Cerezo Osaka coach Levir Culpi has promised his side will not ease up when they face Shandong Luneng tonight, despite needing just a point to reach the last 16 of the AFC Champions League.
Cerezo lead Shandong by two points ahead of their final Group G game at Nagai Stadium in the battle for the second qualifying spot. "Tomorrow's (Tuesday) game is probably the most important game for Cerezo so far this season," said Culpi.
"We can move on to the next stage with a win or a draw, and that is an advantage to us but we have our policy of playing to win all the time. The important thing is scoring the opener. We focus on that first and then move on to seeking additional goals and to playing the way we want to.
Shandong Luneng's caretaker coach Rajko Magic promised an equally full-blooded approach despite being without suspended defender Wang Qiang. "It's going to be a very tough match tomorrow," he said.
"I want to see every one of our players attack hard and defend hard. They should do whatever they've got to do until the end of the game. It's a game we cannot afford to lose. We need three points, rather than beautiful football."
Jeonbuk Motors will clinch top spot and a home tie in the next stage if they pick up a point against bottom side Arema Malang. Coach Choi Kang-Hee warned his team not to be over-confident against a team they beat 4-0 in Indonesia.
"Anything can happen in football and we have to be focused," he said. "Arema are at a higher level than the team (Persipura Jayapura) we played last year. Individually their players are skilful and Indonesian football is improving."
Having already qualified, Kashima Antlers and Suwon Bluewings will battle it out to top Group H when they face Sydney FC and Shanghai Shenhua respectively. Sydney may already be eliminated but Kashima boss Oswaldo Oliveira was taking nothing for granted.
"The fact that they didn't get through the group stage can make them more dangerous," he said. "They have nothing to lose and can play in a relaxed manner, without responsibility or extra pressures."
In Group D, Emirates need to see off bottom side Al Rayyan in Doha and hope winners Zob Ahan do them a favour in Esfahan by beating Al Shabab. The Saudis just need a point to advance and end Emirates' bid.
Finally in Group C, Bunyodkor will look to beat Al Ittihad in Jeddah to finish top of the table while a draw would suffice for the Saudis. The other game sees Al Wahda host Persepolis.