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Guangzhou Evergrande downs South Korean team

Updated: 2012-03-09 07:33
By Tang Zhe ( China Daily)

Guangzhou Evergrande downs South Korean team

Guangzhou Evergrande boss Xu Jiayin did it his way.

The lavishly wealthy tycoon and his club finally became heroes in Chinese soccer after a nearly flawless debut in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

It was a relief after last year's CSL runner-up, Beijing Guo'an, suffered a 2-1 loss to Ulsan Hyundai.

Chinese soccer's inferiority complex was swept away by Evergrande's overwhelming 5-1 victory over K-League winner Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

"Many people in China rest their hope on Evergrande because of the national team's early elimination from the World Cup qualifiers. We are aware of the responsibilities on our shoulders and it is also strong motivation to us," said Evergrande coach Lee Jang-soo. "Most significantly, the triumph tells us Chinese teams are capable of defeating South Korean squads if they play hard."

The team will be awarded 6 million yuan ($948,855 million) for every continental victory this season and another 2 million will be added for each goal difference.

"Everything has two sides," said Lee, whose team will receive a total of 14 million yuan for the win over Jeonbuk. "(The award) is also a burden for us, but the boss' consideration is the greatest encouragement for us. He called me before the game and said we are representing China more than Guangzhou."

The game was a memorable one for Lee, as the South Korean defeated a team from his home country on its own turf for the first time.

"I have led Beijing Guo'an to play in the Asian championship, but never defeated a South Korean team," said Lee, who has been in charge of three Chinese clubs. "I have experienced various feelings in China, but today it's special, I felt myself return to my hometown with glory."

Evergrande's three foreign aces, Cleo, Dario Conca and Muriqui, proved their value by sharing the five goals. Domestic players - highlighted by national-team forward Gao Lin - also received applause for their outstanding performance.

"I believe the victory will bring hope and encouragement to our compatriots," Gao said. "This is soccer - as long as you fight with all efforts and are hungry to win, you will get good results."

Evergrande made 2,000 free tickets available for Chinese fans. More than 1,700 Chinese international students were at the stadium, accompanied by another 300 or so who flew to South Korea from Guangzhou. The Chinese teams will play their second-round matches on March 20 and 21.



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