Yes, if only for the fact that you’d expect both of our other group rivals to beat them twice too. We can’t expect to compete if we’re already starting from a deficit.
Normally, goal difference in these games would be quite important too because of the “best 3 second placed teams” criterion. But the withdrawal of Shanghai Port means that games against the 4th placed teams don’t count for that mini table (although they do count within the group). This will lessen the impact of the inflated goal differences in the other groups achieved by beating up on the other Chinese U19 teams, who will all likely finish 4th in their groups.
It’s also interesting that within the group, head-to-head record is the first tie-break ahead of goal difference. So again, assuming that these guys will be 4th and we end up battling it out for 2nd, results against the other two teams will be more important than racking up goals here.
So what is the most likely rotation then? Ninko in is very likely because he only played 10 mins on Saturday, but who else? Maybe Bobo in for his physical presence against weaker opposition and to give Alf a rest? It might not be popular but I’d assume we’ll see some minutes for Kosta at some point too.