Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Guangzhou gunning for German giant

Updated: 2013-12-16 07:48
By Agence France-Presse in Agadir,Morocco ( China Daily)

Asian champ vanquishes Al Ahly to set up showdown with Bayern

China's Guangzhou Evergrande set up a mouthwatering Club World Cup semifinal against European champion Bayern Munich on Saturday by defeating Egypt's Al Ahly 2-0.

Brazilian midfielder Elkeson and Argentina's Dario Conca notched second- half goals to pace the Asian champion to victory.

 Guangzhou gunning for German giant

Guangzhou's Dario Conca (left) scores past Al Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy and defender Mohamed Nagieb during their FIFA Club World Cup quarterfinal match in the Moroccan city of Agadir on Saturday. Gerard Julien / Agence France-Presse

Elkeson opened the scoring in the 49th minute, slotting the ball home after Brazilian compatriot Muriqui's shot hit the post.

Muriqui then missed a chance to add a second goal moments later when he sent his shot just wide.

Muriqui was also at the heart of Guangzhou's second goal in the 67th minute when his drive was parried by Al Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy into the path of Conca.

The Argentine midfielder, who will leave the Chinese champion to return to Brazil's Fluminense at the end of the tournament, had an easy task to slot the ball home from close range.

Guangzhou, coached by Italian World Cup winner Marcello Lippi, will face the German giant in the final four on Tuesday.

"We will now play against one of the best teams in the world," said Lippi.

"You can lose 99 times every 100 times you play them, but you could win one. You never know.

"We are delighted with this win. It means an awful lot to us.

"It's been a tough season for us and there were times when you could see that.

"The battle's taken quite a bit out of us, but we came here well-prepared and we have an excellent side.

"We're capable of switching our strategies and game plans to suit whatever circumstances."

Conca was named man of the match.

"It's great to win this award but the win is the most important thing," he said.

"I dedicate the award to my team and family."

Al Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef said a lack of recent competitive action cost his team.

"We switched off for their first goal and we lost our way after that, mostly because we're a little rusty," he said.

"We haven't played any competitive matches for quite a while, though that's not an excuse because we should have acquitted ourselves better than we did."

The second semifinal will see Copa Libertadores winner Atletico Mineiro take on host Raja Casablanca.

The Moroccan champion enjoyed a 2-1 extra-time win over Monterrey of Mexico on Saturday.

Chemseddine Chtibi gave it a 24th minute lead before Monterrey skipper Jose Maria Basanta scored the equalizer in the second half.

Kouko Guehi grabbed the extra-time winner to set up a Wednesday date against the Brazilians.

Bayern Munich is favored to lift the Club World Cup trophy in Marrakech on Dec 21. No German club has ever won it.

(China Daily 12/16/2013 page23)