Guangzhou Evergrande to face Lekhwiya of Qatar in ACL quarters
Updated: 2013-07-12 07:57
KUALA LUMPUR - Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande need to overcome Lekhwiya from Qatar in the AFC Champions League (ACL) quarterfinals to continue its pursuit for the Asian football club title.
Guangzhou Evergrande, under World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, returned to the ACL quarterfinals for the second consecutive year after a comprehensive victory over Australia's Central Coast Mariners by 5-1 on aggregate in Round of 16.
Its Brazilian striker Muriqui now leads the tournament's scoring sheet with eight goals.
Guangzhou became a formidable force in Asian football after taken over by real estate tycoon Xu Jiayin in 2010. The team now consists of the backbone of Chinese national teams, supplemented by some big names like playmaker Dario Conca from Argentina and Paraguayan striker Lucas Barrios.
The Chinese team is eyeing the ACL title after winning all major titles in home country. It made a decent debut at the Champions League last year but was stormed out in the quarterfinals after a 4-5 aggregate loss to Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia.
Guangzhou will play Lekhwiya at home on Aug 21 for the first leg of the quarterfinal before heading to Qatari capital of Doha for the second round.
Speaking after the drawing ceremony at AFC house in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, Lekhwiya manager Ahmad Khalil admitted that Guanzhou is a strong team, but he vowed for a fight against the Chinese champion.
Lekhwiya topped Group B at the group stage before defeating Saudi side Al Hilal by 3-2 on aggregate in the round of 16.
If Guangzhou make through the quarterfinal, it will face the winner between Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia and Japanese team Kashiwa Reysol in the semifinal.
Meanwhile, last year's runner-up Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia will face Korean champions FC Seoul while Iranian giants Esteghlal will face Buriram United from Thailand in the other two quarterfinals.