Kudo prepared for ‘intimidating’ Tianhe Stadium

Guangzhou Evergrande – In danger of early AFC Champions League exit?

Kashiwa Reysol will have to end their continental losing streak at Guangzhou Evergrande's Tianhe Sport Centre Stadium if they are to advance to the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League.

Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou recorded a commanding 3-1 win at the Hitachi Kashiwa Stadium in the first leg last month, meaning the J-League side has to score at least three goals to advance to the last four.

Kashiwa striker Masato Kudo gave his side a lifeline late in the first leg, after an own goal from stand-in Kashiwa captain Daisuke Suzuki and goals from Paulinho and Gao Lin gave Luis Felipe Scolari's side a 3-0 lead.

With Kashiwa having lost at the Tianhe Sport Centre in the 2012 group stage and the 2013 semi-final, Kudo is well aware of the challenge that awaits his side on Tuesday.

"I've played there twice already and know how intimidating the venue can get, but I'm used to it already. More than that, we want to make them silent with the power and strength we have," said Kudo, who featured in both those losses.

"I tried my best to get at least two goals back from them before the end of the first leg, and I ended up getting one goal, and I would like to turnaround the position in the away match in Guangzhou.

"Most people believe that it is now too difficult to win, but what we know is that each individual player will have strong feeling towards being number one in Asia, so I think we must think about that and fight as if it's life or death."

Kashiwa go into the match in China having beaten Urawa Red Diamonds 1-0 in the J-League on Friday, a match in which regular captain Hidekazu Otani returned to the fray after missing the quarter-final first leg.

Naoki Wako remains a doubt for Tatsuma Yoshida's side, after the defender suffered concussion ahead of the defeat by Guangzhou last month.

"Even though we lost the match 3-1, we were able keep the hope with that one goal by Kudo, and rather than 3-0 ahead of the away match, with 3-1 we have more hope and mentally it's completely different," said Kashiwa coach Yoshida.

"With a quite packed schedule it will obviously affect the physical strength of the players, but we will try our best to manage it ahead of the second leg."

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