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.
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.
Kuala Lumpur: When Bafetimbi Gomis bagged a brace in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final against Al Sadd, not only did he make up for his earlier own goal en route to a 4-1 victory, he also moved joint top of the scoring charts.
Gomis and Leonardo – who has left Al Wahda to join Shabab Al Ahli since the Emirati side were eliminated – are tied with nine goals apiece, but with the Saudi team potentially having three more games to play, the Frenchman is the favourite to win the top scorer award come November 24.
But, while one more goal would see the Al Hilal target man take pole position, there remains a chasing pack who will have one eye on the accolade. Ahead of the semi-final second legs next week, the-AFC.com takes a closer look at the contenders.
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.
Kuala Lumpur: The first legs of the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League concluded this week with plenty of thrills and spills to savour.
Game-changers, sensational strikes and the 12th man as the 2019 semi-finals got under way in exciting style with rollercoaster matches in Qatar and Japan. Here's the post-match reaction from some of the key men involved.
ACL 2019 Allianz Goal of the Week: Mohammed Al Shalhoub (Al Hilal SFC)
Kuala Lumpur: The-AFC.com announced on Friday that Al Hilal's Mohammed Al Shalhoub is the winner of this week’s Goal of the Week presented by Allianz for the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final first legs.