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FC Seoul Qualify for AFC Champions League

FC Seoul will make their return to the AFC Champions League for the first time in three years next season following Sunday's 0-0 draw away to Daegu FC. Heading into the final day of the 2019 campaign, FC Seoul needed to avoid defeat in order to seal continental football for 2020. A resolute performance at DGB Daegu Bank Park proved to be enough and so Choi Yongsoo and his men will enter the competition at the third qualifying round phase.


FC Seoul have qualified for the AFC Champions League for 2020 following the 0-0 draw away to Daegu FC on Sunday. But after failing to pick up a single win post-split, Seoul will have the unwanted title of being the first team seal third place and an ACL spot having done so given their record of three defeats and two draws in FINAL A.

A win against Pohang Steelers in Round 37 would have sealed ACL for Seoul but a 3-0 defeat, coupled with Daegu's 4-2 win over Gangwon on the same day, meant that Choi Yongsoo and his team needed a result away to Daegu in the last match of the season.

The performance against Daegu FC was solid, if not unspectacular, with the capital club seeming to lack that little bit of spark in the final third. That said, it was clear that Choi had his players well-drilled in the build up to huge clash.

Seoul were able to grind out the result by defending resolutely despite Daegu throwing everything at them in the second half. But, Seoul's back three of Kim Jusung, Kim Namchun, and Hwang Hyunsoo, with Osmar as marshal in front, were calm and composed and seldom looked flustered throughout.

Alibaev in the middle of the park contributed massively, making some key interventions, interceptions and was smart on the ball.

It has been quite the turnaround at Sangam. In the space of just 12 months, Choi Yongsoo has turned FC Seoul into a team that once again has ACL ambitions despite almost falling through the trap door at the tail-end of 2018.

In the earlier stages of the 2019 season, Seoul looked like they were part of a three-horse race for the title, and perhaps had it not have been for injuries to key individuals both at the start of the season and midway through, securing third place at the very least might have been made a touch easier.

Up next for FC Seoul will be the small matter of an AFC Champions League qualifying match on Tuesday 28th January to truly determine a place in the group stages.

Seoul's last foray into the AFC Champions League was in 2017 when, under Hwang Sunhong, the capital club lost their first three group stage games and were then left with an uphill struggle to qualify for the knockout stages even after a win over Western Sydney Wanderers in match day four.

The defeat to Shanghai SIPG in the penultimate group stage game ensured of an early exit and the 1-0 over Urawa Reds in match day six on 10th May 2017 remains as the club's last ACL match.

In 2016 Seoul made it to the semifinals before losing to eventual winners Jeonbuk Hyundai, and in 2014 after reaching the final in 2013.

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