FC Seoul are through to the quarter-finals of the 2011 Asian Champions League after dominating the Round of 16 knock-out game, winning 3-0 over an uninspired Kashima Antlers.
The visitors entered the game with an unbeaten record in this season's ACL, but also with bad memories of their Korean opponents. FC Seoul in fact had prevailed over the Japanese side two years ago after a dramatic 2-2 draw in Kashima but won on penalty kicks.
Brazilian manager Oswaldo Oliveira opted to pair Carlao with Shinzo Koroki up front, while Choi Yong-Soo, who spent five seasons as a player in Japan, shuffled his cards in the middle of the park, presenting a different midfield from that seen in last Saturday's ill-fated 2-0 defeat to Daegu.
FC Seoul, who were defeated in this very stadium by Nagoya Grampus only a few weeks ago, started better, though it took them 11 minutes to test Hitoshi Sogahata with Montenegro striker Dejan Damjanovic pulling a shot from outside the box.
With the home side soon in control, Kashima wasted little time trying to build up their game, instead attempting to reach Koroki or Carlao with long vertical balls. Yet, throughout the first half, even this simple strategy never got the Japanese side close to create any danger for Seoul keeper Yong-Dae Kim.
The stalemate was broken in the 38th minute when as Damjanovic received the ball and left Alex on the spot with a quick turn, before serving a perfect pass to Seung-Hwan Bang. The expert striker's diagonal effort left Sogahata with no chance, giving the Korean side a deserved lead.
Go Yohan and again Seung-Hwan could have doubled the lead minutes later, but both saw their diving headers go wide of the Antlers goal. It was the seventh and eighth attempts for Seoul in a first half that saw none produced by Oliveira's team, who were completely overwhelmed by the home side.
The Brazilian manager withdrew his compatriot Carlao after 45 anonymous minutes and proposed Fellype Garbiel behind Koroki in the second half, de facto turning his classic 4-4-2 into a 4-2-3-1.
Chikashi Masuda finally had the first shot for his team three minutes after the restart, but it was a poor effort, metres over the bar. Compared to the first half, Antlers began to give some sign of life, but Damjanovic, Go Yohan and Seung-Hwan continued to torment Antlers' defence and soon enough the second goal for the home side was in the air.
It came in the 55th minute as Uzbek international Server Djeparov escaped on the left side and curled in a perfect cross that Damjanovic met with a nice short volley to make it 2-0.
The game then took a predictable course, with Antlers trying to half the deficit and the Korean hosts responding with quick counterattacks.
With 20 minutes left, a poor mistake by the assistant referee denied Antlers a goal when Daiki Iwamasa was called for offside in an incident which could have turned the game in the Japanese side's favour.
Yasushi Endo came on for Masuda and the Japanese side looked slightly better, managing to take over the midfield for most of the final 30 minutes, but it made little difference, as FC Seoul were in control until the end, and added a third in the dying moments of the game.
Ko Myong-Jin, who was called up to Korea's national team this week, dribbled past Sogahata and pushed the ball into the open goal, much to the delirious joy of the Korean supporters.