Guo'an sets sights higher in AFC Champions League

09:13, April 30, 2010      

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Beijing Guo'an's Brazilian player, Valdo (10), celebrates with teammates after scoring the second goal during his team's 2-0 win over Japan's Kawasaki Frontale during their AFC Champions League match on Wednesday. Yang Shizhong / China Daily

Beijing Guo'an, the only Chinese team to advance to the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League (ACL), is keen to go deeper into the region's top-flight club competition.

With a 2-0 victory over Japan's Kawasaki Frontale in their final group match on Wednesday, Guo'an finished second in Group E and became the first Chinese club to qualify for the last 16 since 2008.

The Chinese Super League (CSL) champions are the country's last hope in this year's event as the other three clubs from the CSL had been eliminated before the match started in the Beijing Worker's Stadium.

"This is not only about Guo'an or the honor of Beijing, it's more about the honor of Chinese soccer. You can see all the players were very nervous at the beginning but I'm so proud that we made it." Beijing's head coach, Hong Yuanshuo, said.

"We were champions of last year's CSL and that title gave us more responsibility. To make it to the knockout round has earned some pride for Chinese soccer and we now have less pressure," the 62-year-old coach said.

Hong said the club would apply for the rescheduling of its CSL match against Shandong on May 8 to allow full preparations for an encounter with South Korea's Suwon Bluewings on May 11 in the quarterfinals of the ACL East Conference.

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