Kitchee will not take anything for granted against Singapore's Tampines Rovers at Mong Kok Stadium tonight despite needing only one point to win their AFC Cup group.
The group H leaders from Hong Kong have already qualified for the knockout round with 10 points from four games, including a 5-0 thrashing of Rovers in Singapore in February.
"We were lucky to have met them when they were beginning their season," said acting head coach Chu Chi-kwong, who has already led Kitchee to league glory this season. "They were apparently struggling to find their form and were missing two key players, making life much easier for us.
"But Tampines Rovers have picked up quickly and are now second in the group. They also have a great chance to make it to the next stage along with us."
Striker Miljan Mrdakovic and midfielder Imran Sahib were
suspended for the first encounter.
"We heard Mrdakovic is a quality player and his presence will give our defence a lot of trouble," said Chu.
Kitchee are enjoying one of their best seasons, lifting the league title with three rounds left, and ready to face South China in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
"We will not have any illusions despite the great run this season," said Chu. "We want to beat the visitors to finish top of the group so we can have home-ground advantage in the one-off round of 16. More importantly, we want more victories in the regional competition, so we can have more ranking points for the [Asian Champions League] qualifying play-offs next year."
South China were the first team from Hong Kong to join the ACL this season, but because of insufficient ranking points they had to start their qualifying playoff campaign with away matches.