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Two Korean clubs aim for 1st win at ACL this week

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Published : 2017-03-13 18:01
Updated : 2017-03-13 18:01

Two South Korean football clubs will aim to collect their first win at the 2017 Asian Football Confederation Champions League this week.

FC Seoul and Suwon Samsung Bluewings will resume their AFC Champions League group stage action, hoping to end their winless drought. Seoul are the defending champions of the top flight K League Classic, while Suwon are the reigning Korea Football Association Cup winners.

(Yonhap)

They are two of the four South Korean clubs at this year's ACL, along with Jeju United and Ulsan Hyundai.

Seoul, the 2016 ACL semifinalists, will host Western Sydney Wanderers of Australia on Wednesday for their third Group F match.

Both Seoul and Sydney have yet to pick up a point, but the former sits in third place in Group F with a better goal difference.

Seoul lost to Chinese outfit Shanghai SIPG 1-0 in their opener at home and suffered a 5-2 defeat to Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds last month. Sydney were blanked by Urawa 4-0 at home, followed by a 5-1 loss to Shanghai.

For either team, another defeat would mean an elimination may be just around the corner. At the ACL, the top two in each of the eight groups advance to the knockout stage.

Sydney, led by Tony Popovic, previously beat Seoul at the ACL semifinals in 2014, and went on to become the first Australian A-League club to win the tournament.

Seoul are coming off a 1-0 victory against Gangwon FC in their domestic league action on Saturday. This was their first win of the new K League season as they had a 1-1 draw with Suwon in their season opener. Hwang Sun-hong's side will rely on Montenegrin striker Dejan Damjanovic and former AS Monaco and Arsenal forward Park Chu-young.

Suwon, two-time continental champions, will also be desperate for a victory as they've only managed two draws so far in Group G.

Seo Jung-won's side played to a 1-1 draw with Japan's Kawasaki Frontale and were held to a 2-2 draw by Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande at home. Suwon are currently second in the group behind Guangzhou.

Suwon are also winless in the K League Classic. Following a stalemate with Seoul, they fell to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, the defending ACL champs, 2-0 last Saturday at home.

Suwon will face Hong Kong's Eastern SC on Tuesday on the road in a bid for their first win in the group. Eastern, making their ACL debut this year, were crushed by Guangzhou 7-0, but they played to a 1-1 draw with Kawasaki at home.

The two other South Korean clubs -- Jeju and Ulsan -- will each try to collect their second group stage victory. Both teams have so far collected one win and one loss apiece.

Jeju, last year's No. 3 at the K League Classic, will face Adelaide United on Wednesday for their Group H contest. Adelaide are the worst performer in the group with two straight losses so far, but Jeju will have to overcome their fatigue from long travel to Australia.

Jeju lost to China's Jiangsu FC 1-0 at home, but rebounded with a 4-1 win over Japan's Gamba Osaka. They also defeated Ulsan 3-0 in their K League match on Saturday.

Ulsan, currently third in Group E, will resume their ACL action on Tuesday by taking on the group leaders Muangthong United at home. The Thai champions took the surprise lead of the group after securing their first ever ACL victory over Kashima Antlers of Japan last month.

Ulsan, the 2012 ACL winners, lost to Kashima 2-0 for their ACL start, but displayed a fine performance at home by routing Brisbane Roar of Australia 6-0. (Yonhap)