It seems that mainstay of Asian Champions League soccer Beijing Guoan will be forced to watch the continental competition from the sidelines in 2016. Currently equal third with Shandong Luneng on the Chinese Super League table, the green team needs to knock off reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande and hope that Shandong has a bad day against mid table Shijiahuang.
The team from the capital has been a regular sight in the burgeoning continental tournament – hard to miss in their green strip – but the likes of Dejan Damjanovic, Darko Matic and national team regular Yu, Dabao, are resigned to the fact they’re relying on other results to qualify.
Beijing topped their group in the 2014 edition of the Asian Champions League before bowing out to Koreans Jeonbuk in the Round of 16. The club has figured in 6 of the last 8 ACL tournaments. Most Australians will be familiar with the club by association of the Griffiths brothers Joel and Ryan. Joel’s cult figure status at the club is legendary amongst fans and even earned him an endearing but not publishable nickname.
The task for Beijing themselves on the final day of the Chinese Super League is difficult enough in itself. Not only are they taking on the champions of Chinese soccer of the last four years, but Guangzhou Evergrande are themselves under threat of losing the CSL title on the last day, so there will be plenty of motivation for their opponents.
Meanwhile, Shandong takes on Shijiazhuang with the advantage of being at home. Due to head to head superiority Shandong only needs to match the result that Beijing achieves at the Workers Stadium.
The thrilling final day of action kicks off at 6pm, Saturday AEDT.