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FC Seoul qualify for second round in Asian Championss League

FC Seoul on Wednesday qualified for the next round at an ongoing continental club competition with a victory at home.

At the Seoul World Cup Stadium, FC Seoul blanked Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates 3-0 in Group F action of the Asian Football Confederation Champions League. Striker Dejan Damjanovic scored twice as Seoul became the third K-League club to reach the next stage this year.

The victory gave Seoul 10 points with three wins, one loss and one draw with one more group game left. Nagoya Grampus of Japan also have 10 points after their win Wednesday but hold the tie-breaking edge of FC Seoul thanks to a superior head-to-head record.

Nagoya and Seoul hold a six-point lead over the third-place Hangzhou Greentown, which won’t catch them even with a win in its last match next week.

FC Seoul has won two straight games under interim head coach Choi Yong-soo, after Hwangbo Kwan stepped down late last month to take the fall for the team’s early struggles in the K-League. It joins two other K-League teams in the second round. Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors secured their berths with victories on Tuesday.

There are eight groups in the Champions League and the top two teams from each group advance to the next round.

FC Seoul will look to finish first in the group next week against Hangzhou. The first seeds in each group will play their second round matches at home.

In Group E, Jeju United, a fourth K-League team, lost 3-0 to Tianjin Teda on the road in Group E. Jeju, playing in its first AFC Champions League, is sitting at six points, with Tianjin in the lead with 10 points and Gamba Osaka in second with seven points.

Jeju can still advance to the next round if it beats Melbourne Victory and if Gamba Osaka loses to or draws Tianjin next week.

Last year, all four K-League representatives reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League, and Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma won the championship. K-League as a circuit has won the regional title nine times, more than any other Asian football league.

(Yonhap News)
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