Shandong coach wants rule change after Asia exit

Updated: 2007-05-24 19:40
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BEIJING, May 24 - Shandong Luneng assistant coach Ma Baogang said AFC Champions League rules should be changed after the Chinese champions were knocked out despite losing only one of their six matches.

Shandong lost 3-0 at Seongnam Chunma in their final group match on Wednesday to drop out of Asia's top club competition before the knockout stages because of their head-to-head record against the South Korean champions.

"We feel sorry about Champions League's rules," Ma, assistant to Ljubisa Tumbakovic, told the club's official Web site.

"We only lost one of the six matches in the group stage but we were eliminated. We hope AFC can change the rules to give more opportunities for more teams to showcase their power."

Shandong had led the group throughout the campaign and only needed to avoid losing by more than one goal to go through to the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

"None of us wanted to see such a result," Luneng's general manager Han Gongzheng said. "I apologise in particular to our fans."

China's other entry, Shanghai Shenhua, thrashed Indonesia's Persik Kediri 6-0 in their final match, but it was their only victory in the competition and they finished bottom of their group.