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Preview: Incheon United vs Daejeon Hana Citizen

league 2023.03.02   I   hits 1008

Looking to bounce back from the opening day defeat to Gyeongin Derby rivals FC Seoul, Incheon United get their home campaign underway with the visit of newly-promoted Daejeon Hana Citizen. Daejeon could prove to be a tough test for the Blue-Black, however, following their 2-0 win over Gangwon FC last Sunday. 


This Saturday at 14:00 KST at Incheon Football Stadium, Incheon United take on Daejeon Hana Citizen in Round 2 of the 2023 Hana 1Q K League 1. It's Incheon's first home match of the season and a first league meeting with Daejeon since 2015. Daejeon head out for their first away match in K League 1 since the final day of the 2015 season, a 2-1 loss to Gwangju. In the Purples' last two seasons in the top flight, 2013 and 2015, they managed just five away wins.

At home against newly-promoted sides, Incheon have a record of 10 wins, eight draws and seven losses. From 2015 to the end of 2017, the Blue-Back went unbeaten against sides that had just won promotion to the top division.

Opening Day Results

Saturday's hosts Incheon United began the new season with a 2-1 defeat to FC Seoul in the Gyeongin Derby. The Blue-Black fell behind in the 30th minute to a stunning strike from Lim Sang-hyub before the capital club added a second on 70 minutes through centre back Kim Ju-sung. Incheon pulled one back through captain Oh Ban-suk who rifled in a half-volley with a little over two minutes of normal time remaining but it proved to be scant consolation.

Daejeon Hana Citizen got off to a winning start on their return to K League 1 last Sunday, overcoming Gangwon FC by two goals to nil. New signing Tiago Orobó broke the deadlock on 11 minutes, tucking the ball into the bottom corner after springing the offside trap. Leandro added a second just 12 minutes later as Daejeon hit Gangwon with a two-pass counterattack. It was Citizen's first top-flight win since October 2015.


These two teams haven't met since June 2016 in the FA Cup when Incheon United won 3-2 in extra time. The last K League encounter goes back to the year before when Incheon won all four meetings. Daejeon's last win over Incheon goes back to March 31st, 2013 when goals from Lee Woong-hee and João Paulo earned a 2-1 victory. 

Overall, there have been 32 meetings between Incheon United and Daejeon Hana Citizen with the former winning 21 and the latter just five with six draws. The last 10 meetings are stacked heavily in Incheon's favour too with eight wins and one draw. At home against Daejeon, Incheon have 12 wins to Daejeon's three and two draws from 17 encounters.

What to Watch 

Ju Se-jong pulling the strings for Daejeon

New Daejeon Hana Citizen skipper Ju Se-jong was key to his side's opening-day victory, helping to recycle possession and thread passes through from deep. In Round 1, Ju ranked joint-third for passes made to the final third with 14 with an accuracy rate of 60%, showed 84% for passing accuracy overall, and landed two of the three passes he attempted into the penalty area. Ju is likely to be the one supplying Lee Jin-hyun and Lee Hyun-sik who will then be expected to make incisive passes into the penalty area or towards Daejeon's forward players.

Incheon's response

Incheon went into last weekend’s Gyeongin Derby with a near-sold-out away section in good voice. The fans had high expectations given the combination of a fourth-placed finish in 2022 and some high-profile signings over the close season, however the subsequent defeat looks to have caused a tempering of the fans’ expectations. This weekend, the prospect of facing newly-promoted Daejeon, coming off an impressive win against Gangwon, is causing some concern among supporters. Had Incheon won last weekend, the Blue-Black faithful would be full of confidence in Round 2. As it stands, a repeat of last week could see Incheon fall to the bottom of the table. 

Given Incheon manager Jo Sung-hwan’s post-game comments following last weekend’s defeat, he’ll be looking for more out of the experienced midfield pairing of Shin Jin-ho and Lee Myung-joo this weekend. Seoul dominated the midfield in the derby and prevented Incheon from creating many opportunities. That lack of provision meant a quiet game for the front three of Gerso, M’Poku and Kim Bo-seop, and limited opportunities for them to score. 

Where to Watch

Fans in countries with K League overseas broadcasting rights can follow the game live on television. Check local listings for more information.

Alternatively, the match is also available for FREE on TV.KLeague.com with English commentary.

- Paul Neat & Luke Evans