Chinese Super League (CSL) side Hebei China Fortune is about to host newly-promoted Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng at home on Saturday and they all eye their first win of the 2017 CSL season.
The Saturday head-on is Hebei's first home appearance of the season, and also Guizhou's first away game. Both teams started the new season with two ties.
“Our opponent is very strong in terms of both individual abilities and overall strength,” said Guizhou coach Li Bing in a pre-game press conference on Friday.
“As a new CSL squad, there is not much pressure on us,” Li said. “We hope we can prove ourselves while displaying an excellent game.”
Hebei has three players who flied to Tehran with the Chinese national team for the World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, while Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, also summoned for international games, just returned to China Fortune after a long-flight from South America.
Hebei coach Manuel Pellegrini told reporters that Lavezzi won't appear in the game but most of the players are in good condition.
“We are confident to claim the first victory of the season,” said Pellegrini. “It is important that we show our best performance because Guizhou is a competitive side with many great young players.”
Hebei defender Zhao Mingjian said he and his teammates will stick to the coach's game plan and help the team grab the season's first win.
Hebei met Henan Jianye on the road in a goalless-draw CSL opener, and then their match-up with host Chongqing Lifan in the second round ended in a 1-1 tie despite netting an early goal.
The newly-promoted Guizhou made its top-league debut at home in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province, but drew a 1-1 tie with visiting Liaoning Whowin. They collected another 1-1 tie with Beijing Guoan last round, also at home.