This week sees the return of the Asian Champions League as we approach the halfway mark of the group stages. Korean teams had a pretty successful round 2 with only Suwon failing to take all 3 pts. With some tough matches ahead this week will we see a repeat of last round’s battling performances or will we be hiding behind the cushion come full-time on Wednesday.
Jeonbuk v Binh Duong
The first of the Korean teams to take to the field this week are Jeonbuk. They are at home against Vietnamese champions Binn Duong. On paper you would have to say that we could be in for a repeat of FC Seoul’s humbling of Hanoi in the qualifiers. Binh Duong have lost both their ACL group matches so far, a 3-2 home defeat followed by a 5-1 away defeat in Japan. Jeonbuk improved on their goalless draw at home to Kashiwa by trouncing Shandong 4-1 in China. They are on a high right now domestically having won both their K-League Classic matches so far. They do look a little suspect at the back from time to time but there’s no denying their attacking prowess, when they click they are a joy to watch. You would imagine that after the double header against Binh Duong they should be sitting pretty at the top of their group.
Prediction : Jeonbuk to continue the misery for Binh Duong – Easy home win
Guangzhou R&F v Seongnam
Next up tonight Seongnam travel to China to take on Guangzhou R&F. Seongnam surprised some with their resounding victory over Japanese champions Gamba Osaka in the last round. They played that match perfectly, pressing Gamaba high up the pitch every time they got the ball and then taking their own chances when presented. Guangzhou though, should be a sterner test for the boys from Tancheon. Easily brushed aside by Buriram in Tahiland, Seongnam will need to be a little less naive when defending tonight. If they can keep it tight at the back for the first half they could perhaps snatch something in the second. Guangzhou didn’t have the best of nights at home in the last round as they lost 2-1 to Buriram. You would imagine they will be going all out to avoid a repeat of that result.
Prediction : Seongnam’s poor away form to continue – Home win
FC Seoul v Western Sydney Wanderers
When the draw was made for this year’s ACL I think many a FC Seoul fan would have had this match written in their diary with a permanent marker. Wednesday sees the eagerly anticipated rematch between last year’s semi-finalists as Seoul welcome Western Sydney Wanderers to town. Last year for reasons known only to himself, Choi decided to send his men out to defend at home to WSW with the hope of completing the task in Australia. It was a tactic that backfired as Seoul returned home with nothing but the scars of defeat to show for their efforts. It is a huge match and one that after the first two rounds of results neither team can afford to lose. Both teams are separated in the table by a single goal with WSW ahead. If Seoul are to have any chance of maintaining their recent good form in the ACL they will need to capture all 9 pts at home and hope they can snatch a draw away from home. Neither team come into this match on good domestic form, Seoul sitting 11th having lost both matches so far with WSW mirroring that position in 9th in the A-League.
Prediction : Seoul need to win this one more than WSW – Home win
Brisbane Roar v Suwon
The early kick-off on Wednesday pairs up Brisbane Roar and Suwon Bluewings. Suwon had that great comeback victory against Urawa put a little into perspective by Brisbane’s 1-0 victory in Japan. They lost 1-0 in Beijing in the last round although that was a match they played with 10 men for the final half an hour after Yang Sang Min saw a double yellow. With Beijing looking like they will top the group it could fall to this double header to decide who is the team to join them in the later stages. Suwon were made to battle for all 3 points at home on the weekend as Incheon gave them a pretty good test. Brisbane on the other hand were involved in a 9-goal epic against Sydney FC. Both teams are more than capable of scoring goals and with both needing the 3 points to keep on the heels of Bejing this could be the highlight of the round.
Prediction : Don’t think we’ll see 9 goals but a high scoring draw could be on the cards