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Football: Dramatic 2-2 draw in Seoul sets up grand finale in Guangzhou

Sergio Escudero (left), who opened the scoring for FC Seoul, is tackled by Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Photo: WSG.

Sergio Escudero (left), who opened the scoring for FC Seoul, is tackled by Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi during a hard-fought 2-2 draw in front of over 55,000 fans at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Photo: WSG.

October 26, 2013: Coach Marcello Lippi remained cautious over Guangzhou Evergrande’s bid to hand China a first continental title in 23 years despite an exciting 2-2 draw in Saturday’s AFC Champions League final first leg against FC Seoul that entertained over 55,000 fans at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

 

Brazilian striker Elkeson and China international Gao Lin scored in each half as Guangzhou claimed two away goals to take back to a sold-out Tianhe Stadium for the second leg on November 9 as the domestic champions seek to follow in the footsteps of 1990 Asian Club Championship winners Liaoning.

 

Sergio Escudero had handed FC Seoul an early lead, but after then conceding twice, the hosts were desperate for an equaliser. Montenegro striker Dejan Damjanovic finally pulled the hosts level with just seven minutes remaining, sending the home fans wild.

 

That goal prompted more thrilling end-to-end action as both teams sought a late winner, but the 65-year-old Lippi emphasised there’s still a long way to go, as the Italian World Cup winner seeks to add to the 1996 UEFA Champions League title he won with Juventus.

 

“The two away goals are a very important factor for us, but there’s still another 90 minutes to play. It’s an advantage, but we still have to play the second match,” said Lippi.

 

“It’s not that I’m satisfied or not, but it’s a good result to go into the final game with. There’s another game and that will determine the result.”

 

FC Seoul, the fifth consecutive Korean side to appear in the final, extended their unbeaten record against Chinese sides in the AFC Champions League this season.

 

Having drawn their last two away games in the competition in Saudi Arabia and Iran, coach Choi Yong-soo, 40, is confident FC Seoul are still in contention to keep the AFC Champions League title in Korean hands for a fourth time in five years.

 

“We always prepare to win, but we drew our home game. However, we have an opportunity to win the game in the second leg. We’re never going to give up. We can do it,” said the former Korea Republic striker, who played at the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups.

 

“All the away games are very difficult, especially when there is a big crowd in the stadium. It’s always difficult. But our players are very experienced in those kind of situations and we have had a lot of experience in this tournament in this season. We have never lost to a Chinese team and we hope to win again in China.”

 

2013 AFC Champions League Final

October 26: FC Seoul (KOR) 2-2 Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN), Seoul World Cup Stadium, Korea (Sergio Escudero 11’, Dejan Damjanovic 83’; Elkeson 29’, Gao Lin 59’)

November 9: Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) v FC Seoul (KOR), Tianhe Sports Center, Guangzhou, China

 

For more information on this year’s AFC Champions League, visit:

www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-champions-league

www.the-afc.com/en/acl-2013-fixtures

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