Tashkent: Bunyodkor and Beijing Guoan remained unbeaten in the AFC Champions League this season after the pair played out a goalless draw in Group G on Tuesday.
Chinese Super League side Beijing enjoyed the better of the chances at Bunyodkor Stadium, with Aleksandar Stanojevic’s side set to entertain 2012 semi-finalists Bunyodkor next week in the return fixture.
But after both sides were forced to settle for a second draw of the campaign and with Pohang Steelers beating Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 in Japan, the pair were joined at the top of the table by the 2009 winners with the J.League champions five points adrift at the foot of the table.
“I am satisfied with my team and I think we deserved a draw,” said Beijing coach Stanojevic.
“We tried to control the ball rather than attack as the players need to conserve energy for the upcoming games.
“The second match with Bunyodkor will be difficult as they have a lot of experience in the competition, but we will be playing at home. We also hope Frederic Kanoute will be available as he did not play in this game and he is an important part of our team.”
Current Uzbek League pacesetters Bunyodkor enjoyed considerable possession in the first half, but Beijing came closest to a breakthrough six minutes before half-time with the home side indebted to goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov as the Uzbekistan international produced a superb one-handed save to deny Mao Jianqing.
But despite his first- half heroics, Nesterov nearly handed Beijing all three points midway through the second half as the Bunyodkor captain was beaten to a through ball by Joffre Guerron only for the Ecuadorian to miss the target from a tight angle with the goal as his mercy.
“We tried to score a fast goal in the first half, but Beijing showed that they are a good team. We made some mistakes, although I can’t say we played badly and the players tried until the last minute,” said Bunyodkor coach Mirdjalal Kasimov.
“We will try and collect more points in the upcoming matches and we will try and quality for the next round.”