Beijing Guoan face high-pressure test in AFC Champions League
Beijing Guoan's chances of reaching the knockout phase of the AFC Champions League will reach a pivotal point at Workers' Stadium this evening.
Aleksandar Stanojevic's side take on Pohang Steelers knowing they need to avoid defeat to have any chance of advancing to the last 16 of the continental club championship.
The former Chinese Super League champions, who last progressed beyond the group stage in 2010, cannot afford to slip up against the three-time champions as defeat will end their campaign one week before the completion of the group phase. But despite the pressure on his team to make up for their 1-0 loss against Bunyodkor in the previous round, Serbian coach Stanojevic will send his players out in as relaxed a frame of mind as possible for the group G encounter.
"Everyone is aware of the importance of this match," said the former Dalian Aerbin coach.
"We have to win to qualify. Only a win can let us control our own fate. Now Wang Xiaolong and Joffre Guerron have some minor injuries.
"We have to see how they are doing in the evening training to decide who is going to play.
"I have told my players to put the result aside and relax. If we win, we can qualify. If we don't win, it means we are not there yet. I told them it was not the end of the world if we don't qualify."
Beijing started the season well and the loss against Bunyodkor was the club's first of the year, but back-to-back draws in the CSL has added to the pressure on Stanojevic and his team.
"We have responsibilities to put on a good game for our fans," he said. "We didn't get a win during the past three home games and we are obliged to get one tomorrow."
Guizhou Renhe, meanwhile, take on Kashiwa Reysol in group H knowing whatever happens against the J.League side they will retain the opportunity to progress after picking up a late win over Central Coast Mariners in their previous fixture.