Kawasaki falls to Seoul in first leg of ACL round of 16 match


Kawasaki Frontale’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League suffered a blow after being sunk by an injury-time strike in a 3-2 defeat at home to FC Seoul in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

Kawasaki twice led through goals from Yu Kobayashi and Renato, but Kim Chi-woo leveled with a blistering strike and Yun Il-lok won it in the third minute of added time to take control ahead of the next leg next week.

“The game is over now and we just have to regroup and try our best (in the second leg),” said Kobayashi. “We know we have to go and win by two goals to qualify for the next round and that is all we will be thinking about.”

It was not all bad news for Japanese clubs, however, as reigning J. League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima, powered by a double from Naoki Ishihara, beat Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 at home.

Kawasaki enjoyed several chances in the first half at Todoroki Stadium but were unable to apply the finishing touch.

Sota Nakazawa scooped over the bar from close range on seven minutes before Seoul goalkeeper Kim Yong-dae blocked Yu Kobayashi’s effort at the near post and then thwarted Renato 10 minutes before the break.

Yoshito Okubo tried his luck with a deflected effort that Kim Yong-dae punched away at the start of the second half before creating the opening goal of the match for Kobayashi.

Okubo made a sharp turn on the left wing and whipped in a superb cross for Kobayashi to head home, but the home side’s joy was short lived as Seoul leveled with a crucial away goal soon after the restart.

Yun dispossessed Nakazawa deep in Frontale’s half and fired in a pass for former Urawa Reds striker Sergio Escudero to rattle a first time shot in off the underside of the cross bar.

However, Renato put Kawasaki back in front with a twice taken spot kick after he was bundled over in the box by Cha Du-ri.

Renato had to retake the first spot kick he successfully converted because of Nakazawa encroaching in the area, but the Brazilian midfielder kept his cool to lash home his second attempt.

But Kim Chi-woo rifled in a low effort to equalize and Yun capitalized on poor defending from Jeci before keeping his cool to slot home the winner.