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AFC Recap: FC Seoul 0-0 Shandong Luneng

(from you tube.com)
Unfortunately, they could not score against Shandong Luneng last night and the game ended in a nil-nil draw, but it is not the worst result in the world and Seoul should wrap the group up in their next game against Buriram United.  For Shandong however, this was a massive result.  They are still one point ahead of Sanfrecce Hiroshima, whom they play next.  
For this game, Shandong focused mostly on defending and trying to score on set pieces.  Out from the Hangzhou Greentown game was CB Li Wei and in was Gil.  Likewise, DM Zhang Chi sat the bench and Hao Junmin took his place.   

I feel as though Shandong have spent the last three weeks practicing for this match.  They were very well organized, but also quite lucky.  On another day, Seoul would have scored three or four at least.  That being said, Shandong defended well enough and rode their luck for, to them, a critical point.  


I missed most of the game, but here are four things that stood out for me.

1. Osmar

(from youtube.com)
Osmar, in the square, hammered the ball with his right foot.  The shot, unfortunately, hit the inside post and bounced out.  If it goes in, the game is completely different.  What I want to highlight, and I might focus more on it, is how far up field Osmar is venturing even though he is a CB.  Obviously, Choi must realize the weakness of three CBs at times when pressing for a goal, so he has the liberty to join the attack when need be.  

2.  Takahagi ball over top to Adriano

(from youtube.com)
As I highlighted in my preview, Shandong are susceptible to balls over the top.  Seoul tried this in the first half, with Takahagi (circle) sending a wonderful ball over the top for Adriano (square) to run on to.  Unfortunately, the keeper was in a great position to block the shot.  

3.  Yoo Hyun and Set Pieces

(from youtube.com)
I put a rectangle around the ball and circled Jucilei.  Set pieces continue to be a worry for Seoul.  I put to lines near each goal post.  Maybe Choi should look into putting a man on one, if not both.  Here is a shot of Kim Shin-wook's header for Jeonbuk when the two teams played in the first week.

(from youtube.com)
That time, Seoul had a man on the near post, so the Wookie attacked the far post.  Obviously, teams have highlighted Yoo's physical stature as a weakness and are going to go after it.  That is why I think it might be advisable for Choi to put two men on the post.

Of course, there are many arguments against putting one, let alone two men on the post, just as some people think a team should utilize man marking on corners rather than zonal marking.  As the adage goes, damned if you do and damned if you don't.  

4.  Shandong's Defensive Effort

(from youtube.com)
Finally, this was Seoul's last shot of the game, and it shows how doggedly Shandong defended.  There are three men near the ball and one of them (2 I think) was able to snuff out Yun Ju-tae's shot.  Did he take too long?  Maybe, but it would have been difficult to score no matter what.  There were other examples as well.  

That being said, Seoul had six or seven really good chances to score.  On another day, they bury those and the starters get the next two games off as Choi can rotate his squad to give them a much needed rest.  Instead, they will have to trot out against Buriram.  They should, however, collect all three points from them and advanced as the group winner to the next round.  

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