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Guangzhou Evergrande makes history, reaches AFC final

Posted: 10/3/2013 4:50 pm

Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou Evergrande made history by becoming the first Chinese club to reach the final of the AFC Champions league after beating Kashiwa Reysol 4-0 in the semifinal 2nd leg on Wednesday (Oct 2), China Daily reports.

Brazilian Elkeson celebrates scoring for Guangzhou in the semi-final, image courtesy of China Daily

The Chinese champions, coached by 2006 World Cup-winner Lippi, beat the Japanese team 8-1 over two games. They won all their knock-out games so will fancy their chances in the final against Korean champions FC Seoul, which will be played on Oct. 26 and Nov. 9.

At a noisy Tianhe Sports Center packed with 50,000 spectators, Guangzhou dominated possession in the first half. Elkeson and Huang Bowen both had chances in the opening minutes but didn’t score.

Elkeson, with 22 goals in domestic appearances, powered home for his team three times in the first half, but only the second one was recognized as the other two was canceled by the referee.

In the 15th minute, Elkeson headed home after receiving a cross from Gao Lin, but the goal was canceled as Elkeson fouled beforehand. However, two minutes later, the sparkling Brazilian forward fired a shot from close range in a corner sent in by Huang and put Guangzhou 1-0 ahead.

Guangzhou continued the attacking momentum. In the 19th minute, defender Zhang Linpeng thumped in his shot from distance into the post. In the 30 minutes, Elkeson was also picked out by Muriqui with a high one that he volleyed the ball into the net, however the goal was denied again as Elkeson knocked the goalkeeper at first.

With a 1-0 lead, Guangzhou slowed their speed, while Kashiwa side spared no effort to attack. In the second half, the Japanese had a better opening by gaining two corners, but their players were off-key in front of goal.

It was Guangzhou who rubbed salt into the wound. In the 56th minute, Conca put Guangzhou 2-0 up by powering home a header. In the closing period, Muriqui scored two times in the 79 and 87 minute to take his tournament tally to a record 13 goals.

Neither Guangzhou nor Seoul has won the competition before, although Seoul was runner-up in 2002.

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