South Korean giants Seoul FC, as expected, proved too strong for Kedah as they swatted aside the visitors 4-1 in their AFC Champions League playoff at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Their task was made even easier after the sending-off of the Red Eagles’ Brazilian centreback Renan Alves.
Alves gave away a foolish spot-kick and got himself sent off in the 37th minute, putting Kedah to the sword against the South Koreans.
Seoul were the dominant side from the starting whistle and pinned down Kedah, who were clearly struggling to adapt to the chilly 6ºC temperature in the stadium.
Kedah goalkeeper Shahril Sa’ari was forced into action several times but managed to hold off Seoul’s onslaught until disaster struck eight minutes before half-time.
Alves who was already on a yellow, handled the ball during a corner kick, forcing the referee to flash the second yellow and point to the spot.
Seoul’s skipper Park Chu-young made no mistake from the spot, blasting in the opener past Shahril to take the lead.
The hosts should have doubled their lead but Shahril pulled off two brilliant saves towards the end of the first half to keep the score at a respectable 0-1 in the first half.
With nothing to lose, Kedah were more adventurous after the restart but it was Seoul who managed to find the back of the net as Park Dong-jin close-range header doubled their lead in the 49th minute.
Kedah had a dose of luck and managed to claw back into the game thanks to an own goal from Seoul midfielder Osmar Barba in the 52nd minute.
The Spaniard, however, redeemed himself 11 minutes later when he rifled in an unstoppable free-kick to the left top corner to extend Seoul’s lead.
Kedah continued to struggle in the cold with a man down and could not cope with Seoul’s fast attacking moves and Uzbekistani midfielder Ikromjon Alibaev put the cherry on the icing as he scored late into the added time to make the final score 4-1.