The cities of Shanghai and Guangzhou are well placed with three and two teams, respectively, of the eight left in the tournament ahead of the quarter finals. One of them kicks off the first of the two legs in just two hours’ time.
Chinese Super League strugglers Jiangsu Suning will look to forget about their worries as they host mid-table League One side Shanghai Shenxin. These two teams met in the Cup last year and Jiangsu ran out 3-0 winners on that occasion. Both teams are in poor form this year and this is a very even matchup despite the difference in divisions. The last lower league side remaining in the competition could very well keep the dream alive.
The rest of the quarter finals are played tomorrow and Super League surprise package Tianjin Quanjian are hosting Shanghai SIPG in the early kick-off. Tianjin are in great form and have won their last four games. SIPG are also in good form with three wins and a loss from their last four. This is the Super League third placed team (Tianjin) against the second placed (SIPG) and everything is in place for a cracking game. The league match between these two – the first match between them since they both played in League One in 2012 – earlier this year ended in a 1-1 draw with Hulk missing a penalty.
The other big fixture of this round is the Canton derby between Guangzhou R&F and Guangzhou Evergrande. Evergrande are top of the Super League and Guangzhou R&F are plummeting like a stone in water and have lost three on the bounce. On paper, this should be an easy win for Evergrande but the Cup is something special. It’s almost like their league form doesn’t matter. R&F have brilliant players in Eran Zahavi and Renatinho who can change a game and they will be playing with no pressure in this match and perhaps that’s just what they need after some struggles in the league. Evergrande needs to stay on their toes if they want to win this.
The final match of the quarter finals will see Super League fifth place Shandong Luneng take on a very average Shanghai Shenhua squad. Both teams lost in the league this weekend and they both also know that winning the cup is most likely their best shot of getting a Champions League spot (the winner of the Cup gets a qualification spot for the ACL). These teams have not met in the league yet this season but looking back at last year’s results, when they played each other three times, Shanghai Shenhua are slight favourites. They won twice, including the Cup tie, while the last match ended in a draw. Neither win was comfortable as both were 1-0 wins and Shenhua were looking like a better side last year. An intriguing matchup that could easily go either way.