Preview - Round of 16: Guangzhou Evergrande FC (CHN) vs Shandong Luneng FC (CHN)
Guangzhou: For the second year in a row two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande will face their compatriots in the Round of 16 as Shandong Luneng travel to southern China for their first leg meeting on Tuesday.
Guangzhou needed a Matchday Six victory over Korea Republic’s Daegu FC to confirm their place in the knockout rounds for the seventh time in eight years after advancing as Group F runners-up. They go into the match, however, having been eliminated by Chinese opposition in each of the past two campaigns.
Making their return to the tournament for the first time since 2016, Shandong progressed from Group E with minimal fuss, winning three and drawing two of their first five games to seal a spot in the last 16 with a game to spare.
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While Guangzhou have suffered at the hands of Chinese opposition in recent times, two-time quarter-finalists Shandong have yet to record a victory in the AFC Champions League knockout rounds, having edge past Sydney FC on away goals in their previous Round of 16 appearance in 2016.
The hosts warmed up for the match with a 2-0 away win at Shanghai SIPG on Friday as they jumped to second in the Chinese Super League standings, while Shandong drew 1-1 at Chongqing Lifan and, although fourth, are now nine points adrift of Guangzhou.
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