|Everton Santos of FC Seoul (centre) seen during the AFC Champions League play-off match against Ha Noi T&T. FC Seoul won 7-0.-- Photo the-afc.com
HA NOI (VNS) – Coach Phan Thanh Hung has admitted that FC Seoul were too strong for Ha Noi T&T during the Asian Football Confederation Champions League play-off match yesterday in Seoul.
Former finalists FC Seoul entered the group stage of the league for the third time, after the K League Classic side recorded a thumping 7-0 win.
Yun Il-lok deflected an overhead kick from Brazilian Everton Santos, Jung Jo-gook and Sergio Escudero, setting FC Seoul on their way in the first half of the match at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Jung, Lee Seok-hyun and Captain Koh Myong-jin increased the lead in the second half as FC Seoul secured their place in Group H. They will play defending champions Western Sydney Wanderers from Australia, 2013 winners Guangzhou Evergrande from China and Japan's Kashima Antlers, having followed up their 2013 final appearance with a run to the semi-finals last year.
"FC Seoul are a strong team. I want to say congratulations and also good luck to them for the group stage," said Hanoi coach Thanh Hung.
"The atmosphere in Seoul was really good, and FC Seoul performed really well.
"The weather was really cold and made it difficult for us to perform well. Also, a lack of experience in the ACL was another difficulty factor.
"From the experience we gained today, we hope to play well when we get another chance to play in this tournament," Hung added.
Despite their lack of match practice, FC Seoul took the lead in just 14 minutes as the ball broke for Yun from a crowd on the edge of the penalty area. With Hanoi unable to ward off the danger, the midfielder produced a composed finish past goalkeeper Nguyen Van Cong.
FC Seoul continued to dominate and doubled their lead six minutes later, as Ha Noi were again unable to clear the ball out of their penalty area. Everton Santos' acrobatic overhead kick deflected off the shoulder of centre-back Daneil Cyrus and looped over Van Cong.
A third goal came 10 minutes later as Kim Chi-woo's superb angled pass found Jung on the edge of the penalty area. Despite the presence of two Ha Noi defenders, the striker found the bottom corner.
FC Seoul ended the first half with a four-goal cushion, as Ha Noi conceded possession inside their own half. Escudero eventually played a one-two with Yun inside the penalty area, before the striker was on hand to produce a superb first-time side-footed finish from close range.
FC Seoul continued where they had left off in the second half. Jung curled home a first-time effort from outside the penalty area, less than a minute after the game resumed, having exchanged passes with Lee.
For their seventh goal, FC Seoul had to wait till the last 20 minutes for Lee to turn home following good work from Jung, before captain Koh fired high into the roof of the net from close range, two minutes after Hanoi goalkeeper Van Cong dropped a high ball on the edge of his six-yard area.
"We prepared really hard at the winter camp and it paid off," FC Seoul coach Choi Yong-soo was quoted as saying on the-afc.com.
"The important thing is that we have to forget about the match today and need to prepare for the next game," said Choi, who had also seen his side draw the first leg of the 2013 AFC Champions League final 2-2 at home.
"We have an away match against Guangzhou. I know that they are a really strong team. However, in football, we don't know anything till the final whistle." VNS