East Asia Domestic Wrap: SIPG top Beijing FC; J.League title race heats up
Kuala Lumpur: Shanghai SIPG secured a big win away at their Chinese Super League title rivals, while Yokohama F. Marinos made up ground on the top two as the hunt for the Japanese championship became a three-way race.
Following the international break, the domestic action in East Asia returned with a bang as the leagues in Japan, Korea Republic and China PR enter the business end of season, while the Hong Kong and Mongolia Premier Leagues also saw some intriguing ties.
Guangzhou: Urawa Red Diamonds defender Tomoaki Makino admitted the pressure is on the Saitama side to see out Wednesday's semi-final second leg against Guangzhou Evergrande and ensure a third consecutive Japanese team reaches the AFC Champions League final.
In 2007, Urawa made history as the first J.League club to be crowned Continental kings since Asia's premier club tournament underwent a revamp in 2002-03 to become the AFC Champions League.
A decade later, Urawa repeated their efforts to join Wednesday's opponents Guangzhou, Korea Republic's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia as the only two-time winners of the AFC Champions League.
We have no other option but to attack, says Huang Bowen
Guangzhou: Midfielder Huang Bowen has insisted that Guangzhou Evergrande will throw caution to the wind on Wednesday in their bid to overturn the 2-0 deficit they face in the semi-final second leg against Urawa Red Diamonds.
Seven times Guangzhou have faced J.League opponents in the AFC Champions League knockout stage, and seven times it has been the southern Chinese side that has emerged victorious.
But at Tianhe Stadium on Wednesday, they face arguably their biggest test yet as they are up against an Urawa side that bring with them a 2-0 lead from the first leg.
A veteran of 12 AFC Champions League tournaments so far, and a winner in 2013 and 2015, Huang Bowen knows full well the challenge his side face.
ACL semi-finalists rise to the fore in international break
Kuala Lumpur: Matchdays Three and Four of the Asian Qualifiers took place over the last week with several of the stars from the four 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finalists turning out for their respective countries.
China PR's Guangzhou Evergrande, Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan, Qatari club Al Sadd and Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal will resume their quest to become Asia's kings next week when the AFC Champions League recommences with the second legs of the semi-finals.
Before then, the-AFC.com looks at how their international stars got on for their nations in the most recent rounds of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Elkeson can be difference-maker at Tianhe, says Paulinho
Guangzhou: Star midfielder Paulinho believes naturalised China PR forward Elkeson may be the man who can re-ignite Guangzhou Evergrande's 2019 AFC Champions League final hopes ahead of Wednesday's semi-final second leg against Urawa Red Diamonds.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Japan after goals from Fabricio and Takahiro Sekine, two-time Continental champions Guangzhou are up against it when they host Urawa at Tianhe Stadium in the return meeting of their final four tie.
However, the southern Chinese heavyweights have not yet lost hope. A 21-match unbeaten record in the AFC Champions League on home soil is an excellent foundation for faith and a stacked attacking line-up including some of China and Brazil's top talent is capable of finding the goals needed.
Tokyo 2020 Women's Tournament final qualifying round groups drawn
Kuala Lumpur: The journey to identify the two teams who will join Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Women’s Football Tournament has begun, following the official draw for Round 3 of the Asian Qualifiers at the AFC House on Friday.
Group A will have DPR Korea, hosts Korea Republic, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Group B pitted Australia, hosts China PR, Thailand and Chinese Taipei.
Englishman Bell appointed Korea Republic women's head coach
Seoul: The search for a new Korea Republic women’s national team head coach is over, after Englishman Colin Bell’s appointment was finalised on Friday.
Bell, 58, is Korea Republic’s first foreign women’s national team coach after signing a three-year deal, which lasts until the conclusion of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
The appointment ends the search for a full-time successor to former coach Yoon Duk-yeo - who took the side to the past two FIFA Women’s World Cups – after former player Hwang In-sun served as interim boss during this month’s tour of the United States, which included a creditable 1-1 draw against the world champions.