The Asian Champions League is back tonight and while the set of Tuesday matches saw nine goals scored, this time around things are sure to be tamer.
Jeonbuk Hyundai vs. Guangzhou Evergrande
18:00 (China time)
These two sides know each other well, having met in the Asian Champions League last year. Further ties exist because likely starter Huang Bowen joined Evergrande from Jeonbuk. Evergrande shocked Jeonbuk on matchday one last season with a 5-1 spanking, though on the return match in Guangzhou, Jeonbuk regained a bit of pride, defeating Evergrande 3-1.
This year, having only managed a tie away in the opening round, Jeonbuk will be looking to take all three points at home, though Evergrande are a tough opponent. Further, Jeonbuk looked in good form over the weekend, managing a victory over Ulsan, while it will be interesting to see what tactics Evergrande manager Marcello Lippi chooses in this one. A draw seems a very likely result.
Jiangsu Sainty vs. Vegalta Sendai
19:40 (China time)
In their ACL debut, Jiangsu was crushed by FC Seoul, but this one is sure to be different as emotions are sure to be running high. Despite speculation to the contrary, the match will be played in Nanjing, where fans, already excited about seeing their first ACL match, will be all the more pumped up to be facing a Japanese opponent. It’s too bad that politics come into football, but it’s unavoidable, and with tensions running high in Sino-Japanese relations, playing a match in a city where Japanese troops committed unspeakable atrocities is sure to get Chinese blood boiling.
On to matters of football, though, Hamdi Salihi has all but made Jiangsu fans forget that golden boot winner Cristian Dalanache is out injured. The Seoul drubbing served as a wakeup call as the team followed it up with two domestic wins. Their opponents, on the other hand, have been struggling domestically. This is a match where emotion may be enough to carry Jiangsu to their first ACL point(s).
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