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Evergrande relish luck, Bayern eye crown

English.news.cn   2013-12-17 21:55:02            

AGADIR, Morocco, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Guangzhou Evergrande, the first-ever Chinese soccer side representing Asia in the Club World Cup, are looking for the one precent opportunity to upset German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich in the semifinal here on Tuesday.

"We're going to play against one of the best teams in the world. When you take on a team like this, out of 100 matches you lose 99 but you can win one and I hope that will be the next one. You never know," said Evergrande's Italian world famous coach Marcello Lippi at the pre-match press conference.

The Chinese and Asian champions beat African champions Al Ahly from Egypt 2-0 in Saturday's quarterfinal, thanks to the brilliant performance of their foreign trio up front - Brazilian strikers Elkson and Muriqui, together with Argentine playmaker Dario Conca.

Elkson opened scoring just after the interval, and Conca sealed the win later following a sharp breakthrough by Muriqui, who became the most prolific scorer in the AFC Champions League history with 13 gaols in this year's edition and the AFC Foreign Player of the Year.

Besides the invincible foreign trio in Asia, Evergrande's chance comes from Lippi, the first manager in history to win both the UEFA Champions League (with Juventus in 1996), and the Asian equivalent (with Evergrande this year).

Lippi is no stranger to playing against big teams and his experience combined with heavy financial backing have been key to Evergrande's sharp rise in recent years.

Evergrande's second half myth has turned many games into a great happy ending, besides the last one with Al Ahly.

Evergrande's performance in the second half was obviously better than that in the first half, which should largely be attributed to Lippi's decisions on substituting players and changing formations.

However, calculating on both sides' players, the whole team of Bayern is worth 484.7 million euros while Evergrande worth only 20.975 million euros.

Bayern are unbeaten in 41 Bundesliga games and have extended their domestic winning streak to eight successive matches after crushing Hanburg 3-1 in Saturday's league game.

Bayern, also the debutants of the Club World Cup, received a bye to the semifinal and are bidding for their fifth trophy of the year 2013.

Having lifted the UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga, German FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup, star-studded Bayern at the helm of Pep Guardiola vow to be on top podium in North Africa to cap off a remarkable year.

Guardiola himself took the tournament's title in 2009 and 2011 with his former club Barcelona. He is hoping to do the same with his new squad to fulfil a hat-trick for himself.

Guardiola showed respect to Evergrande at the pre-match press conference, syaing he's surprised by Guangzhou's quality players. He also mentioned Gao Lin, Zheng Zhi and the three foreign players of his opponents.

Bayern's Jerome Boateng and Toni Kroos, who also attended the press conference, said that except Lippi, they knew nothing about the Chinese club, which they had never played before.

For Chinese media and fans, the match itself brings excitement, despite any results.

"If we talk about a Chinese club playing with Bayern Munich in semifinal one year ago, we must be joking, but now it's true. If Evergrande win, that must be a bonus," a Chinese fan expressed his excitement in Sina weibo.

Most Chinese fans dare not to expect more, but they still count their little hope on magic Lippi.

Editor: Yang Yi
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