Beijing Guoan look set to tackle Suwon Bluewings with an undermanned side after a number of key players were struck down with injury following last week’s win over Brisbane Roar, with doubts lingering over their ability to recover in time.
Goalkeeper Hou Sen, defenders Xu Yunlong and Lei Tenglong and midfielder Ha Dae-sung are all in doubt, while Swedish striker Erton Fejzzullahu will miss after earning a straight red card last week for a nasty stomp on Brisbane midfielder Adam Sarota.
It leaves coach Gregorio Manzano with a few headaches as they look to face a Suwon side full of confidence after their come-from-behind win over Urawa Reds last week.
“We have some injuries after the last round,” the Spaniard said. “Ha Dae-sung, Xu Yunlong and Lei Tenglong are all having difficulties. I can’t say if they will play, I have to see how they are doing in the last training session.
“But I can tell you that Yang Zhi is recovering very well. Now he is fit to play, but I can’t guarantee anything until the last training session.”
With both Beijing and Suwon registering first up wins last week, the match is an important one to determine who will make the early running in Group G.
Suwon will be familiar with two of their key players, Dejan Damjanovic and Ha Dae-sung, from their time with FC Seoul. While Ha is in doubt, Damjanovic looms as a danger man and a player the Suwon defence will need to mark closely.
“Both Dejan and Ha Dae-sung are outstanding players,” coach Seo Jung-won said. “It is in our advantage that Ha Dae-sung and Erton Fejzullahu are absent tomorrow, but Beijing has good substitutes, so we can’t underestimate them.
“We’ve researched their match videos and found out that their right side attacking is efficient. Beijing’s football style is similar to German football, and they’re physically strong too.”
Seo declared he would field his strongest eleven as the K League Classic doesn’t kick off until this weekend, however will be forced to juggle his squad when both competitions are up and running.
“We will use our strongest line-up. Later when the K League kicks off we will start using players in turn,” the former national team attacker said.