JINAN, China, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Shandong Luneng coach Cuca on Tuesday showed his confidence in beating Japan's Cerezo Osaka on Wednesday to survive the group stage of the AFC Champions League.
Shandong, Cerezo and Thailand's Buriram United have all gained 5 points while Pohang Steelers of South Korea topped Group E with 11 points only one round to go. Even a win over Cerezo could not guarantee a knock-out berth for the Chinese club.
"Cerezo is a team good at tactics. The match tomorrow will be hard, and we need to play really smart," said Cuca.
Luneng only reached the knockout stage for once in 2005 in their five previous experiences in AFC Champions League. They must beat Cerezo and hope Buriram get a winless result in South Korea on Wednesday.
"It will be different as they have six (Japanese) national team players, but Luneng will defend them as a unit," saic Cuca.
The last time Cerezo played an AFC match in China was in 2011 when they lost 2-0 to Luneng in the group stage.
Ladica Grujic, coach of Cerezo, said his team are well prepared for the coming match despite head coach Ranko Popovic's suspension.
"We are here for a win," said Japanese defender Tatsuya Yamashita.