Stopping Hamdallah key to beating Guangzhou R&F

Former Guangzhou R&F striker Ken Ilsø Larsen tells FourFourTwo the Moroccan hitman is the biggest threat to Warriors' AFC Champions League hopes.

After defeating Myanmar’s Yadanarbon FC last week, reigning S.League champions Warriors FC will take on Chinese Super League (CSL) side Guangzhou R&F in the second qualifying round of the 2015 AFC Champions League at the Yuexiushan Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Ilsø, who had a three-month stint at R&F and has now signed for S.League outfit Home United, believes that stopping forward Abderrazak Hamdallah will go a long way to helping the Warriors take down the Chinese club.

The Moroccan hitman scored 22 goals in 21 appearances last season to inspire R&F to third position in the CSL, and will be looking to once again lead the line for Cosmin Contra's side.

“He is their most dangerous weapon,” Ilso said, recalling a 6-2 thrashing of Hangzhou Greentown in March last year, when Hamdallah grabbed a hattrick to his solitary strike.

“He’s a real goal-getter so it’s crucial not to let him turn around and face the goal. His speed and agility means he has to be kept from running towards the defence.”

Ilsø was also believes that ball retention will go a long way to deciding the tie.

“The Warriors will have to keep the ball and stay out of hectic situations,” the 28-year-old said.

“R&F likes it in such situations where they can then use their pace to launch counter-attacks. It’ll be good if they can control the tempo and prevent the pace of the game from getting too hectic.”

Last but not least, Ilsø also believes an upset could be on the cards if R&F start resorting to long balls to get a breakthrough.

“Their centre-backs will often play the long ball if they don’t get the chance to play the ball on the ground to Hamdallah or (midfielder) Park (Jong-Woo),” he said.

“Let them do that. As long as Hamdallah does not get the chance to run that long ball down, R&F will face big difficulties.”