Jeonju: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors coach Jose Morais has asked his players to learn the lessons from their 0-0 draw with Buriram United in their final Group G game of the 2019 AFC Champions League as the two-time champions move into the knockout rounds of the Continental championship.
The K League side were unable to break down Buriram’s well-organised back line throughout the 90 minutes at Jeonju World Cup Stadium, but the result mattered little as Morais and his team had already guaranteed themselves top spot in the group.
“We learned some lessons and this is the good aspect of this game,” he said. “We are able to look to the future. We had a chance to face a team that was defending, defending, defending from the first minute and until the last and trying to counter.
“We could have scored goals at any moment but we had a very good game. I think it was a quality game and a game where we tried to find solutions to score goals. We found some very good solutions but we didn’t score and in the future I hope we can score goals in games like this.”
Jeonbuk will now face Shanghai SIPG in the Round of 16 after the Chinese Super League champions clinched second place in Group H, meaning Morais will face his fellow Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira in the battle for a place in the quarter-finals.
And while he had been hoping to avoid his compatriot, he claims his immediate focus is Sunday’s K League clash with Gyeongnam FC.
“We have to play the game when the time arrives,” he said of next month’s meeting. “It will definitely be a tough game. My focus is on our capacity and our qualities to beat the other team. So this is what we will do in the time that is coming now.
“But first of all we have to think about the next game that is coming, the league game, which is more important. But the time is coming when we will prepare for the game against Shanghai in order for us to go through the next step.”
FULL-TIME | @Jeonbuk_hyundai 🇰🇷 0-0 Buriram United 🇹🇭
⏹ All square in Jeonju as 2⃣ x champions Jeonbuk and Buriram bring their Group G campaigns to a close. #ACL2019 #JEOvBRU pic.twitter.com/2icseCiuB2
— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) May 21, 2019
Buriram coach Bozidar Bandovic believes his team’s AFC Champions League campaign – which saw them win against Jeonbuk in Thailand and also push Beijing FC and Urawa Red Diamonds – will give his young players, in particular, a boost for the future.
“For me they have improved so much technically and tactically,” he said. “There is still more space to improve and I believe in them so much and they can be the future for Thai football. They have shown that in these strong games that we have played.
“This is a big experience for them. Jeonbuk are a big team who manage the game well because the games in the Korean league are different and they play every four days. They have big experience and to play against them, they’re a big team and it will give the players confidence for the future.”