ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Guoan eye history as first from Beijing to make AFC Champions League last eight

Beijing players face the 'most important 90 minutes' of their lives against FC Seoul as they seek to cement their place in quarter-finals

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 5:40am

One goal could be enough to ensure Beijing Guoan book their berth in the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League - and make history for the club from the capital.

Aleksandar Stanojevic's side face South Korean champions FC Seoul in the second leg of their round-of-16 clash tonight knowing a win or draw will be enough to take them into the last eight for the first time in their history.

Even a 0-0 draw - matching the result between the teams in the first leg at Workers' Stadium last week - will not end Beijing's involvement. Instead it will take the game into extra-time and, potentially, a penalty shootout, but Stanojevic is hopeful his team can complete the job in regulation time.

"This is an important 90 minutes," said the Serbian coach, who oversaw his side's 2-2 draw with Tianjin Teda in the Chinese Super League at the weekend, a result that sees Beijing sit in fourth in the standings. "We are not thinking about a draw; just one goal is needed in order to advance to the quarter-finals. But I am considering every possibility and I have seven to eight players in mind for penalties.

"We do have some injured players, but it does not matter. It is important to just focus on the 90 minutes."

Defender Zhou Ting, a frequent presence throughout the continental campaign so far, will be absent due to injury, as will midfielder Wang Xialong. Both picked up knocks in the game against Tianjin.

Beijing missed the chance to take an advantage into the second leg in the first meeting between the teams when Stanojevic's side were unable to find a way past a Seoul side, who played out the final 30 minutes with just 10 men. Stanojevic will be hoping that failure does not come back to haunt his team, who are unbeaten away from home in this year's competition.

FC Seoul have struggled domestically in 2013, sitting in ninth place in the K-League, but they are aiming to maintain a run of always reaching the quarter-finals in the AFC Champions League in the years they have qualified.

Beijing have matched their previous best performance in the competition by reaching the last 16, a feat they also achieved in 2010, and they will become only the second Chinese club in seven years to advance to the last eight if they are successful.

Guangzhou Evergrande are the only club from China to have progressed to the quarter-finals since Shanghai Shenhua in 2006.

Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou side hope to confirm their place in the latter stages tomorrow when they host Central Coast Mariners at Tianhe Stadium.

The Chinese Super League champions - who lead the domestic standings on goal difference from Shandong Luneng after a 4-1 victory over Liaoning Whowin at the weekend - advanced to the last eight in 2012. After notching a 2-1 win away from home in the first leg against the Australian side, Guangzhou go into their tie as favourites to secure a place in the draw to be held in Kuala Lumpur on June 20.

Lucas Barrios and Muriqui were on target for Guangzhou in the first leg and Barrios continued his goal-scoring form against Liaoning, finding the net twice after coming off the bench for an Evergrande side who saw several key players rested.

 
 
 

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