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FC Seoul cruise past Japanese champion at AFC Champions League

All Headlines 16:12 March 01, 2016

SEOUL, March 1 (Yonhap) -- Brazilian forward Adriano's hat trick lifted FC Seoul to a 4-1 victory over Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League at home Tuesday.

The K League Classic club enjoyed their second straight win in Group F at Asia's premier club tournament held at Seoul World Cup Stadium as Adriano delivered three goals in just 20 minutes in the second half after midfielder Kim Won-sik scored first for the host. Midfielder Sin Jin-ho, who joined FC Seoul from the Pohang Steelers this offseason, set up three goals in Seoul's victory.

Adriano now has seven goals in his first two AFC Champions League (ACL) group matches, having scored four times in the team's 6-0 victory over Buriram United of Thailand last week.

In this year's ACL, there are four clubs from South Korea's top-tier football league K League Classic. Along with Seoul, the reigning Korean Football Association (FA) Cup winner, the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Pohang Steelers have already started their Asian title race before their domestic league kickoff. The new K League Classic season opens on March 12.

South Korean champion Jeonbuk will face China's Jiangsu FC for their Group E campaign later in the day. Suwon and Pohang will have their group matches on Wednesday.

The Seoul-Hiroshima match was held on the South Korean national holiday commemorating the March 1 Independence Movement, which paved the way for Korea's independence from Japanese colonial rule that lasted from 1910-45.

Politics aside, FC Seoul had their own reason to beat the three-time J1 League champion Hiroshima, as they were seeking revenge for the 2014 ACL group stage where Hiroshima edged out Seoul with a 2-1 win and 2-2 draw in their two encounters.

Seoul, the runner-up in the 2002 and the 2013 ACL, didn't have the start they had envisioned at home, as Hiroshima scored the opening goal. In the 25th minute, Kazuhiko Chiba headed down teammate Kohei Shimizu's free kick and found the net behind Seoul goalkeeper Yoo Hyun.

But Seoul leveled the score just seven minutes later when Sin Jin-ho's corner kick ended up at Kim Won-sik, whose left-foot shot went between the legs of Hiroshima goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi.

In the second half, Adriano started to show his goal-scoring instincts.

In the 49th, the 28-year-old Brazilian tapped Sin's free kick inside the box to put Seoul in the lead, and seven minutes later he added another by redirecting Ko Kwang-min's cross into the net. The former Daejeon Citizen player then completed his hat trick in the 69th after receiving Sin's backheel pass in the box.

While Seoul boosted their attack by putting former Arsenal and AS Monaco forward Park Chu-young in the 81st, Hiroshima, which have yet to win an ACL match in South Korea, failed to capitalize on their chances to cut the deficit.

Seoul, five-time K League Classic champion, will next face Shandong Luneng at the Jinan Olympic Sports Centre in Jinan, China, on March 16.

There are 32 clubs in the ACL. The Western Asian teams are in Groups A to D, while the teams from East Asia are in Groups E to H. The top two clubs from each group advance to the knockout stage that starts in May. The two-leg final is scheduled in November.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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