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AFC Champions League Preview: Guangzhou host Jeonbuk, Al Jazira travel to Esteghlal

AFC Champions League holders Guangzhou Evergrande welcome Jeonbuk Motors on Tuesday as both sides look to take charge of Group G.

Guangzhou and Jeonbuk both have four points each after picking up a win and a draw from the opening two games.

Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou side started their title defence in style by defeating Melbourne Victory 4-2 in their opener, before drawing 1-1 at J.League title-hopefuls Yokohama F. Marinos, with Italy international Alessandro Diamanti netting for the visitors.

The former Bologna man is the competition’s top-scorer with three goals, while Brazilian duo Muriqui and Elkeson provide able support.

Jeonbuk go into the match on the back of a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Yokohama and a 2-2 draw in Melbourne and are enjoying an unblemished start in the K-League, winning their opening two fixtures without conceding a single goal.

With Jeonbuk and Guangzhou on four points leading up to their clash, a win for either side will see them take up a commanding position in the group ahead of the second round of group-stage meetings.

Group G’s other tie sees Victory and Yokohama go head-to-head as both side look to pick up their first wins of the campaign.

Al Jazira – one of only two sides to win their first two group matches – travel to Esteghlal as top meets bottom in Group A, while Al Shabab hosting Al Rayyan in the group’s other game.

The other side with a 100 per cent record so far are Ulsan and they welcome Guizhou Renhe to South Korea next, with the away side losing each of their opening two clashes in Group H and Western Sydney Wanderers face Kawasaki Frontale in a battle for second.

El Jaish will be looking to build upon a respectable four-point start when they travel to Al Fateh, while Uzbek champions Bunyodkor will be hoping to kick-start their campaign at home to Foolad.

Lekhwiya have endured a difficult Champions League start after picking up just one point and Al Ittihad are their next opponents, with Al Ain and Tractor Sazi contesting elsewhere in Group C.

Group F sees Japanese giants Sanfrecce Hiroshima host Seoul, while the Central Coast Mariners face a tricky trip to Beijing where Guoan await them.

It is first versus second in Group E as Vagner Love and Shandong Luneng head to Pohang Steelers on Tuesday, with both on four points, while Buriram United and Cerezo Osaka bid to improve their respective one-point hauls.

In Group D, Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal go to Al Sadd and Sepahan entertain Al Ahli, with the two away sides yet to taste victory.

Sun 16 March, 2014
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