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Job not done yet, warns Guangzhou's Cannavaro

Guangzhou: Fabio Cannavaro has warned his Guangzhou Evergrande players to remain vigilant against imposing duo Graziano Pelle and Marouane Fellaini when they take on Shandong Luneng in the second leg of their 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 clash next week.

Guangzhou managed to mute the duo for much of the 90 minutes at Tianhe Stadium on Tuesday evening as the two-time champions ran out 2-1 winners in the all-Chinese Super League encounter and a draw will now be enough for Evergrande to advance to the last eight for the sixth time in eight seasons.

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But despite the one-goal advantage his team hold after the first leg in front of their own fans, Cannavaro has already impressed upon his players they must not let their guard down when they travel to Jinan next week.

“I told the players before that the next game will be very tough in Shandong,” said the former Juventus and Real Madrid defender. “Because of the way they play it’s always difficult to defend against Pelle and Fellaini.

“But we will try to do our best and I know that 2-1 is a not a bad result and now we are 60-40, so we need to know that the next game will be very, very tough in Shandong.”


Round of 16: Guangzhou Evergrande FC v Shandong Luneng FC

Guangzhou had good fortune on their side when Yang Liyu’s attempted cross 10 minutes from time was directed beyond Shandong goalkeeper Wang Dalei by the outstretched leg of Zheng Zheng to give Cannavaro’s side the win after Zhang Chi had cancelled out Wei Shihao’s opener for the hosts.

But, having seen Brazilian midfielder Paulinho miss several chances, Cannavaro felt his team deserved to pick up the win and had special praise for his team’s backline.

“In football it’s normal for players to miss some chances and sometimes we score because of luck,” he said. “The important thing to mention about tonight’s game is the defence.

“Shandong played the ball in midfield effectively and that wasn’t easy for us tonight. The second goal was partly because of luck but we should have scored one more goal.”

Shandong coach Li Xiapoeng insisted his team remain in a strong position to progress despite the defeat and was pleased the game did not end in a stalemate.

“It was a very tough game for both teams and both gave everything they could,” he said. “Every player did what I wanted them to do tactically and both teams fought each other well," said Li.

“Guangzhou did a good job of preventing our offence, especially down the flanks. But this is only the end of the first half of the game, so I hope when we go back to Jinan for the second half we will beat them and qualify for the next round.

“For me, I don't like 1-1. It’s not enough. I wanted this game to have a result, win or lose, because that it makes it easier for us to do what we want.”

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