FC Seoul proved their mettle as powerhouse, securing a win point from an away match despite their grueling match schedule. On April 16 (Sun), FC Seoul visited Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium and tied with the hosts Ulsan Hyundai F.C. 1-1 in the sixth round of the 2017 K League Classic, staying undefeated against the Ulsaners for the 8th consecutive game (four wins and four draws).
Securing 9 win points so far, Seoul rose in the league table as well to the fourth standing. Dejan Damjanovic, Seoul’s most prolific scorer, found the net for the second game in a row following his heroic performance against the Wanderers.
In frontline, Seoul put a triangle of attackers, Dejan, Yun Il-lok, and Mauro. Hwang Ki-wook and Ju Se-jong boasted agility in the middle, providing the assistance both for the offense and defense. Wingers Kim Chi-woo and Go Yo-han blazed path on each side, paving the way for the goal. Osmar Ibanez, Hwang Hyun-soo, and Kim Dong-woo defended the final line of defense with GK Yoo Hyun standing guard before the goalposts.
Upon the start of the game, Seoul buckled down to getting the upper hand of it against the hosts. Characterized by quick and busy engagements, Seoul made busy offensive efforts, with Kim Chi-woo and Mauro spearheading the attacks down both sides. The effort bore fruit, and in the 32nd minute of the first half, Kim Dong-woo lobbed the ball from a free kick towards Dejan Damjanovic, who found the opener with a powerful header.
The commentators of KBS TV, the broadcaster of the game, were quite apt when they described the goal as an “artistic set play.” It was a masterpiece of a scoring manifested on the pitch impeccably. The pinpoint cross from Yun Il-lok, the remarkable assistance from Kim Dong-woo, and the unswerving finish by Dejan were the indispensable pieces of the artwork.
Seoul’s offensives continued, with Mauro and Yun Il-lok unleashing threatening shots. In the 36th minute, GK Yoo Hyun made a superb save, striking a fine balance between the offense and defense. However, a momentary lapse near the end of the first half ended up costing the visitors a painful equalizer.
Seoul employed varied strategies against the changing dynamics of the game, leaving their opponents much shaken. The visitors beefed up their middle by substituting Lee Seok-hyun for Kim Dong-woo. Shifting from three-backs to a four-back defense line, Seoul made an all-out effort to carve out a lead. In the middle, Dejan was often seen making himself instrumental in greasing the wheel of game-making, sharpening the edge of the spear. Mauro injected vitality into the pitch, collecting a pass from Yun Il-lok and threatened the opponents with a thunderous strike.
Seoul replaced Yun Il-lok with Jo Chan-ho in a bid to boost the team’s attacking resources. In the 40th minute, the team called on Sim Woo-yeon to secure competitiveness for mid-air ball challenges. Exhausted, Seoul never gave up to the very end of the game and worked towards victory. However, the whistle was blown soon to signal the end of the long struggle at 1-1. Between Australia and Ulsan, the travel was tough, but Seoul did their best to reap the three win points that they are used to getting. Stamina factor was far from ignorable. But it was dwarfed by Seoul’s determination to win, which allowed the team to remain undefeated for 8 games in a row against Ulsan.
Now, they are coming back to the Seoul World Cup Stadium laid under the aegis of 10 million supporters to make the preparations for the upcoming fixture on Wednesday, the first round to FA Cup against FC Anyang. The FA Cup, which proved to be evasive only on the final stage, is a bitter reminder, but remains a cause worth giving another shot for. Seoul will do their best to bring good news to their fans by making a grand opening into their FC Cup challenge for the new year.