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3 Korean clubs finish atop groupsBy 로컬편집기사
Published : May 12, 2011 - 18:58
FC Seoul, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Samsung Bluewings finished with the best records in Groups F, G and H, respectively.
Jeju United, the fourth K-League club in the competition, ended in third place in Group E after Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory Wednesday.
Only the top two clubs from each of the eight groups qualify for the one-and-done round of 16 at the premier continental club competition.
Jeonbuk and Suwon secured No. 1 seeds with wins on Tuesday. FC Seoul tied Hangzhou Greentown 1-1 late Wednesday, but got the No. 1 seed after Nagoya Grampus fell to Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates 3-1 in Abu Dhabi early Thursday, Korean time.
Before their final group matches, Seoul and Nagoya had been even at 10 points, with Nagoya holding the tie-breaker in head-to-head competition. Seoul, however, finished with 11 points and Nagoya ended up with 10.
Seoul is now undefeated in four games under interim head coach Choi Yong-soo, who replaced Hwangbo Kwan late last month.
Jeonbuk, as the Group G leader, will host Tianjin Teda, the No. 2 seed from Group E, in the next round on May 24. Suwon, the No. 1 seed from Group H, will take on Nagoya, the second seed from Group F, in a home game on May 25.
Also on May 25, FC Seoul will host Kashima Antlers, which ranked second in Group H.
Choi Kang-hee, head coach of Jeonbuk, said the goal throughout the group stage had been to secure the top seed.
“It’s been difficult playing both K-League and Champions League matches, but this victory gives us a favorable schedule (with the home game),” Choi said. “We rested some exhausted players (Tuesday), and little-used guys made the most of the opportunity. Things are going as planned and injuries or fatigue won’t be an issue this year.”
Suwon coach Yoon Sung-hyo said it was “important” for his team to earn the top seed.
“Our young players exceeded expectations and I saw the potential of the team (during group stage),” Yoon said.
Suwon is looking forward to playing at home with good reasons: It has not lost in its last 25 home games at the AFC competition, with 21 wins and four draws.
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