FC Seoul wins first K-League title in decade

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FC Seoul wins first K-League title in decade


Defender Adilson Batista of Brazil, right, celebrates after heading in what would turn out to be the winning goal of the K-League Championship final at Seoul World Cup Stadium yesterday. FC Seoul won the second-leg match 2-1. [NEWSIS]

FC Seoul won the K-League title in a 2-1 nail-biter over Jeju United in their second-leg match at Seoul World Cup Stadium yesterday.

With the two sides playing to a 2-2 tie in the first-leg match at Jeju World Cup Stadium on Wednesday night, FC Seoul won the home-and-away K-League Championship finals on an aggregate score of 4-3. FC Seoul came back from a two goal deficit on Wednesday in Jeju.

Yesterday’s match was determined in the 72nd minute when FC Seoul took a 2-1 lead on Brazilian defender Adilson Batista’s header off Server Djeparov’s corner kick.

Having suffered a broken cheekbone in September, Batista was listed as questionable for the finals, but earned the Most Valuable Player award thanks to his steady defense and for connecting on the winning goal yesterday.

Jeju United blew yet another lead after scoring the opening goal of the game.

Playing in front of a boisterous crowd of 56,759 - a postseason single-game record and the second-highest turnout ever for a K-League match - FC Seoul was the aggressor out of the gate.

Using wingers Choi Tae-uk and Kim Chi-woo, along with forwards Dejan Damjanovic and Jung Jo-gook up front, FC Seoul pressed hard and dictated the tempo in the first half. Damjanovic looked to have scored the opening goal on a rebound off a Kim Chi-woo shot in the 10th minute, but the former was ruled offside.

Instead, it was Jeju United who drew first blood. Jeju’s Bae Ki-jong took possession of a poor clearance by FC Seoul goalkeeper Kim Yong-dae and dished off to Santos, who fired it home in the 25th minute to put Jeju up 1-0 for the second time in two games.

The lead did not last long, however, as Jung was fouled in the penalty area by Jeju’s Ma Chul-jun a couple minutes later. Jung connected on the penalty kick in the 27th minute to tie the game at one goal apiece.

Jeju United came out well prepared for the second half and did a respectable job defending against an aggressive FC Seoul attack, creating several scoring opportunities on the counter-attack. The game looked to be destined for extra time until Adilson headed home the winner in the 72nd minute.

The K-League Championship title was FC Seoul’s first in 10 years.

In the process, Nelo Vingada became the first manager in 19 years to win a title in his debut season.

The 57-year-old Portuguese manager built up an impressive resume before joining FC Seoul, having lead the U-20 and U-23 Portugal national teams, the Saudi Arabian national team, the U-23 Egyptian national team and several professional clubs.

Jeju United, led by manager Park Kyung-hoon, failed to become the first second-seed team to win a championship.

But despite the loss, Park lead the team to a remarkable turnaround this season.

He took over a Jeju squad that had finished a dismal 14th overall in the standings last year and took them to a second-place finish this year.

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