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AFC Recap: FC Seoul 3-3 Urawa Reds (7-6 P.K.s) Part II

(From sports.media.daum.net)  
In part one, I looked at the first half.  Now, I will look at the second.  Seoul played so well and were leading 1-0.  However, the second half would not be as easy.


Seoul started the second half on fire as well, determined to put the tie between these two teams to bed.  In the 46/47th minute Kim Dong-woo's looping ball over the top beat the defense and found Dejan through on goal, but unfortunately Dejan's shot was straight at Shusaku Nishikawa.  Seoul, in my opinion, dominated until around the 70th minute and then began to tire.  Urawa looked like the stronger team as they began to create the better chances and looked increasingly likely to nick an away goal and advance to the quarter finals.

It was evident that Seoul were exhausted as their primary offensive tactic at this stage was to huff long balls forward in the hopes that Adriano could create something from nothing.  However, this tactic was both naive and wasteful as both of Urawas CBs were able to easily intercept the high balls and it allowed for the Reds to recycle possession and come at Seoul again.

Seoul were let off the hook in the 83rd minute as Zlatan Ljubijankic shot wide of the goal, thereby disappointing his namesake and serial user of the third person, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  Here is an image below that shows how much space that Zlatan (circle) had to run onto the ball and the problems with playing a 3-5-2/5-3-2.

(From sports.media.daum.net)
Go Yo-han was going forward, but the ball was intercepted and allowed for Urawa to counter.  Who is Kim Dong-woo (rectangle) suppose to pick up?  Should he go wide and Kim Won-sik (C) pick up the man in the middle?  Would it have been better for Seoul to deploy a four man defense with Go Yo-han and Ko Kwang-min playing as full backs rather than wings for safety?

Anyways, Seoul had two great chances to snatch the game at the end.  The first was from a free kick into the box by Ju Se-jong, but unfortunately, Park Chu-young could not get his head turned at a proper angle to head the ball and it went over the goal.  Then Ju Se-jong skinned the Urawa defender and passed the ball to Adriano, but he chose the wrong time to be selfish and go for goal.  Below is an image of wide open Park Chu-young was.

(From sports.media.daum.net)
Would Park have scored?  Maybe not, but I still think Adriano should have passed.  From there, the game went into extra time and Seoul would need to find another gear if they wanted to win.  The breakthrough came in the 94th minute as Ju Se-jong split the defense with a through ball to Park Chu-young.  Park sent crossed for Adriano to rush onto and slam into the back of the net.  Seoul were finally winning and at that point, I was wishing that the Golden Goal rule was still in effect as the next 25 minutes were going to be exceedingly long.

Tadanari Lee equalized for Urawa as the Seoul defense fell apart in the 112th minute. Here is an image right before Lee heads the ball into the net.

(From sports.media.daum.net)
As you can see, Kim Won-sik (circle) jumps to head the ball clear, but completely misjudges the flight and it goes over his head for an easy Lee (triangle) finish.  However, maybe if Go Yo-han (square) had tracked him better, Seoul could have cleared the ball.  I think there was a mix up between Go and Ju Se-jong (L) as to who should be following Lee.

From there, heads dropped and inconceivably, Urawa were in the lead two minutes later.  Again, poor defense was the culprit as either Osmar or Ko Kwang-min (I blame him personally) and Seoul failed to track Lee's movement to get into scoring position AGAIN.

(From sports.media.daum.net)
In this image, Lee (C) is in between Ko (rectangle) and Osmar (poorly drawn circle).  Osmar is moving towards the Urawa player (L) making a late run into the box, but Ko fails to track lee, which tees Lee up to finish from Tsukasa Umesaki's perfectly weighted ball.  Yu Sang-hun was visibly upset and undestandably so as the defense once again let him down.

However, as some fans were heading to the exit and yours truly considered killing the stream he was watching, Seoul scored again.  On the right touch line, Go received the pass from Osmar, cut in towards the middle and unbelievably struck a sweet shot from outside the box to tie the game up and the lottery of penalties beckoned.

(From sports.media.daum.net)
Yu Sang-hun did well to get a hand on Yuki Abe's shot, but it bounced in off the crossbar.  After Osmar blasted his PK wide, it looked as though Seoul were in trouble.  To win the game, up stepped Urawa's keeper Nishikawa, but Yu was able to block his shot down the middle.  Three kicks later, Yu again stopped Komai's kick and Kim Dong-woo, with ice in his veins, won it for Seoul.

This really was a fantastic game and I have nothing but respect for Urawa Reds.  I hope they win the J-League and qualify for the ACL again.  They were just as good as Seoul and it was their unfortunate failure to beat Pohang at home that has led to them exiting the ACL.

However, Seoul are onto the quarter finals and face a match up against either Jeonbuk (I hope not) or one of the two remaining Chinese teams (Shanghai S.I.P.G. or Shandong Luneng).  Hopefully, Seoul will not wait until the death to win their next fixture.  That being said, I am looking forward to Sunday's game at World Cup Stadium against Jeonnam.  The team cannot afford to drop points if they want to stay atop the league and with some great wins under their belt, they should really be up for this contest.

If you want to watch the extended highlights, click here.  However, at nearly 17 minutes, you might want something shorter, so click here.

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