Published : 2013-10-01 21:15
Updated : 2013-10-01 21:15
(Yonhap) -- South Korean football club FC Seoul will look to finish off its Iranian opponent and make the finals at this year's AFC Champions League this week.
FC Seoul will travel to Azadi Stadium in Tehran to face Esteghlal in the second leg of the semifinals at the top Asian club football competition. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday local time, or 12:30 a.m. Thursday in Korean time.
Last Wednesday, FC Seoul blanked Esteghlal 2-0 at Seoul World Cup Stadium, on goals by Dejan Damjanovic and Go Yo-han. The aggregate score after the two legs will determine who will reach the finals. With the two-goal advantage, the South Korean club will only need a draw or a one-goal loss to make the finals.
If FC Seoul gets past Esteghlal, it will become the fifth consecutive club from the domestic K League Classic to reach the AFC finals. The South Korean league has produced three of the past four AFC champions.
The Pohang Steelers, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, and the Ulsan Hyundai Tigers were the Asian champs in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were the runner-up in 2011.
FC Seoul's title aspirations will be bolstered by the absence of two key Esteghlal midfielders, Javad Nekounam and Andranik Teymourian, both suspended for the second leg after picking up their second yellows in as many games last week.
FC Seoul is expected to be greeted by loud and partisan Iranian fans at the hostile Azadi Stadium, which has the capacity of more than 90,000 people.
The stadium is at an altitude of about 1,270 meters above sea level, and visiting players have often had difficulty making adjustments playing in the unusual surroundings. Internationally, South Korea has never beaten Iran at Azadi, with two draws and three defeats.
Choi Yong-soo, FC Seoul's head coach, stressed that the semifinals aren't over yet.
"We have come a long way but there is still work to do," Choi was quoted as saying on AFC's website.
"The altitude will have an effect with the ball bouncing differently. This is something that we have to think about and prepare for, but we will do our best and it will be a good experience for our players."