|FC Seoul midfielder Han Chan-hee, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring a winning goal during the K League 1 match against Gwangju FC at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, Sunday. / Yonhap|
By Jhoo Dong-chan
FC Seoul struggled to find space against Gwangju FC, but managed to win the home game thanks to midfielder Han Chan-hee's blistering strike in the 64th minute during the K League 1 second-round match at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, Sunday.
A number of football analysts expected Seoul would enjoy an easy victory since Gwangju was only promoted from K League 2 to the upper league this year. But the top-tier team experienced difficulties in finding space in the final third of the field despite dominating in ball possession.
Especially, striker Carlos Adriano, who returned from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors to the capital's team to enhance its attacking squad this year, failed to seize a couple of opportunities during the first half.
Gwangju's Uzbekistani defender Rustam Ashurmatov guarded the home team forward Park Ju-young man-to-man as the visitors utilized a back-five defensive system.
It was quite formidable for the first 45 minutes.
Seoul head coach Choi Yong-soo subbed out Adriano as the second half started, and then Go Yo-han for Kim Han-gil in the 61st minute to diversify attacking routes.
The substitution helped movement up front and midfielder Osmar immediately enjoyed more space in the center as the energetic Go attacked Gwangju's tiring defense.
The home team's young defender Kim Ju-sung also showed off his passing skills in delivering the ball to the front in the second half.
In the 64th minute, Han grabbed the ball in front of the penalty box area and then netted it calmly behind Gwangju keeper Lee Jin-hyung to provide the home team with three points.
Seoul suffered a bitter upset in the first round against Gangwon, losing 1-3, but is now standing in sixth with its win on the day. Losing its two starting games, Gwangju are at the bottom of the 12-team league.
Seoul will face Pohang Steelers in an away game Friday while Gwangju will meet Sangju Sangmu, Saturday.
Sex doll in stands
Seoul has come under heavy fire from fans for placing sex dolls in empty seats during the match with Gwangju. The club said it was attempting to add "an element of fun" with the mannequins and was unaware that some of them were supplied by a sex doll manufacturer.
The incident gained international media attention.
The BBC reported FC Seoul displayed 30 mannequins ― 28 of them female and two of them male.
"Fans watching online noticed that some of the mannequins looked more like sex dolls ― and some were advertising X-rated websites ― leading to the club apologizing on Instagram and Facebook," the report reads.
FC Seoul immediately released an official statement expressing its "sincere remorse" after the game.