Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC will take on FC Internazionale Milano in the semi-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 after a convincing 4-1 win over Al-Wahda Sports Club at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium. Mauricio Molina, Sasa Ognenovski, Choi-Sun Kuk and Cho Dong-Geon were all on target as the South Koreans outclassed their Asian rivals, with Fernando Baiano’s solitary strike of little consolation to the local favourites.
Matches at this level can often fall flat but this one lived up to its billing almost from the first minute, with Seongnam producing some sparkling early football to put their hosts firmly on the back foot. Indeed, the South Koreans very nearly took the lead with little over 60 seconds on the clock, when Dzenan Radoncic - showing pace and power - burst into the penalty box and forced an outstanding save from Adel Al Hosani with a powerful left-foot drive.
It had been a nervy opening from Al Wahda, and it was to take a calamitous twist just two minutes later when a mix-up between Hamdan Al Kamali and goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani resulted in a comical opening goal for Seongnam. With Al Hosani advancing to collect the ball, his defender panicked and swiped a botched clearance to the feet of Mauricio Molina. With the keeper stranded, the Colombian midfielder gleefully accepted the gift, sending a left-foot shot spinning into the unguarded net from 20 yards.
With Al Wahda coming under sustained pressure, it was an error they could ill afford, although Al Kamali did succeed in partially atoning for it when he produced a magnificent last-ditch saving tackle to deny Radoncic just as the Montenegrin was preparing to pull the trigger. The Abu Dhabi outfit were fortunate not to be further behind at this stage, but they steadied as the half wore on and, after some encouraging forays forward, drew level on 27 minutes.
Fernando Baiano, a goalscorer in the 3-0 win over Hekari United, was again responsible, meeting Eisa Ahmed’s inviting right-foot cross with a textbook downward header that flashed beyond Jung Sung-Ryong at his left-hand post. It was a terrific goal, but the teams’ respective tallies remained level for all of three minutes, when Seongnam again gained the upper hand.
Molina was again involved, delivering a pinpoint corner that was perfectly judged for AFC Player of the Year and Seongnam captain Sasa Ognenovski to tower above the Al Wahda defence and head home from the edge of the six-yard box. Seongnam continued to look marginally the more likely to score in the second half, and nine minutes after the restart Dzenan Radoncic spurned a glorious chance to double the Koreans’ lead when he shot against the legs of Al Hosani after being slipped clean through.
Al Wahda had their chances too, notably when Magrao slid the ball just wide after 65 minutes after Ognenovski failed to properly clear a long throw-in from Mahmoud Al Hammadi. However, Seongnam made sure of their place in the last four with 19 minutes remaining with a beautifully crafted third goal, smashed into the top corner by unmarked Choi Sung-Kuk after Cho Dong-Geon had drawn the hosts’ defence away. And there was still time for Cho himself to add a fourth, stooping to head another inch-perfect Molina delivery beyond the helpless Al Hosani.