekend, however does struggle to last the entire ninety minutes. Also Incheon fans would love to see Australian Rashid Mahazi return from injury and firm-up the midfield.

Finally at the back, the experienced hands of Jeong San looked solid during the opening three games of the season but was let down by his defence last weekend. He honestly pulled off a handful of impressive stops keeping Pohang's tally down to only four.

FNR

Prediction

Incheon have played progressively worse over the opening month of the K League season. Injuries and a lack of squad depth have been contributing factors, but on the field confidence seems long and goals look unlikely. Whilst Gangwon have looked a little hit-and-miss, but showed their potential last weekend beating Jeonbuk, as well as during the opening game of the season against FC Seoul.

On paper this should be a routine three points for Gangwon. However at this point Incheon have little to lose, and could ring the changes bringing in squad players and giving some fresh faces an opportunity to shine. Overall I see Gangwon winning, but it will be a close game and should contain a few goals.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-2 Gangwon FC

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