After the key victory against Brisbane Roar (Australia) we now faced the strong South Korean team of Suwon Bluewings, a two-time winner of the AFC Champions League and the club with the highest budget in South Korea. They had won their first game at home so, although the three points at stake were not definitive, they could decide the leader of Group G.
Whilst our rival repeated the same line-up as last week, we could not do the same because Erton was sent off in Australia and both Xu Yulong and Hou Sen had suffered last-minute injuries.
It was our first home match and the Worker’s Stadium did not fail to display its usual atmosphere and warmth to support the team. Nearly 40,000 fans were ready to cheer on the players when they needed it the most, because, after Dejan headed in Batalla’s corner to put us in the lead, we had to replace Dudu, with an injured knee, and Song, who suffered a blow to the head. Our Korean rivals kept the pressure on and tried to equalise until the final whistle, but once again our strong defensive system stood firm, especially Yang Zhi, who was back in goal after his knee injury and made two spectacular saves, crowning him as the man of the match.
This hard-earned victory was very important and represents another record in Beijing Guoan’s history, as the team had never before won two consecutive games in the AFC Champions League. In fact, the joy and satisfaction were twofold because the club was celebrating its 700th match. Now it’s time to focus on our first Super League game in Chongqing against a recently promoted team which will doubtlessly want to make a big impression on its debut. But we are ready for the challenge and will fight hard to start the season with a victory.
Gregorio Manzano Bellesteros
Head Coach of Beijing Guoan Football Club