Seongnam, Suwon set to battle it out for FA Cup

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Seongnam, Suwon set to battle it out for FA Cup

Pride and a ticket to next year’s AFC Champions League are on the line for two K-League clubs this weekend.

The Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Suwon Bluewings will play in the FA Cup finals at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Seongnam Sports Complex in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, providing fans with what is expected to be an exciting game. The football teams were evenly matched when they faced off twice in the regular season, splitting the games and scoring three goals apiece.

Seongnam still has a shot at winning both the FA Cup and the K-League titles. Having placed fourth overall in league standings this season, the team advanced to the first round of the K-League playoffs with a record of 13 wins, six ties and nine losses. After facing Suwon in the FA Cup tomorrow, Seongnam is set to play Incheon United in the first round of the K-League playoffs the very next day.

The biggest goal for both Seongnam and Suwon tomorrow is to clinch a spot in next year’s Champions League tourney. If Seongnam does not win the FA Cup, things get a little complicated, as the team will then have to win the Sunday K-League playoff match against Incheon United and advance to the second round to clinch a Champions League berth.

Suwon, however, won’t have the luxury of getting a second chance. The Bluewings finished 10th in the league, so the FA Cup game is their only shot at a berth in next year’s Champions League tourney. The Cha Bum-kun-managed squad struggled this season after a slow start, limping to an unimpressive record of eight wins, eight ties and 12 losses. Still, the team has a shot at salvaging an otherwise disappointing season by winning the FA Cup.

The sideline matchup is another point of intrigue as Seongnam’s rookie manager Shin Tae-yong will try to outwit veteran Cha.

On the field, Seongnam will count on Mauricio Molina, Cho Dong-kun and Kim Jung-woo to lead its attack, while Suwon will look to Edu and Kim Do-heon. Molina led Seongnam in scoring during the K-League season with eight goals and three assists while forward Cho Dong-kun had six goals and four assists. Suwon will count on forward Edu, who has seven goals and four assists, and Kim, who has four goals and four assists in his first season back after playing for West Bromwich Albion of the English Premier League.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]

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