Guangzhou Evergrande's Zheng Zhi a doubt for Shanghai SIPG clash
Luiz Felipe Scolari will make a late decision over whether to include Zheng Zhi in his starting line-up as Guangzhou Evergrande face a huge task to overhaul a four-goal first-leg deficit in the second leg of their Asian Champions League quarterfinal with Shanghai SIPG.
SIPG handed the two-time Asian champions a 4-0 thrashing in the first game at Shanghai Stadium, and the teams face off again on Tuesday evening at Evergrande's Tianhe Stadium with Guangzhou facing a humiliating elimination.
The six-time Chinese Super League champions will need to go on the attack from the first whistle, but Scolari's side could be without a host of key players for one of the club's biggest games of the season.
"I can't tell if Zheng Zhi will play tomorrow and Feng Xiaoting isn't feeling well either," Scolari said. "Mei Fang and Huang Bowen won't be available either. So it doesn't matter if SIPG have their core players suspended or injured or if they're just recovering.
"Every player I select will try to do their best. I don't want to complain about my squad. Any player on the list is selected by me and all of them are important."
Guangzhou have only lost at this stage of the competition once when they were eliminated in 2012 by Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad over two games when Marcello Lippi was at the helm.
They went on to win the trophy the following year under Lippi before claiming it again in Scolari's first season in charge in 2015.
But despite the odds being stacked against Scolari's team, the former Brazil coach is confident his side will make a concerted effort to advance to the last four.
"We conceded four goals in the first leg, so it's very simple now," he said. "We either win 4-0 or 5-0 tomorrow, without conceding any goals, and go into extra time or qualify directly. It's won't be easy for us but we will face it like we always do. It's another tomorrow with a new challenge."
Muriqui, who was top scorer in the Asian Champions League when Guangzhou won the title in 2013, could feature having rejoined the club in July.
Scolari is hoping his side can pull off a remarkable turnaround.
"I've put together a tactical plan in training," Scolari said. "Let's see if we can execute it."
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch