With just two rounds left in the group stage of the Champions League, no Chinese team is dead and out yet, although some are closer than others. Let’s have a look at what the Super League sides need to do to make it through to the next round with the first matches kicking off later today.
Tianjin Quanjian vs Kitchee
Tianjin are sitting pretty in second place, two points behind Jeonbuk from South Korea, and they play opening day opposition Kitchee. Quanjian won 3-0 in the first meeting between the two and should be favourites to win in Hong Kong too. If they do and Jeonbuk beat Kashiwa, Quanjian will be through to the round of 16 with one game to go.
Shanghai SIPG vs Kawasaki Frontale
The only Chinese team to be through to the round of 16 is Shanghai SIPG and they will look to stay undefeated as they play Kawasaki who sit bottom of the group and who need to win both their final games and have everything go their way to be even remotely close to a chance of advancing. The match for second look to be set between Ulsan Hyundai and Melbourn Victory who both sit on five points, with Ulsan leading on head-to-head. A win is crucial in that duel.
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Buriram United
Guangzhou travel to Thailand to play second in the group Buriram. Evergrande sit on eight points while Buriram and Cerezo Osaka are both on five points. So if Evergrande and Cerezo, who play Jeju United, win their matches then Evergrande will have secured their spot in the knockout stages. If Evergrande lose and Cerezo win that would set up a final round showdown to go through as Evergrande will face the Japanese side for a spot in the next round.
Shanghai Shenhua vs Kashima Antlers
While their city rivals SIPG may be through to the next round it’s a different matter entirely for Shenhua. They could still advance but would need to win both their final games, the first of which against group leaders Kashima Antlers. Even if they were to beat Kashima this round they would need help from Suwon Bluewings who would have to beat Sydney FC this week and then beat Kashima next time. So improbable but not impossible for Shenhua. It could be a great escape, or it could fizzle out into nothing. It all hinges on this match.