Two-time runners up FC Seoul will be looking for nothing less than a victory when they take on Japanese champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Tuesday’s AFC Champions League Group F clash at Seoul World Cup Stadium.
The South Korean outfit made the perfect start to their campaign last week, with Brazilian striker Adriano scoring four times on the way to a 6-0 demolition of Thai Premier League winners Buriram United.
The K-League Classic season kicks off on Saturday, but before that Seoul must first contend with their J.League opponents.
“That was a perfect start to the season for us but it is in the past,” said FC Seoul coach Choi Yong-soo, reflecting on last week’s win over Buriram.
“I have told the players to forget about it and focus on Tuesday’s game. To win 6-0 may be good for the fans but as a coach there were many aspects, both positive and negative to consider. I want the players to maintain their focus.”
“It is not going to be easy as we know that Hiroshima are a strong team. But we are at home and are looking to show our fans what we can do for the first time this season.”
Seoul and Sanfrecce were also in the same Champions League group two years ago, and the South Koreans managed just one point from two encounters back then.
“The results were not great,” recalled the coach. “It was good experience for us but experience is just experience. We have to go out and get the result we want tomorrow and that is the focus. We will not be thinking about the result from two years ago.”
Sanfrecce coach Hajime Moriyasu, meanwhile, is lamenting the absence of striker Hisato Sato and midfielder Toshihrio Aoyama due to injury.
“It is not ideal and is a frustrating situation,” said Moriyasu. “But we got some good results last season when we rotated our squad and that should stand us in good stead for this test.”
“We are expecting a very tough game. Seoul are strong physically and we will have to be at our best to stop them.
“It is a tough game but we are looking to get a good result.”
Elsewhere in Group F on Tuesday, Buriram will try and bounce back against China’s Shandong Luneng, although the job will not be easy at Jinan Olympic Sport Centre.
In Group E action, 2006 AFC Champions League winners FC Tokyo face Vietnamese champions Becamex Binh Duong, while Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors take on China’s Jiangsu FC.
Moving on to Tuesday’s Group A encounters, two-time winners Al Ittihad will look to pick up their first win against Lokomotiv of Uzbekistan, while Al Nasr of the United Arab Emirates take on group leaders Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan of Iran.
In Group B action, Iranian side Zobahan will attempt to make it two wins from two when they face Lekhwiya of Qatar.
Uzbeki outfit Bunyodkor will also be in action against Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia.