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Football: Cha confident FC Seoul can snatch ACL victory in Guangzhou

FC Seoul right-back Cha Du-ri (pictured right), who has played in two World Cups, was suspended for the first leg of the AFC Champions League final against China’s Guangzhou Evergrande, but is pushing for a recall to the side ahead of Saturday’s showdown at Tianhe Stadium. Photo: WSG.

FC Seoul right-back Cha Du-ri (pictured right), who has played in two World Cups, was suspended for the first leg of the AFC Champions League final against China’s Guangzhou Evergrande, but is pushing for a recall to the side ahead of Saturday’s showdown at Tianhe Stadium. Photo: WSG.

November 7, 2013: Defender Cha Du-ri has backed confident domestic champions FC Seoul to keep the AFC Champions League title in Korean hands for a fourth time in five years by beating Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande in the second leg of this year’s final on Saturday.

 

FC Seoul needed a late strike from Montenegro striker Dejan Damjanovic to rescue a 2-2 draw in last month’s first leg in the Korean capital, leaving Guangzhou within touching distance of ending China’s wait for just a second continental club title in 23 years.

 

But after Damjanovic scored twice in last weekend’s 2-1 K-League win over cross-town rivals Suwon Bluewings, Cha is confident Choi Yong-soo’s side can continue Korea’s recent AFC Champions League legacy by winning at Guangzhou’s Tianhe Stadium on Saturday.

 

“We played Suwon in one of the biggest matches in the K-League and we won, so we have a lot of good energy before the second leg. I believe we can win the second leg and become champions of Asia,” said the Germany-born Cha, who represented Korea Republic at the 2002 and 2010 FIFA World Cups.

 

Cha joined FC Seoul, his first Korean club, at the start of the year, but was only added to the AFC Champions League squad prior to the quarter-finals. Cha played in both quarter-final legs, but picked up yellow cards in both semi-final matches against Iran’s Esteghlal.

 

The 33-year-old missed the first leg of the final at Seoul World Cup Stadium due to suspension, but is pushing for a recall at right-back for the return fixture and played against Suwon last weekend at the expense of Choi Hyo-jin. Veteran Brazilian Adilson was deployed at left-back, as he was against Guangzhou, as Kim Chi-woo is still a doubt having also missed the first leg due to injury.

 

Midfielder Yun Il-lok also came into the side against Suwon in place of Go Yo-han in the only other change to the side from the first leg against Guangzhou.

 

“We did our best in the first leg and it wasn’t a bad result as Guangzhou are a good team. Every away match is not easy to win, but we are confident and we have good energy,” Cha said.

 

Three-time Chinese champions Guangzhou are unbeaten at home in the AFC Champions League this season, while FC Seoul suffered their only defeat in the competition on their travels although Choi’s side did draw in Saudi Arabia and Iran during the knockout stage.

 

Guangzhou rounded off another successful defence of their domestic title with a 5-0 win over relegated Wuhan last weekend. Elkeson, Dario Conca and Gao Lin were all on target as coach Marcello Lippi opted to only leave out AFC Champions League leading scorer Muriqui and right-back Zhang Linpeng.

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