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Recap: FC Seoul 2-0 Pohang Steelers

Recap: FC Seoul 2-0 Pohang Steelers K League 1
For the first time since 2010, FC Seoul begin the new campaign with three points. With Hwang Hyunsoo at the double, a 2-0 win over Pohang Steelers at Sangam, with a spirited and purposeful performance, sees the capital club go some way in putting last year's misery behind them.


On Sunday 3rd March, a Hyang Hyunsoo brace gave FC Seoul a 2-0 opening day victory against Pohang Steelers. The centre back showed his attacking prowess with a poacher's goal to open the scoring with just nine minutes on the clock before sending in his entry for goal of the month with a beautifully struck right-footed curler from just inside the penalty area just shy of the half hour mark.

Perhaps more surprising that the result was the FC Seoul starting lineup. Whilst Ikromjon Alibaev made his debut, Osmar and Aleksandar Pešić were both conspicuous by their absences from the match day squad. Up top, Park Chuyoung was partnered by Park Dongjin, who started last season as a right full back.

For Pohang, Yun Junsoo was the man tasked with replacing Connor Chapman in the centre of the Steelers' three-man midfield. Elsewhere, formerly of FC Seoul, Shim Sangmin and Lee Seokhyun both started and, making his K League bow, David Da Silva was deployed as the Steelers' central striker, flanked by Wanderson and Lee Jinhyun.

On a mild and sunny early spring afternoon at Seoul World Cup Stadium, it was FC Seoul began the brightest. It didn't take long until the hosts had their noses in front but did so through an unlikely source with centre back Hwang Hyunsoo nodding home from close range.

Recap: FC Seoul 2-0 Pohang Steelers Match Report K League 1 Hwang Hyun-soo
Hwang Hyunsoo (centre) had only scored three for FC Seoul in 41 appearances prior to Sunday's brace.
Pohang were able to clear Park Chuyoung's corner from the right, but only as far as the edge of the box where skipper Go Yohan was on hand to lay the ball back out to Park. After some neat footwork, the veteran striker sent in a left-footed cross onto the head of Lee Woonghee. Lee's header cannoned back off the bar but fellow centre half Hwang Hyunsoo was on hand to convert from point blank range with a header of his own. Just nine minutes on the clock and, much to the delight of Choi Yongsoo, and relief of the Sangam faithful, FC Seoul had their tails up.

This was an FC Seoul that was unrecognisable from that of last season; purpose, conviction and tactical nous weren't words that one would use to describe the capital club in 2018. However, Choi Yongsoo's men had verve and, perhaps most importantly, a real sense of desire.

And so, it didn't take too long for Choi's men to double their advantage. Despite Park Dongjin being the defender operating as a striker, it was Hwang Hyunsoo who bagged his and Seoul's second of the afternoon with a superbly struck shot from just inside the 18-yard box.

After another Park Chuyoung corner, this time from the left, Pohang were once again unable to clear their lines. The ball landed to new boy Ikromjon Alibaev but saw his initial effort blocked before calmly laying the ball into the path of Hwang Hyunsoo on the 18-yard line. First time, the FC Seoul number two steadied himself before letting rip with a right-footed curler into the top corner at Kang Hyunmu's near post, cue delirium on the FC Seoul bench.

In the second half, keen to mark his debut with a goal as well as an assist, Alibaev went close with chances on 48 and 50 minutes. The best of them all was following a well-executed cut back from Park Chuyoung on the right; the ball fell beautifully to Alibaev but the former Lokomotiv Tashkent midfielder's shot was a tame one and struck straight at the goalkeeper.

Recap: FC Seoul 2-0 Pohang Steelers Match Report K League 1 Ikromjon Alibaev
Ikromjon Alibaev (C) laid on an assist for FC Seoul's second of the afternoon.
Despite not finding the back of the net, Alibaev's debut was an impressive one and another in a long list of plus points to take away from Sunday's match. The overall performance as a team, though, was perhaps a reminder that FC Seoul are in with a realistic chance of finishing in the top half of the table. Rather fittingly, Park Chuyoung put in an inspired display up front. The 33 year-old made little more than a handful of appearances last term but, with full pre-season under his belt, looked sharper than ever.

Rather than going for the spectacular, the former Arsenal and Monaco man linked up well with his teammates and provided a focal point up front. On numerous occasions, the man Seoul fans nickname 'Chu-man' split the play effortlessly and seemed to be one or two moves ahead of everyone else. Knowing that he was being flanked by two attack-minded wing-backs in Ko Kwangmin and Yoon Jonggyu on the left and right respectively, Park combined well with the pair. His touch, work rate, build up play, and decision making was as good as it has been since returning to Seoul in 2015.

Whilst the game was rather one-sided, Pohang did enjoy a spell of sustained pressure midway through the second half, albeit briefly. However, Choi Soonho's men were simply unable to get their foot on the ball and dictate the tempo of the game.

On the counter attack, Brazilian centre forward David Da Silva showed plenty of endeavour and at times looked dangerous with his pace and direct nature. However, his touch was often lacking and, despite being a target man, was unable to hold the ball up sufficiently and was hauled off nine minutes into the second period.

With full time approaching, Jung Hyeoncheol thought that he had made it 3-0 but the defensive midfielder's goal was chalked off for offside. His performance deserved a goal, but that could have been said about a handful of FC Seoul players. In the end it was a comprehensive victory for Seoul, their first on the opening day of the season since 2010 having drawn four and lost four since.

Lineups

Recap: FC Seoul 2-0 Pohang Steelers Match Report K League 1 lineup starting 11

Manager: Choi Yongsoo
Substitutes: 21 Yang Hanbin, 14 Kim Hangil, 15 Kim Wonsik, 16 Ha Daesung, 18 Cho Youngwook (Park Dongjin 65'), 8 Jung Wonjin (Go Yohan 85'), Lee Ingyu (Park Chuyoung 90+2')

Recap: FC Seoul 2-0 Pohang Steelers Match Report K League 1 lineup starting 11

Manager: Cho Soonho
Substitutes: 1 Ryu Wonwoo, 5 Ha Changrae, 14 Kim Jimin (Lee Jinhyun 85'), 17 Ha Seungwoon (David Da Silva 54'), 19 Lee Sanggi, 22 Kim Dohyung (Lee Seokhyun 73'), 57 Lee Soobin.

Attendance 15, 525


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