Beijing Guoan's prospects of qualifying for the last eight of the AFC Champions League will rest squarely on the club's trip to South Korea next week after the Chinese Super League side were held to a 0-0 draw by 10-man FC Seoul at the Workers' Stadium last night.
Aleksandar Stanojevic's side were unable to break down the South Korean champions, despite Choi Hyo-jin's 60th-minute sending off for a second yellow card, having picked up his first booking of the game just eight minutes earlier.
"It was a difficult game, especially in the first half, when we were too nervous," said Stanojevic. "My players were too afraid of making any mistakes because they knew that any conceded goal could cost us too much.
"I have to say for the entire game we controlled things well, except some minor mistakes which weren't converted into goals by our opponents.
"My players felt sorry because they had chances but didn't grab them successfully. They tried their best.
"Now the first leg is over, so far in the tournament we haven't conceded any goals to Korean teams. I hope we can keep this record and even get a goal in the next game."
A foul on Freddy Kanoute resulted in Choi entering referee Andre El Haddad's little black book in the 52nd minute, and when the full-back upended Zhang Xizhe on the hour mark, the Lebanese official was quick to brandish a second yellow card.
However, despite playing for 30 minutes plus injury time with a man advantage, Beijing were unable to find a way through the well-organised FC Seoul defence, and the two teams will go at it again next Tuesday in the second leg of the tie to determine who will advance.
Victory, or even a score draw, will secure Beijing a place in the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time in their history to become only the sixth Chinese side in the past 10 years to make it into the last eight.