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FC Seoul teeters on the edge of elimination

Mar 17,2017
FC Seoul head coach Hwang Sun-hong said Wednesday he is disappointed by his team’s defeat to the Western Sydney Wanderers at home as they are now on the verge of elimination at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.

Seoul, last year’s AFC Champions League (ACL) semifinalists, fell to Western Sydney 3-2 at Seoul World Cup Stadium and suffered straight losses in Group F. With only three matches remaining, Hwang’s side sits last in the group, which also includes Shanghai SIPG of China and Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan.

“I’m disappointed in many things,” Hwang said after the match. “We gave up easy goals and that made our game difficult.”

Seoul, the defending champions of the top flight K-League Classic, have surrendered nine goals in three ACL matches so far. They previously lost 1-0 to Shanghai and were crushed by Urawa 5-2.

“If we keep conceding goals like today, we can’t win,” he said. “We need to stabilize our defense as soon as possible.”

Against Western Sydney, Seoul were without veteran defender Kwak Tae-hwi and striker Park Chu-young as both weren’t available due to injuries. Hwang said he now has lots of thoughts and will come up with measures to improve the team.

“It’s true that the situation has become very difficult for us (to reach the round of 16),” he said. “I have to think about many things, but what’s certain is that we need to give our best efforts until the end.”

Western Sydney head coach Tony Popovic said he is satisfied with their performance. The Australian A-League side collected their first win in Group F after two losses.

“From our point of view, it was a very good result,” he said. “In the end, when you score three goals away from home, you should win the match.”

Popovic said he had never thought about his team leading 3-0 against Seoul during the match.

“You never expect a score of 3-0, but we took our opportunities very well,” he said. “We expected FC Seoul to fight and they did. They got the back in the game, but after all, we’re delighted to get three points away from home.”

Seoul and Western Sydney will have a repeat match on April 11 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in Leumeah, Australia. Popovic said his players will try to repeat the victorious performance against the Korean club.

“We’ll gain a lot of confidence from this performance and result,” he said. “Now, we will going to repeat this result in our home ground.”

Yonhap