We can still make the last 16, says Yu Dabao
Beijing: Yu Dabao has insisted that Beijing FC can still make the knockout rounds of the 2019 AFC Champions League despite suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Tuesday.
The hosts went into the game in second place in the Group G standings, two points behind their opponents and three ahead of Urawa Red Diamonds with two games to play.
But Korea Republic international Kim Shin-wook’s first-half goal proved decisive as the 1-0 victory for the two-time champions sealed top spot, while Urawa’s 2-1 win over Buriram United saw the Japanese team move above Beijing on goal difference.
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Beijing, though, will travel to Saitama to face Urawa in two weeks’ time in the knowledge that a victory or a score draw would see them advance to the next phase.
“We understand that we’re in a tough situation now to qualify for the Round of 16 and we’ll be facing a difficult opponent,” said Beijing skipper Yu of the trip to Japan.
“We need to do our best, train hard and set our sights and aims on reaching the knockout stage. I still feel we have a good chance to make it.”
90+2' - CHANCE for the equaliser!— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) May 7, 2019
Yu Dabao escapes the attention of Jeonbuk defender and has an excellent chance to nick a late, late equaliser here. But his header from the corner kick is straight at the keeper! #ACL2019 #BEIvJEO pic.twitter.com/OCMtqBHoFr
Beijing have enjoyed a perfect start to the Chinese Super League season, with Saturday’s 1-0 win away at Guangzhou Evergrande making it eight wins from eight and stretching their lead to five points as they chase a first title since 2009.
But the games have been coming thick and fast, with a Chinese FA Cup victory against Heilongjiang Lava Spring in the northern city of Harbin last Wednesday preceding the win in southern Guangzhou.
Since losing to Jeonbuk in their opening AFC Champions League match in early March, the side from the Chinese capital had won 10 and drawn one of their 11 games in all competitions. But, after three matches in under a week and the lengthy travel involved, their run impressive run was finally brought to an end.
“Although we have had a tight schedule with many games against tough opponents recently, we knew about this ahead of time and we were ready to face the challenge,” added Yu.
“We’ve just had three games in less than a week across China and that has been a test of the team’s condition and fitness levels.
“But now we’ve overcome this period, and luckily in the next few days we can have a rest and hopefully we can improve our condition and get ready for the next challenges to come.”
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