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Incheon United vs. Jeju United Preview: Can Incheon make it three from three?

On the back of two wins this week, Incheon United host Jeju United on Saturday as the Blue-Black look to make it a maximum return following the international break. Jeju have been in decent form 
themselves and picked up three points against the hapless Jeonbuk Hyundai in midweek. Both teams have continental aspirations, so this early season six-pointer should be a lively encounter.

The First Five Games

Incheon always start the season slowly, and this year was no exception. United lost the opening day game against Suwon FC to an injury-time Lee Seungwoo penalty and then drew 0-0 away at Seoul, in a game remembered more for the attendance than anything that happened on the pitch. But since then, the Durumi have looked to kick-start their season and have gone from struggling to score to making the most of every opportunity they get. They scored three goals to secure a point against Ulsan HD at the Munsu, and followed it up with two goals and three points against Daejeon Hana last weekend. In Gwangju in midweek, the team added three points and three more goals, despite only having 26% possession. Incheon look to be finding form as others struggle.

Improvements on the field are matched with good news off of it, as the injury woes that plagued the team in the first couple of months of the season are also slowly being resolved. Kim Dohyeok, one of Incheon's most important players, returned to action in the victory over Daejeon last weekend, and Moon Jihwan came off the bench to play his first minutes since the opening day. With Harrison Delbridge's Instagram suggesting he'll be back "soon," and Shin Jinho getting closer to full fitness, expectation is building among Incheon fans.


Jeju arrive on the mainland in decent form of their own. They sit one point and one place worse off than Incheon after the first five games, aiming to secure a top-half finish this year after missing out in 2023. Under Kim Hakbeom's guidance, the team have suffered two defeats this season; one away at Seoul and the other at home to Pohang Steelers, but they have otherwise been solid. They picked up a 3-1 win against Daejeon in their first home game and secured a convincing 2-0 victory against Jeonbuk during the week.

If Jeju are to pick up points against Incheon this week, they will need striker Yuri to be on form. The Brazilian marksman reached double figures last season, scoring eleven goals, and has already netted two in 2024 - a brace against Daejeon. His compatriot, Italo, has also been playing well since his transfer from Amazonas in Brazil during the winter. Having featured in almost every minute of every game this season, the midfielder has become a pivotal figure in the spine of the Jeju team.


Familiar Faces

Incheon released a pre-game poster on social media this week with the tagline "This Is My Home" featuring Jo Sunghwan, Kwon Hanjin and Gerso - all of whom have a history with Jeju. The Islanders themselves have former Incheon players in their squad, too. This familiarity could add an extra dynamic to the proceedings. Here's a breakdown of the shared history:

Incheon boss Jo Sunghwan was the manager of Jeju from 2015 to 2019 and guided them to third in the league and Champions League qualification. Having taken over Incheon in 2020, he has also guided the Durumi to the Champions League.

Kwon Hanjin joined Incheon from Daejeon in 2023, but played 162 times for Jeju between 2015 and 2019, scoring ten goals. This time coincided with Jo Sunghwan and was likely a big factor in the defender's transfer to Incheon last year.

Gerso Fernandes joined Jeju from Sporting Kansas City in 2021 and played primarily as a winger. He scored 13 goals in 70 games. Since moving to the mainland, he has managed 11 goals in 45 games.

The final present-day Incheon player with Jeju history is Kim Junyeop. Coming through the ranks at Jeju, he played 15 games between 2010 and 2012, before joining Gwangju FC. He's played for Incheon 90 times since 2020.

Jeju's squad has two former Incheon players. Most recently, Lee Juyong signed for Incheon in 2022 on loan from Jeonbuk Motors, and the left midfielder featured in 10 games for the Blue-Black. Striker Jin Seonguk was an Incheon youth player and made 92 appearances between 2012 and 2016, scoring 15 goals striker. He joined Jeju in 2017. He has 2 goals in 5 games this year.


Who to Watch

With two goals, an assist and two Man of the Match awards under his belt already, Incheon forward Park Seungho is justifying his continued selection. The South Korea U20s player has been instrumental in Incheon's attack this year and has quickly developed a good understanding with both Stefan Mugosa and Gerso Fernandes. At just 20 years old, he has shown maturity beyond his years and looks set to have a very good season. He has contributed to Incheon scoring in each of the last three games and will look to continue this form against a Jeju backline that has only kept one clean sheet this season.

Head to Head

Incheon have ten wins to Jeju's 14. There have been 13 draws. Last season, the home team won each of the three games, with Incheon beating Jeju 1-0 and 2-1 at home, whilst losing 2-0 in Jeju around a year ago. The last 0-0 was in August 2019 - so either there are always goals, or we're overdue one.



Where to Watch

The games will be available to stream online at K League TV outside of Korea, and in all the usual places inside.  The game takes place on Saturday 6th April and kicks off at 16:30 KST.


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