9/4/2018 10:47:59 AM

Busted flush: Tianjin's AFC hopes hit by Macau switch

Busted flush: Tianjin

Shanghai, China: Tianjin Quanjian's hopes of overturning a 2-0 deficit in the Asian Champions League quarter-finals were dealt a blow after the second leg home to Kashima Antlers was moved to Macau.

The crunch showdown will still take place on September 18, but instead of enjoying home advantage, Tianjin's players will travel 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) south to Macau, the former Portuguese colony better known for its casinos than its football.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) did not say why the match is being moved, but Chinese media said it could be because of a World Economic Forum meeting taking place in Tianjin on September 18-20.

Chinese authorities typically ratchet up security for such events.

The Chinese Super League (CSL) side's chances were already remote after Tianjin were soundly beaten in Japan last week in the first leg.

But it is a three-hour flight from Tianjin, in northern China, to Macau in the south, meaning the number of home supporters is likely to be limited.

"It is a great pity that this key match cannot be held in Tianjin, but as long as it is in China, we believe it is home," Tianjin said on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

"The club and team will adjust as soon as possible to fully prepare for the game in Macau, China."

It is not the first time that Chinese football has played second fiddle to non-sporting events.

Matches in Beijing are routinely moved so they do not clash with major political meetings in the Chinese capital, while CSL side Jiangsu Suning last year postponed a game because of a pop concert.

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