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China Daily Website

AGADIR, Morocco --  Marcello Lippi said enthusiasm and expectation for the Club World Cup would help his side Guangzhou Evergrande show true level as the Chinese club will start campaign against Al Ahly on Saturday.

Guangzhou, the first-ever Chinese side having won the Asian Champions League, will meet the tough test from the African champion in the quarter-final at Agadir Stadium.

Lippi admitted the Egyptian's fifth-participation experience in the world club's biggest tournament will be the opponent's advantage.

But the Italian believed the first-time entry to the FIFA's year-ending event will be a boost and stimulation for his side to repeat their top level.

"We are going to a tough match. The opponents have won the African Champions League eight times," said Lippi, who led Italy to win the World Cup in 2006.

"They are strong and experienced. But it will not be a problem for us. Players' enthusiasm and expectation for their first-ever world's tournament will also help the team lessen the tiredness."

Al Ahly was lack of organized matches as their Chinese opponent. They had to compete in the CAF (Confederation of African Football) Champions League for a warm-up as the domestic league remains suspended following last year's Port Said Stadium disaster.

Lippi said the Egyptian side might be more fresh in the physical preparation but ambition for the tournament could also inspire Guangzhou.  

"The two teams are not in the same period of a season. They are like in the middle but we are close to the end."

"We started training for this season since January. We have about 10 Chinese players having played many internationals with the national team. Now, it's nearly a whole year. Physically and psychologically it is tough year for us."

"But as I said, two years ago, no one imagine Guangzhou can reach here. But we did it. We prove our team deserved it. We are getting more mature in the psychological level. Hopefully we can show our best level."

Guangzhou's playmaker Dario Leonardo Conca will leave his team after the tournament, which is being staged from December 11 to 21 in Morocco.

Lippi said Conca will play his "last two or three matches" for Guangzhou, implying his ambition to meet Bayern Munich in the semi- final.

"During his years here, Conca showed he is a serious professional player. He deserves all the respect from the club. I feel sorry for his leave."

Lippi confident with Guangzhou's opener

Marcello Lippi (C), coach of China's Guangzhou Evergrande, takes part in a training session in Agadir Stadium, Agadir December 13, 2013. Guangzhou Evergrande will play their first Club World Cup soccer match against Egypt's Al Ahly on December 14. [Photo/Agencies]

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