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It was more than just a win

Updated: 2013-02-28 08:02
By Tang Zhe ( China Daily)

It was more than just a win

Guangzhou Evergrande gets big morale boost after 3-0 victory

Guangzhou Evergrande's overwhelming win against Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds provided not only a boost to the poor profile of Chinese soccer, but also enhanced the reputation of Italian coach Marcello Lippi.

Evergrande's 3-0 victory over Urawa on Tuesday evening was the biggest by a Chinese club against a Japanese team in the AFC Champions League.

Though Evergrande's South American trio of Dario Conca, Muriqui and Lucas Barrios played dominant roles in the triumph, Lippi was singled out for credit over his use of the Chinese internationals on his squad.

The Cantonese team started with seven Chinese national players, and six played the full 90 minutes.

"Evergrande's emphatic win was based on Lippi's effective use of national players and his ability to control the game, which national team coach Jose Antonio Camacho needs to study," Xinhua wrote after the match.

Camacho has been criticized for accomplishing little on the field while pocketing a large salary since his appointment in the summer of 2011. The Spaniard found himself in even hotter water after China lost to Saudi Arabia, 2-1, in its first Asian Cup qualifying game and the team's subsequent fall to 96th in the FIFA rankings.

As China's second Asian Cup qualifier, against Iraq, approaches on March 22, Camacho has been advised to learn lessons from Lippi's use of his Chinese national players.

"The model has been set. Camacho should learn from Lippi about how to boost the national lineup," the agency said.

Apart from the Chinese players' impressive play, the performances of Evergrande's foreign players were also a major key to the victory. Brazilian striker Muriqui was singled out for praise after contributing a goal and an assist during the game.

"I knew Evergrande had some excellent foreign players, but we could not confine their performances when they played at such a high standard," said Urawa's Serbian coach, Mihailo Petrovic. "If Evergrande didn't have Muriqui, the result could probably have been different."

Muriqui, who sustained an injury in the first-leg quarterfinal against Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad in last year's tournament, said after the game that he hopes to help the Chinese club win the Champions League title this season.

"I was full of regret that we didn't qualify for the semifinals last year. I was absent from the game due to injury," Muriqui told Chinese website sina.com. "I hope I can help our team achieve better results and our target this year is to win the title."

The Evergrande players and coaching staff will be awarded 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) by the club for the victory.


(China Daily 02/28/2013 page22)

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