Guangzhou wins Asian Champions League title
GUANGZHOU, China (AP) — Guangzhou Evergrande became the first Chinese team since 1990 to win the Asian Champions League by drawing 1-1 with FC Seoul in the second leg of the final on Saturday, claiming the title on away goals after the first game in South Korea ended 2-2.
The victory makes Guangzhou’s Italian coach Marcello Lippi the first coach to win the Champions Leagues of Asia and Europe, following his 1996 success with Juventus.
“Winning this cup is very important for Chinese football,” Lippi said. “We have grown a lot and wanted to compete at an international level. It’s not an easy thing for a team to play the same way at home and away but this is something we were able to do and this was a big advantage in winning the championship.”
At a sold-out Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou, Brazilian striker Elkeson put the host ahead after 58 minutes, after the home team had controlled much of the game. Dejan Damjanovic equalized for Seoul just four minutes later but the visitors couldn’t find a winner and the final whistle sparked massive celebrations for Guangzhou.
Guangzhou has spent more than $70 million since 2010 to bring in foreign players and Lippi in a bid to establish the club as a continental power.
Seoul was bidding to provide South Korea with an 11th continental championship and also give the K-league a fourth winner in the last five years.
“I would like to offer my congratulations to Guangzhou,” FC Seoul coach Choi Yong-soo said. “It is a very good team. It is a little disappointing for us that we could not become champions but we gave our all in what was a good game.”
The victory means Lippi gets to take the team to the Club World Cup in December, where it will face the other continental champions.