Preview: Beijing Guoan v Brisbane Roar FC

Last time Beijing Guoan tasted competitive defeat was August 2014. That’s 21 games. Not very encouraging for a Brisbane team needing victory to keep their ACL group hopes alive on Tuesday night in the Chinese capital.

However, last Friday night, Beijing was in serious danger, two goals down at home to the struggling Guizhou Renhe.

It looked as if it wasn’t going to happen at all when the usually reliable Dejan Damjanovic missed a 56thminute penalty.

Yet shortly after, Yu Dabao pulled a goal back and seven minutes from time Argentinian star Pablo Batella equalised. The hosts pushed for the winner that never quite came.

Still, Yu, one of China’s top attacking players with more than his fair share of creativity is starting to find his form and that spells danger for the visitors.

It was still a disappointing result but Beijing did rest Damjanovic, bringing him on in the second half and were without the suspended Chen Zhizhao, the man Brisbane fans will remember well for his injury time free-kick that gave the Chinese Super League team a 1-0 win on the Gold Coast.

Both should start when the Hyundai A-League team come to town (though Spanish coach Gregorio Manzano has been indulging in a rotation policy of late).

Defender Lang Zheng is suspended however and while classy defensive midfielder Dario Matic picked up a slight knock, the Bosnian should be good to go.

Shao Jiayi could too. The experienced midfielder doesn’t play too often these days but made a real difference in the second half on Friday.

If there is any good news for the Australians, it is this: Beijing has still not quite reached the same levels of fluency this season as they had in the latter stages of 2014 when it pushed Guangzhou Evergrande all the way in the title race.

There may have been no defeats of late but four of the last five have been drawn. For Beijing, a point would secure a place in the last 16. Manzano has told Chinese media that his team will go for the win but then coaches always say that.

The hosts may be happy however to let Brisbane make most of the running.

The fans may not. There should be a big crowd at the Beijing Workers’ Stadium and they expect nothing less than a win to see their team progress to the last 16 in style.

As for Brisbane, after two losses on the trot to Hyundai A-League Premier’s Plate winners in waiting Melbourne Victory, they arrive in Beijing low on confidence though excited in the knowledge that they have qualified for Finals Series football in Australia.

Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory match report and highlights

Roar, in third spot in the group, will need to win in Beijing and have Suwon lose to the bottom placed Japanese outfit Red Diamonds for their Group G chances to dramatically change. 

If so, they’d be equal with second-placed Suwon on seven points. 

Should that scenario play out, Roar then faces the J-League side at home with Suwon hosting Beijing in their respective final match-days in the group. 

Sounds a tough ask but in football, you just never know.