Lippi confident of Guangzhou's opener

Agadir (Morocco), Dec 14 (IANS): Italy's World cup winning coach Marcello Lippi said enthusiasm and expectation for the FIFA Club World Cup would help his side Guangzhou Evergrande show true level as the Chinese club starts campaign against Egyptian side Al Ahly.

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

Lippi believes that Evergrande's 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."

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 imagined 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," he said.



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