The Macau Olympic Stadium will host the AFC Champions League quarter final second leg between China’s Tianjin Quanjian and Japan’s Kashima Antlers on September 18.
Both AFC and the Chinese club confirmed the reschedule, although no official explanation was provided to explain the transfer of the match to a region located over 1,900 kilometers from the northern Chinese city.
One of the reasons that the game will not be played in Tianjin may be related to the annual World Economic Forum, which will be held in Tianjin from September 18 to 20. Chinese social media also speculated about the fact that the date of the regional clash coincides with the Mukden Incident, which was staged by the Japanese Army on September 19, 1931, to justify a full-scale invasion of Manchuria. Given that the visiting team is from Japan and given the proximity of Tianjin to the former Manchuria, some social media users have cited “security concerns”.
The Chinese Super League club referred to Macau as “home”, but the South China Morning Post reported that since Tianjin Quanjian failed to find an alternative stadium in a nearby city, the game has been moved to a “neutral venue” in accordance with the AFC’s rules.
The most high-profile player of the Chinese side is Brazilian Alexandre Pato, who played in the national squad and in clubs such as Corinthians (Brazil), AC Milan (Italy) and Chelsea (England).
In the first leg of the quarter finals, Tianjin Quanjian lost 2-0 in Kashima, Japan.