Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Guangzhou: Coach Luis Felipe Scolari was full of praise for Guangzhou Evergrande after the Chinese Super League side claimed their second AFC Champions League title in three years with a 1-0 victory over Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
A second-half strike from Brazilian forward Elkeson at Tianhe Sport Centre Stadium saw the five-time Chinese champions win the second leg of the final 1-0 to claim the title by the same score on aggregate following the goalless first leg in Dubai earlier this month.
And the win also means Brazilian Scolari becomes only the second coach to lead a team to FIFA World Cup and AFC Champions League success after Italian Marcello Lippi achieved the same feat with Guangzhou two years ago.
“I would like to thank my players because due to their contributions and efforts I can enjoy such successes,” said Scolari, who remains unbeaten as Guangzhou coach after replacing Fabio Cannavaro in June.
“The winners are those that never give up. Every one of my players has helped me.”
Having won their first AFC Champions League against Korea Republic’s FC Seoul on away goals two years ago, Guangzhou went into the encounter needing to score, but chances were few and far between in the opening period.
But Scolari’s side began to control the tie following the interval and Elkeson gave Guangzhou the lead nine minutes after the restart before Al Ahli’s Salmin Khamis was dismissed midway through the half after a clash with Zheng Long.
“In life we have happy days and not so happy days, but tonight it has been a wonderful night. I have had a few great moments before, but tonight I feel quite extraordinary,” added Scolari.
“We have now won two AFC Champions Leagues in three years. We are growing day-by-day so we can dream of improving further.”
Guangzhou began their campaign with three successive wins in Group H before picking up just a solitary point from their next three fixtures. but still qualified for the Round of 16 as group winners.
The Chinese champions then defeated Korea Republic's Seongnam FC in the last 16 before seeing off Japanese duo Kashiwa Reysol and Gamba Osaka in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.
“We still have a long way to go, but I have a great team at a great club and great players,” said Scolari.
Photo: Lagardère Sports