Jiangsu Suning will be without new signing Ramires when they face FC Tokyo for the first time in the AFC Champions League in a Group E encounter on Tuesday.
Ramires was shown a red card during his side’s 3-2 win over Jeonbuk Hyndai Motors on March 1 and Jiangsu coach Dan Petrescu admitted that his side will have to adapt if they are to cope without one of their biggest assets.
“Ramires is a very important player for us, but this is football and you need to find another player who can play in his position and fight with all he has for his team,” Petrescu told the official AFC website. “It won’t be easy, but hopefully we’ll not miss him tomorrow.”
Both sides won their most recent AFC Champions League fixtures, with Jiangsu beating Jeonbuk Hyndai Motors 3-2 and FC Tokyo defeating Becamex Binh Duong 3-1.
#ACL2016 Group E
— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) 1 March 2016
However, Jiangsu will feel they have the upper hand heading into the match on Tuesday as they have yet to be defeated in the AFC Champions League, while FC Tokyo lost 2-1 to Jeonbuk in their opening match.
As a result, Petrescu has asserted that he expects his side to emerge victorious even though he admitted that beating FC Tokyo will be no easy feat.
“The key tomorrow is that everybody defends and attacks; if you only play counterattack all game then you will not win,” he said. “In attack, we always create chances, but we must be better in defence and defend well as a team. It will be a very difficult match, but hopefully we’ll get a positive result.
“FC Tokyo are a very well organised team and know what to do all over the pitch, so I’m sure small details will decide the match.”
Jiangsu currently sit atop the Chinese Super League standings after they beat Yanbian Fude 2-1 on Friday. On the same day, FC Tokyo triumphed over Vissel Kobe 1-0 and currently sit in fourth place on the J1 League standings.
Even though Jiangsu having the better record, FC Tokyo coach Hiroshi Jofuku believes that his side can get the job done if they defend well and keep Jiangsu quiet.
“We kept a clean sheet and defended well at the weekend,” he told the official AFC website. “Of course, we want to develop our scoring ability, but I would rather set a solid foundation first.
“We will play compact so as not to give our opponents space, and we will fight for the three points.”
FC Tokyo will need to be wary of Alex Teixeira as he looked to be in superb form during Jiangsu’s 3-2 win over Jeonbuk.
Jofuku admitted that he initially thought it would take time for Jiangsu’s new signings to get accustomed to playing in Asia, but with that not being the case, he acknowledged that they pose a serious threat.
“When Jiangsu signed many famous players I thought they might have difficulties as a team at the start of the season,” he said. “However, they beat Jeonbuk 3-2 and then Shandong Luneng 3-0 in their opening match of their domestic league which indicates their local and foreign players have united well.”
Jiangsu meanwhile will need to keep their eyes on FC Tokyo forward Abe Takuma as he found the back of the net in his side’s loss to Jeonbuk.
Jiangsu are currently at the summit of the Group E standings with four points, while FC Tokyo are in third place with three points.
Jiangsu and FC Tokyo will face each other at Tokyo Stadium at 18:20 HKT on FOX SPORTS.