SEOUL, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou Evergrande took a huge step to gift China a first continental title as they grasped two away goals in a 2-2 draw over FC Seoul in first leg of the AFC Champions League final here on Saturday evening.
Sergio Escudero's 11th minute goal gave the Korean side a dreaming start, only to see Brazilian striker Elkeson scored to make the equalizer before the half time. Gao Lin put Guangzhou's noses in front just before the hour mark, but Montenegrin striker Damjanovic rescued the home side 10 minutes before the final whistle.
Lippi admitted his team have advantage in hand but was not satisfied with the result.
"The match was well fought and the result was quite fair for both teams. For my team, a couple of players got injured.
"I am not saying satisfied or not. Two away goals are important, it is an advantage for us. However, we still have 90 minutes to play," the 65-year-old Italian said.
The Italian would not deny it is at least an acceptable result for his team, especially considering they got a goal down early in the game.
"Seoul is a good team, they have a strong attacking half. However, I believe we caused a lot of chances, but we didn't score so many as usually we completed," said Lippi.
In fact, none of the Evergrande players have previously played in an AFC Champions League final although Huang Bowen was unused substitute for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors when they lost to Al Sadd in the 2011 Final.
Huang missed the chance to gift Guangzhou the lead in 9th minute as he hit the ball off the bar. Seoul's counter attack came earlier than Guangzhou as Escudero netted 11th minute. Guangzhou finally found the equalizer as Elkson headed to the back of net after Huang's curving corner in the 30th minute.
"I was nervous in the first 20 minutes. After all, it was the final I never experienced before," said Guangzhou striker Gao Lin, who gave Lippi's side in front in 59th minute.
It would be a perfect result for Guangzhou if the game ended in 80 minutes. However, Damjanovic save the home side just 10 minutes before the final whistle.
"It was a tough match, as you expect to see in the AFC Champions League final," said Seoul's coach Choi Yong-soo. "We prepared to win but we drew in our home game. We have an opportunity to win the game in the second leg; we can score more goals than tonight in the away match and we will never give up," said the 40-year-old South Korean.