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#SuperMatch | "The fans help so much": FC Seoul's Osmar Ibáñez

Heading into the first Super Match of the 2022 Hana 1Q K League 1 season, FC Seoul star Osmar Ibáñez lauds the importance of the team's fans and hopes they can inspire the players to victory. Sunday's game between FC Seoul and Suwon Samsung Bluewings is set to have the largest Super Match crowd since 2019 due to pandemic-forced restrictions.

FC Seoul host Suwon Samsung Bluewings this Sunday at 7PM looking to find a first win since the opening day eight matches ago. The Bluewings, too, are in the midst of a sticky patch of form having failed to win in each of their last six outings.

Both teams, then, will be looking to the stands for inspiration. Without fans amid the pandemic, FC Seoul legend Osmar Ibáñez admits that Super Matches just didn't feel the same as they used to:

"We kind of lost this feeling of the derby match in the Super Match. I played my first four years every Super Match was a little bit special and you could feel that the players really wanted to win this game. But then when the fans couldn't come it was a different feeling. The fans help so much. They give meaning to every game, to every match. They give meaning to a victory or a loss. So they're really, really important."

The Super Match is perhaps the first fixture that fans look for when the schedule is released before the season begins. But Osmar says that it is important to approach the game in the same way as any other in K League: 

"We are trying to do bigger things than playing just one or two Super Matches. We're trying to build a team, we're trying to change things that would require time and if we looked up only at the Super Matches we would be missing a lot of other things, especially in this league there is no easy game. 

"It doesn't matter if you play the first or the last on the table there is no easy game, you always have to go, do it - secure the game and fight and bring the points. So, for me, this is just one more game because of the situation that we are [in], we are growing. We don't mind whether we play Suwon or Pohang or Jeju will have to face all the teams all the games the same way."

FNR

Up until 2020, FC Seoul went five years undefeated in the league against Suwon until a 3-1 Bluewings win at Big Bird that year ended the run. Despite Seoul's strong record in the Super Match, Osmar says he isn't looking back at past glories, only forwards: 

"I think here I'm a little bit different of how Korean staff or Korean football people, players or coaches and staff, because I don't really like to [look at] what we did in the past. I don't really like living with the history behind. If we lost six games, we are going to try to win the seventh; if we win already the last six, we are going to still trying to win the seventh. So this is something that I don't like, or I don't share this point of view, but I know it is really important here. I hear a lot like, 'Oh, you're playing this team, and you haven't won in four years,' or 'You're playing this team and you won the last 10 matches.' For me, it has not much of a meaning. Obviously, it hurts more when you haven't won in 10 games, for example. But it doesn't have much impact on how I'm going to face the next game. But again for me, doesn't matter if we have lost or have won in the past years. I'm going for the next like this is my first game."

This will be Osmar's 24th Super Match. From the previous 23, Osmar has a record of 13 wins, seven draws and just three losses. The 33-year-old has scored just two against Suwon, both came in the same match - the 4-2 home win in June 2019. Osmar picked his particular Super Match aas being the most memorable for him:

"That was really fun and I remember Dejan was in Suwon, which was already awkward. And then when the game started, it was quite intense. And there were few chances for both sides and all of a sudden, scored the free-kick and another ball comes to me and I could score again. I was like, 'well, this never happened before!' But yeah, that one that was definitely felt like a big game."

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