Coach Fabio Cannavaro will urge former winners Guangzhou Evergrande to use the motivation from last week’s first leg defeat by Korea Republic’s Seongnam FC on Wednesday as the Chinese Super League champions seek to overturn a 2-1 deficit to avoid a first-ever exit in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League.
Cannavaro’s side saw their winless streak in the AFC Champions League extended to four games last Wednesday as Seongnam captain Kim Do-heon netted a 96th minute penalty for the two-time continental champions.
But after midfielder Huang Bowen had netted a spectacular equaliser for the 2013 champions three minutes before half-time after Brazilian Jorginho had opened the scoring for Seongnam midway through the first half, Guangzhou will look to make full use of home advantage on Wednesday to secure a fourth consecutive quarter-final appearance.
“The players are angry and annoyed. They are angry because it was a tough match and we had a red card and a penalty, but I trust they will use this anger in the second match when we play at home in Guangzhou,” said Cannavaro, who also saw defender Li Xuepeng sent-off just after the hour mark.
“In Europe you see this atmosphere; every game in our stadium is amazing. The stadium is full, a lot of people with the red t-shirts, so the atmosphere will be totally different. It is important for the players as when they come to the stadium they are excited.
“We scored an away goal and that is very important and we will look to prepare and we will see who passes to the next round.”
Also on Wednesday, J.League champions Gamba Osaka will look to secure a return to the quarter-finals for the first-time since winning the AFC Champions League in 2008 after recording a 3-1 win over FC Seoul last week in Korea.
The final two places in the quarter-final draw, which will take place on June 18, will be determined in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as domestic rivals Al Ain and Al Ahli meet, while former finalists Al Ahli entertain Iran’s Naft Tehran in Jeddah.
Emirati champions Al Ain claimed a goalless draw against Al Ahli in last week’s first leg as the inaugural AFC Champions League winners edged closer to a second consecutive quarter-final appearance.
“The result is good for us, but we have to start preparing for the second leg,” said Al Ain coach Zlatko Dalic.
“The two teams were tired because the players are playing a match every three days and we are at the end of the season.
“We should improve our performance in the next match and try our best to score from the chances that we will create.
And finally, Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli must overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit at home to Naft after Gholamreza Rezaei scored the only goal in Tehran last week.
CAPTION – Huang Bowen scored the potentially crucial away goal last week as China’s Guangzhou Evergrande lost the first leg of their AFC Champions League last 16 tie with Korea Republic’s Seongnam FC 2-1, with the 2013 winners out to overturn the deficit in Wednesday’s return fixture.