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Beijing FC show intent in AFC Champions League win over FC Seoul

Doha: Beijing FC made a seamless resumption to their 2020 AFC Champions League campaign, picking up from where they left off nine months ago with a 2-1 win over Korea Republic’s FC Seoul at Education City Stadium on Saturday.

Goals from Fernando and A Lan paved the way for Beijing’s victory, before Seoul captain Park Chu-young pulled a goal back from the penalty spot with 25 minutes remaining.

The result, coupled with Beijing’s 1-0 victory over Chiangrai United back in February, puts Bruno Génésio’s side three points clear of Seoul on top of Group E, in which all four teams have now played twice.

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Seoul came into the match eager to turn around their form which had produced just one win in their last seven matches but, even in a change of scenery which brought them to Education City Stadium’s billiard table-like surface, they found themselves behind the eight-ball.

In fact, it took just eight minutes for Beijing to go ahead, when a dawdling Seoul needlessly coughed up possession in their defensive third and Brazilian midfielder Fernando duly made them pay, finding the back of the net with the aid of a deflection after being patiently by Zhang Yuning.

Beijing’s early confidence boost set the tone for much of the first half, with the Chinese outfit moving the ball around with aplomb, and Seoul chasing shadows as their opponents hoarded more than 70 per cent of first half possession.

At times Beijing threatened to double their lead – A Lan took advantage of a quickly taken free-kick to force Yang Han-been into a smart low save – while Seoul were limited to a handful of half chances, most of which fell to Han Chan-hee.

The busy Han fired the first shot after the interval, too, and it took a terrific stop from Beijing goalkeeper Hou Sen to deny the 23-year-old, who had turned on a sixpence to control Ko Kwang-min’s pass in the 49th minute.

But just as Seoul looked to be mounting a revival, Beijing’s quality shone through once more in the 60th minute, when A Lan, formerly known as Alan Carvalho, curled in a classy second goal of the match from the edge of the penalty area.

At 2-0, there appeared little chance of a Seoul comeback, but the deficit was halved just five minutes later, when Park Chu-yong eased home his second of the tournament from the penalty spot after Beijing’s Korean defender Kim Min-jae was adjudged to have handled the ball just inside the area.

Emboldened by some reward for their improved second half effort, Seoul applied pressure in their hunt for a late equaliser resumed, but their much desired didn’t materialise, putting Beijing on course for the knockout stage.

Up next for Beijing are Melbourne Victory on Tuesday while Seoul will look to get their campaign back on track against Chiangrai United on the same day.

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