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Head coaches Kim and Choi raise challenge as Ulsan Hyundai face Shanghai Shenhua in AFC Champions League

Doha: Ulsan Hyundai head coach Kim Do-hoon and Shanghai Shenhua counterpart Choi Kang-hee challenged their respective sides to perform well in the 2020 AFC Champions League despite the hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the two teams' Group F clash on Saturday.

The Korea Republic side picked up a point from a 1-1 draw against FC Tokyo back in February, needing a late own goal from the opposition to secure the draw.

Shanghai Shenhua, meanwhile, have three points to their name having got off to a 2-1 winning start against Perth Glory on Wednesday.

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“I am happy we can still play the games despite COVID-19,” said Kim. “We are under pressure and feel a little bit worried, but we are very proud we could represent Korea Republic in this competition.

"We have to prepare well and work hard to give a good account of ourselves. We expect a tough game, but we will work hard to show our quality.

“Shanghai Shenhua are in a more advanced stage having played here already but we have a lot of players with overseas experience and a lot of quality in our squad too, so we are hopeful we can overcome this situation. We want to show our quality on the pitch and we will not think about losing tomorrow.”

Ulsan Hyundai are without the services of goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo who tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty, while his fellow club and country teammates Kim Tae-hwan, Jung Seung-hyun and Won Du-jae remain in precautionary isolation, having tested negative after arriving to Qatar from the Korea Republic training camp in Austria.

“Jo is trying to follow the protocols in Austria. We hope he will follow the guidelines and will be able to join us soon. The other three players are here now. They are fit to play but their health is the most important thing for us, so they are quarantined individually at the hotel.  They should have no problem playing football as long as we adhere to the guidelines.”

Compatriot Choi has already led his Shanghai Shenhua team to their first three points earlier in the week and they could potentially leapfrog FC Tokyo into first place in the group should they beat Ulsan Hyundai.

“Under a difficult situation, we achieved victory in the first game,” said the 61-year-old.

Group F - MD1: Perth Glory 1-2 Shanghai Shenhua FC

“I feel we have already adapted to the new environment in Doha and overcome jet lag. The first match is always the most difficult but since we've already won, we think we will do well in the second match. Ulsan have strong players in every position, especially foreign players like Junior [Negrao]. We still have to do our best to put in a good performance.

“The schedule is quite intensive, but we have to try our best to win each game. Our strategy is to try and rotate the players so we can play at our best in each game.”

Ulsan Hyundai FC (KOR) v Shanghai Shenhua FC (CHN)
Venue: Education City Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: 16:00 (UTC+3)

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