Chiangrai United face Melbourne Victory on Matchday Five of the 2020 AFC Champions League Group E today as both sides battle for the last shot at progression to the Round of 16.
Both teams met back in February in the group stage opener with Melbourne Victory taking all three points thanks to a penalty converted by Swedish forward Ola Toivonen. Nine months and three games later, those three points remain their only in the competition so far.
Meanwhile, interim head coach Alongkorn Thongsaum’s led debutants Chiangrai United to a historic first win in the AFC Champions League as Brazilian forward Bill scored twice to down FC Seoul 2-1 on Friday. The Thai side are without the services of Brazilian defender Brinner, Korean midfielder Lee Yong-rae and experienced centre-back Sarawut Inpaen, who are all suspended for accumulation of cards.
“It is disappointing to miss those three players,” said Thongsaum. “But the good thing is that there is a chance for other players to prove themselves at this stage. We plan game by game first, starting with this game against Melbourne Victory who are also a good team, so should we get a result tomorrow, we can then think about qualification.”
Melbourne Victory assistant coach Steve Kean was all about planning and analysis of the opposition ahead of the crucial make-or-break tie in a bid to reach the Round of 16 for the first time since 2016. “We prepared, we had a few good days on the training ground,” said Kean.
“After our last game, we stayed behind and watched the Chiangrai vs FC Seoul game. We saw a completely different side to the one that lost 5-0 a couple of days earlier. The result changes this game into what is practically a semi-final for us. We have prepared very professionally. We always give every game the same respect regardless of who the opponents are. We are doing our due diligence about their tactics and we work towards nullifying the opposition.”
Seoul plotting revenge against Beijing FC
FC Seoul could secure qualification to the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16 with a win against Beijing FC in Group E should the other group game end in a draw today.
The previous game between the two was the first after the restart, and ended with the Chinese Super League side picking up the points with a 2-1 win courtesy of goals from Alan and Fernando, while veteran striker Park Chu-young’s penalty served only as consolation for head coach Lee Won-jun’s men.
FC Seoul’s hopes of sealing early qualification received a blow when they were stunned 2-1 by debutants Chiangrai United on Friday, but the K League 1 side could still advance with a game to spare should they defeat the group leaders today as long as Chiangrai United and Melbourne Victory draw their game later in the day.
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