We have achieved our first objective of the season. When the team gathered in Mallorca on January 11th to start our preseason training, we marked February 17th in red in the calendar. That was the day we would play the qualifying match for the Asian Champions League. The day finally came: we faced the Thai team Bangkok Glass –which, interestingly, also has a Spanish coach- and won by 3-0.
Although it was not our most brilliant match, we were superior and deserved the win. At some stages of the game it became clear that we are just starting the season. We have had 60 tough training sessions where the goal has been to get the players as fit as possible to face the challenging year we have ahead of us.
Our next match will be more demanding, as we travel to Australia to face Brisbane Roar in the first game of the group phase of the Asian Champions League. In addition to a long journey, we will also have to face a considerable temperature difference compared to Beijing. We will leave for Australia on the 20th to give us time to acclimatise so we can fight for a win that allows us to dream with our next objective: making it through to the knockout phase.
But before that we will be living a new experience, celebrating the Chinese New Year and enjoying the customs and traditions of this wonderful country.
Gregorio Manzano Ballesteros
Head Coach of Beijing Guoan Football Club