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2011 AFC Group H Preview

24 February 2011 One Comment

Today we move on to Group H and the East of the AFC Asian Champions League 2011.

Group H is made up of the following teams:

  • KASHIMA ANTLERS (JPN)
  • SHANGHAI SHENHUA (CHN)
  • SUWON SAMSUNG BLUEWINGS (KOR)
  • SYDNEY FC (AUS)

KASHIMA ANTLERS (JPN)
Winners of the 209  J League, Kashima ended the 2010 season in 4th position with 16 wins, 12 draws and 6 loses. Although 4th, Kashima only missed out on 2nd by 2 points, so a very tight 2010 season in which Kashima actually performed really well. Given their past season, you can be confident that they will come into this year’s AFC Champions League keen to continue their good form as the 2011 season also kicks off. Now Group H is a very tough group but Kashima must be one of the favourites to progress.

SHANGHAI SHENHUA (CHN)
Shanhai had a very successful 2010, finishing 3rd in the Chinese Super League only 2 points behind 2nd with 14 wins, 6 draws and 10 loses. The 10 loses is actually very high compared to the other top 3 places. However the number of wins was actually second best. With no appearance in the 2010 AFC Champions League, Shanghai is another team that will be eager to get off to a good start. This is a very tough group but they have a chance to make second if they can atleast win their home games.

SUWON SAMSUNG BLUEWINGS (KOR)
Suwon did not have a great 2010 domestically finishing 7 and 20 points off first position. Therefore it will be interesting how well they go. You would normally see them as another power house and as we know domestic performance doesn’t always equal AFC performance. In last year’s Champions League Suwon was knocked out in the first round of playoffs by eventual winner and fellow Korean outfit Seongnam. If Suwon isn’t the power house you would expect, then both Sydney and Shanghai have a great opportunity to progress.

SYDNEY FC (AUS)
After a fantastic 2009 season where Sydney was the standout team in the A League, 2010 has been a much different story with Sydney not making the playoffs. They did however have a late run which saw them just miss out. This is their 2nd appearance in the AFC Champions League and where the first Australian team to participate some 4 – 5 years ago. They have recruited for this competition and with a poor 2010 showing locally they will be keen to do much better internationally. They have a chance, but it is slim as this is a very tough group.

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