FC Seoul advanced to the round of 16 in the ACL securing the top spot in their group.
FC Seoul finished their last match of the preliminary stage with a 1-1 draw against Hangzhou Greentown but eventually finished first in the group as Nagoya was beaten by Al Ain 1-3 at the same day.
FC Seoul will play against Kashima Antlers in last 16 of ACL at Seoul World Cup Stadium on 25th. FC Seoul recalls their pleasant memory of the victory they had earned against the Japanese side 2 years ago when Sung-yong Ki’s dramatic free-kick equalizer led to Soulite’s victory after the penalty shoot-out.
FC Seoul, who kicked-off few hours earlier than Nagoya, had to wait for the result of the match between Nagoya and Al Ain after finishing their last group match against Hangzhou with a draw. Given away an equalizer at the injury time of the match, Seoulites were to satisfy finishing 2nd in the group unless Nagoya loses against Al Ain.
However, as the UAE’s side defeated Nagoya 3-1, keen competition for the top place in the group had finally been settled. FC Seoul topped the group attaining 11 points with 3-2-1, followed by Nagoya who had finished 3-1-2 with 10 points.
FC Seoul’s match was not full of satisfaction. They broke the deadlock in the second half by Seung-hwan Bang’s volley, but eventually finished with a 1-1 draw after giving away the equalizer in the stoppage time.
In the match which was held in the middle of such a rigorous schedule, FC Seoul pressed hard to break through Hangzhou’s gritty defense and overwhelmed the Chinese side throughout the match. FC Seoul maintained their momentum as Djeparov and Molina tried their long-range efforts, and the overall teamwork was also effective enough to dominate the game.
FC Seoul was on top after the break when Molina smartly headed Hyun-tae Choi’s long cross into the path of Bang who calmly volleyed past the Chinese goalie with his right foot. It was his first of the season and a consecutive offensive point after he had assisted a goal in the previous game against Sangju in the league match.
Seoul continued to step up pressure on the hosts and almost secured three points before the Chinese side netted a header in between the goal posts. Although Seoul allowed the bitter equalizer at the very last moment, players made their best effort in the game that was played in the course of a very demanding schedule.
The old proverb tells us to “Do our best. Man proposes, God disposes”
Goddess of victory eventually did not shun Seoul players who had put their best effort into the game to finish atop of the group, as Al Ain defeated Nagoya few hours later.
The club achieved the result that they and all the fans of Seoul had wanted for. Players will leave for home with a much lighter heart. Also, they are now able to prepare for the next game with Gyeongnam FC in the league on Sunday with greater confidence.
Meanwhile, there were hundreds of Korean local students alongside the away supporters cheering the players. The number obviously did not exceed their counterparts, but their heat was enough to overpower the Chinese.