Preview: Incheon United vs. Daegu FC - Can Incheon bounce back?
Incheon United headed into the away game against Gwangju in good spirits last time out, but fell apart in the spring sunshine. The away side seemed devoid of creativity going forward and were too often switched-off at the back as Gwangju ran rampant. A travelling support of around 800 fans were left dismayed as the team lost 5-0 to the newly-promoted side. The two-week international break has meant that the players have had to wait a while to attempt to put things right. Back at home against Daegu, the fans will be hoping for a better showing.
Incheon Look to Respond
The 5-0 showing against Gwangju is Incheon’s biggest defeat in a number of years. The scoreline itself, however, doesn’t tell the whole story. The performance from Incheon was desperate and disconnected, with players often making the wrong decisions both on and off the ball. A number of the goals came as a result of Incheon giving the ball away, failing to mark their men or being caught in possession. Gwangju were ruthless and played very well, however Incheon could have made the game more difficult for them. Hopefully the team and the coaching staff have used the international break to work on things.
The club have announced a number of initiatives this week for the Daegu game in order to keep the fans on side, including tours of the stadium and an event to welcome the team bus to the ground ahead of the game. That being said, the response needs to be on the field, and it needs to be immediate.
Incheon Team News
Following the defeat at Gwangju, people in forums online have discussed whether wholesale changes need to be made, or whether the coach Jo Sunghwan should stick with the same team he’s been using. The general consensus is that the team Incheon have been putting out will likely be the one to start this weekend too. The only anticipated change is the return of Kim Dongmin into central defence. Suspended for two games following his red card on March 4th against Daejeon Citizen, he is again available for selection. One would expect Kim Hanjin to make way, however, Oh Banseok might also be given a break instead. Under-22 player Min Gyeonghyun could start again on the right as he did against Gwangju, however an alternative could see Hong Sihoo – also an Under-22 – make his first start of the season with Jeong Dongyoon coming back in on the right flank.
Daegu have started the season reasonably well, picking up two draws against Jeju United and Gangwon, and a hard-fought win over Jeonbuk Hyundai in their last three games. The only defeat Daegu have experienced was on the opening day, in a thrilling 3-2 loss to their local rivals Pohang Steelers. They currently sit a point and a place above Incheon. The evergreen Cesinha has again been in the goals for Daegu, scoring two of their six goals this term. Elsewhere, the duo of defender Hong Jungwon and midfielder Hwang Jaewon have played every minute for Daegu this year, and have put in strong performances. Daegu will come to Sungui Arena full of confidence and will be looking to close the gap between themselves and the likes of Daejeon and Seoul sitting above them in the table.
Head to Head
Incheon are unbeaten in four games, dating back to their last defeat in May 2021. Last season, Incheon took seven points from this weekend's visitors, drawing 2-2 at home and winning away twice by scores of 3-2 and 2-1. Overall, Incheon have won 11 league meetings between the clubs to Daegu's 7, with 10 games ending in a stalemate.
Who to Watch
In the previous game, the Incheon defence didn’t cope with the Gwangju attack, particularly with Asani – who scored a hattrick. The Incheon goalkeeper Kim Dongheon has also struggled to find the form that won him the Number 1 shirt in 2022, and has been questioned in regards to some of the goals that Incheon have conceded. The entire backline will be under a lot more scrutiny in the game against Daegu as they look to prove that the last game was a one-off. The threat that Daegu possess going forwards, with Cesinha, Edgar and Barcelos vying for goals, will prove a strong test and it’s one that Incheon must come through in order to get their season back on track.
Where to Watch
Fan inside Korea can watch game on Sky Sports TV and Coupang Play. Fans overseas can watch this game for free on K League TV