FC Seoul hammers Kedah FA 4-1 to join AFC group stage

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FC Seoul hammers Kedah FA 4-1 to join AFC group stage

Korea’s FC Seoul beat up on the 10-man Malaysian side Kedah FA 4-1 on Tuesday to join the group stage at Asia’s top club football competition.

Four different players scored for FC Seoul in one of four East Region playoff matches for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League at Seoul World Cup Stadium in the nation’s capital. FC Seoul will be making their first Champions League appearance since 2017.

Park Chu-young opened the scoring by converting a 39th-minute penalty, awarded following defender Renan Alves’ handball violation in the box.

Park Dong-jin made it 2-0 for FC Seoul in the 49th minute. FC Seoul’s Osmar Barba had an own goal to make it 2-1 in the 52nd, but put one into Kedah’s net 11 minutes later to restore a two-goal advantage for his side.

Ikromjon Alibaev added a fourth goal in the final moments for good measure.

With this victory, FC Seoul will be slotted into Group E of the AFC Champions League, alongside Beijing FC of China and Chiangrai United of Thailand. Also making it to Group E will be Melbourne Victory, who knocked off the 2018 champions Kashima Antlers 1-0 in their playoff match Tuesday.

FC Seoul predictably dominated the run of play from the get-go. And after Park Chu-young’s successful penalty, only stellar goalkeeping by Shahril Sa’ari, who robbed both Park Chu-young and Park Dong-jin of sure goals on successive chances in one sequence, kept the score respectable.

Park Dong-jin’s header early in the second half, set up by a perfectly placed cross from Hwang Hyun-soo, seemed to deflate Kedah’s defense. And Osmar more than made up for his own goal with a thunderous free kick from the right side of the box into the top left-hand corner.

Then during added time, Alibaev joined in on the scoring act, curling in his right-footed shot from outside the top of the box to round out the scoring.

FC Seoul made it straight to the playoff by finishing in third place in the K League 1 in 2019. Kedah got into the preliminary round after winning the Malaysia FA Cup last year, and they defeated Tai Po of Vietnam 5-1 last week to set up a meeting with FC Seoul.

Other K League representatives in the AFC tournament are the reigning league champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, runner-up Ulsan Hyundai FC and the FA Cup champions Suwon Samsung Bluewings.

FC Seoul has never won an AFC Champions League title, with a pair of runner-up finishes in 2002 and 2013.

Korea has produced the most AFC champions with 11, but hasn’t had one since Jeonbuk won it all in 2016.

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