Jiangsu Suning and FC Tokyo played to a dull draw in AFC Champions League on a cold night in Tokyo.
AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP E
FC Tokyo 0
Jiangsu Suning 0
A tight group saw the match begin with Jiangsu only one point above both Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and FC Tokyo. Jiangsu started off their Asian adventure with a draw in Vietnam against Becamex Binh Duong and a home win against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. FC Tokyo were beaten in Korea by Jeonbuk, but managed to win at home against Becamex Binh Duong after coming back from 0-1 down.
Jiangsu would be without former Chelsea midfielder Ramires. The Brazilian was sent off with a second yellow against Jeonbuk and serves a match ban. Before the match Jiangsu manager Dan Pretrescu played down his side’s chances as he stated FC Tokyo were well organised and a win would not be easy.
The first chance of the match went to Jiangsu though in the 26th minute as the ball fell to former Manchester City striker Jo who could only scuff his shot wide. Being in the box only a few yards out some could wonder how he missed such an easy opportunity.
Tokyo’s best chance of the first half came in the 42nd minute when Australian striker Nathan Burns managed to get a shot on goal. Unfortunately for the home fans the shot was straight at Jiangsu keeper Zhang Sipeng who collected the effort easily.
The second half was slightly livelier as Jiangsu managed to put in more of an attacking effort.
In the 50th minute Alex Teixeira was in on goal, but was wrongly ruled offside. The replays showed a Tokyo midfielder played the ball back.
Later in the 69th minute Teixeira was able to score, but a foul had already been called as Yang Jiawei’s overhead bicycle kick effort had connected with the chest of Tokyo’s Ryoya Ogawa.
The home side showed some fight though as Tokyo’s Naotake Hanyu played winger Kota Mizunuma into the box, but the 26 year old’s poke was weak and Zhang Sipeng had little to do except scoop the ball up.
A goal seemed destined in the 85th minute as Tokyo’s Naotake Hanyu again showed his creative side with a great cross into the box. The match ended all square though as substitute Hiroki Kawano headed inches wide.
Overall the match was quite uninspired with both sides only in the last twenty minutes trying to grab a win. Jiangsu will have to come up with a plan b for the future that does not involve Ramires as his creative and work rate were sorely missed in this match. Without him the side seemed lost and there was little happening in the central midfield for Jiangsu.
Jiangsu now sit second in group E with four points. Jeonbuk now sit first with six points after their 2-0 win against Becamex Bing Duong.
The next AFC champions league Group E match for both sides will be a reverse fixture with Jiangsu hosting FC Tokyo.