Evergrande focus on CSL after stalemate in Japan
Halfway through the group stages of the AFC Champions League, Lee Jang-soo knows his Guangzhou Evergrande team still have work to do if they want to reach the knockout phase in their debut season in the continental championship.
But, after a 0-0 draw with J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol at Hitachi Stadium in Kashiwa, Japan, last night, the club's South Korean coach has already shifted his focus towards domestic matters.
Guangzhou have back-to-back home games in the Chinese Super League against Guizhou Renhe and Hangzhou Greentown before welcoming Kashiwa for the return fixture in the AFC Champions League and Lee is now channelling his efforts towards maintaining his team's momentum at home. 'We play against Kashiwa against at home on April 17 and we have several Chinese Super League matches before then so we'll be concentrating on the CSL matches for now,' he said. 'After those matches, we'll think about how to approach the Kashiwa game.
'But I'm satisfied with the way the players played today. Their motivation was good and the strategy we used during the game was effective and we were building up well. Unfortunately, though, we were not able to get the win we wanted. While the final result is disappointing, I'm satisfied with how my players performed.'
Guangzhou had the better of the exchanges against the Japanese side with both Muriqui and Sun Xiang shooting over the bar in the opening 10 minutes although Kashiwa could have stolen the points nine minutes from time when substitute Ricardo Lobo was just off target as he slid onto Leandro Domingues' low cross.
Guangzhou have four points from their first three games following on from a loss to Thai Premier League champions Buriram United and an opening-day win over last year's beaten finalists Jeonbuk Motors from South Korea. Buriram lead the group with six points despite losing 2-0 to Jeonbuk last night, with Kashiwa and Guangzhou sharing second spot.