CSL Preview: Guizhou, Beijing battle for top-three spot
By Football News
The battle for the AFC Champions League is set to intensify as third-place Beijing Guoan visit fourth-place Guizhou Renhe on Sunday.
With qualification for the competition the reward for a top-three finish in the Chinese Super League, both sides will be keen to seize the advantage with 10 games to go.
The visitors come into the game unbeaten in their last three matches, and on a two-game winning run, but are only ahead of Guizhou on goal difference.
When the two sides met in April they fought out a 1-1 draw, while on Beijing's last visit they took all three points with a 2-0 victory.
Leaders Guangzhou Evergrande face a trip to strugglers Changchun Yatai on Friday as Marcello Lippi's side aim to extend their healthy advantage at the top.
Guangzhou, who remain unbeaten in 20 league matches, are 14 points clear and should pull further away, even if only for less than 24 hours, against a side they beat 6-1 earlier in the season.
Midfielder Elkeson will be the visitors' main threat, with the Brazilian having scored 19 goals in 20 appearances since his move from Botafogo.
Shandong Luneng are Guangzhou's nearest rivals in second place and they will be hoping to pick up three points against Liaoning Whowin on Saturday, which may at least keep some pressure on.
Radomir Antic's men have won three of the last five meetings between the two sides, including a 3-1 victory in April.
Elsewhere, three teams will be keen to move away from the bottom two with victories.
Shanghai Senxin and Tianjin Teda are both one point clear of 15th-place Changchun and will hope the leaders do them a favour, while also aiming to claim three points against Hangzhou and Shanghai SIPG respectively.
Shanghai Shenhua welcome Qingdao Jonoon hoping to pull further clear of trouble.
Bottom side Wuhan travel to fifth-place Guangzhou R&F on Sunday in search of their third league win of the season as they seek to avoid being cut adrift.
Saturday will also see a mid-table battle between Dalian Aerbin and Jiangsu Sainty. Two points separate the sides ahead of kick-off but Jiangsu have not won any of their last five matches.