Shanghai: Coach Sven Goran Eriksson believes his Shanghai SIPG side will bounce back from their AFC Champions League Round of 16 first leg defeat to FC Tokyo and advance to the quarter-final stage in Tuesday’s return meeting in Shanghai.
Kota Mizunuma’s double either side of Wu Lei’s goal for Shanghai last week means the J.League side has a slim advantage in China where their hosts will once again be without injured Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan.
However, Eriksson is convinced he will see a response from his players, who qualified for the Round of 16 after winning Group G in their debut at the continental competition.
“We lost our last encounter and the players were not happy about it but this is the fact,” said the Swede, whose side defeated neighbours Hangzhou Greentown 1-0 in the Chinese Super League on Saturday.
“Tomorrow we have to score, to give an entertaining match. In the meantime we have to keep focusing on not only attacking but also a good defence.
“I believe we will qualify. The two teams are quite close, but we are playing at home and we are now in a very positive spirit.”
Opponents FC Tokyo have endured peaks and troughs in recent times with a five match winless run ended at the beginning of May with their crucial 2-1 win over Vietnam’s Becamex Binh Duong that secured them their place in the Round of 16 as Group E runners-up.
Since that result, Hiroshi Jofuku’s side have gone the last four matches unbeaten in all competitions including last week’s 2-1 win over Shanghai.
“Luckily we won the first leg, so now we can qualify from a draw,” said FC Tokyo coach Jofuku, whose team drew 0-0 with Sagan Tosu in the J.League on Friday.
“But we felt how strong Shanghai is from that game. Individually and tactically, they are a very good team and we have to play away. We are fully prepared for it, though, and don't want to let down those fans who travelled here with us. I hope we can qualify tomorrow.
“Though we can make it even with a draw, it won't be easy either. All our players are ready for a tough match.”
Photo: Lagardère Sports