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Preview: Incheon United vs Gwangju FC

Incheon United host fellow strugglers Gwangju FC on Saturday in one of their best chances to finally pick up a first win of the 2020 season. Incheon are undefeated in three, whilst Gwangju have lost four of their last five games. Will fans in the stands be the boost Incheon need to pick up the full three points? Or will it benefit the visitors Gwangju?

Last Time Out

Pohang Steelers 1-1 Incheon United



Incheon United were held to a draw last weekend their third in as many weeks, on the road against an in-form Pohang Steelers. The game started slowly and tactically, with both sides playing deep. It took until the half hour for the deadlock to be broken. Ji Eon-hak was brought down in the box and Stefan Mugosa calmly converted from the spot. However five minutes later the game was level again. Lee Gwang-hyeok teed up Iljutcenko who made no mistake from just inside the box.

The second half was in even contest with both sides continuing to play deep and looking to counter. Incheon had the best chance of the entire half when Kim Do-hyeok hit the bar. Pohang almost snatched a late winner via former Incheon captain Nam Joon-jae, but it wasn't to be. In the end a draw was a fair result, but not the undue victory Incheon wanted.

Gwangju FC 0-1 Suwon Bluewings





Gwangju sadly weren't able to christen the opening of their new home stadium with a win last weekend narrowly losing to Suwon Bluewings. Focus was more on the New Gwangju Football Stadium, which maybe allowed for the game to be a little on the boring side at times. Both sides had their moments in the first half, but were not able to break the deadlock.

The second half started with a bang as Park Sang-hyeok scored after just five minutes from the restart. This was the twenty-two year olds first senior goal. Gwangju pushed for an equalizer but couldn't find a way past a strong Suwon defence lead by Doneil Henry. Cards started to appear as tried legs lead to fouls, with Ashurmatov receiving a second in injury time to end the game and confirm the three points for Suwon.


Previous Meetings 

Incheon United and Gwangju FC played back in June with Gwangju coming out on top. They won two-one, with goals coming from Felipe and Kim Jeong-hwan. Stefan Mugosa scored a late consolation that evening.

Incheon last beat Gwangju at home back in July 2017, winning one-nil with Kim Yong-hwan (now Sangju) scoring the winner. Gwangju have only beaten Incheon away once, that victory came back in May 2016. Kim Min-hyeok scored an injury time winner in a narrow one-nil win.

Over the years Incheon and Gwangju FC have played each other 20 times with the victories edged by just by Incheon. They've won five times versus Gwangju's four. The other eleven games have ended in draws. Neither side has averaged over a goal a game.

Team News

Incheon have no players suspended this weekend. However Gwangju will be without Uzbekistan International Ashurmatov who is suspended following his red card last weekend.

Lim Joong-Yong is still in caretaker control of an improving Incheon, he could be given the role long term if things continue. Incheon captain Kim Ho-nam is a doubt again due to injury, as is Australian midfielder Rashid Mahazi and recent resigning Costa Rican Elias Aguilar. On-loan defender Oh Ban-suk maybe given a start following a short cameo last weekend. Finally Brazilian winger Gustavo successfully completed quarantine and therefore confirmed his transfer from Brazilian side Bahia on Thursday. He should be available for Saturdays game and will wear the number ninety-seven.

Adversary

Gwangju FC won the 2019 K League 2 title in impressive fashion last season booking a return to the top tier following a two seasons away. However things haven't been easy for the new boys picking up just three wins from their opening thirteen games, all during the middle of June.

The standout players for Gwangju FC so far this season have been tall Brazilian top scorer Felipe. He has six goals so far, more than the rest of the team combined. Experienced midfielders Park Jeong-soo and Yeo Reum have been key so far this season in the middle of the park. Whilst at the back former Incheon keeper Lee Jin-Hyung seems to be the number one choice at the moment.

Who To Watch

Firstly upfront; Top scorer Stefan Mugosa calmly slotted home from the spot last weekend to bring his current tally up to three for the season. Not a great return but Incheon have only score seven total this season. Also young star Ji Eon-hak has had a much improved second season in Incheon, showing fantastic stamina and an eye for goal too.

Moving into the midfield; Kim Do-hyeok impressed again last weekend showing the form he displayed whilst away with Asan Mugunghwa (Military Service). He shows great distribution as well as fitness, which some Incheon players struggle with. Also maybe look out for the hopeful return of Australian defensive midfielder Rashid Mahazi, who when fit can be the difference in the middle of the park.

Finally at the back, young keeper Kim Dong-heon was handed a surprise debut against Jeonbuk two weeks ago and played a blinder, then followed that up with a solid performance last weekend down in Pohang.

FNR

Prediction

Incheon seem to have turned a corner this season as after eight straight defeats they've picked up three draws all against difficult opponents. That being said they're still winless this season and five points adrift at the bottom of the league. Gwangju however are on a worse run of form losing four of their last five, including shipping four goals twice in two weeks.

Incheon maybe bottom of the league but at slowly improving and this is maybe their best chance of picking up a long awaited first win of the season. Then when you add in the fact home fans will be in the stands this coming weekend, that could be the boost Incheon need. In the end I see Incheon winning narrowly by a single goal.

Predicted Score: Incheon United 1-0 Gwangju FC

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