Guangzhou set for FC Tokyo test

Guangzhou Evergrande's Marcello Lippi faces his first major hurdle against Japan's Emperor's Cup winners FC Tokyo in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

Football News: Dario Conca, Guangzhou Evergrande

The meeting with FC Tokyo will represent only Lippi's third game in charge after succeeding Korean coach Lee Jang-Soo, who was replaced after AFC Champions League debutants Guangzhou recorded a dramatic 2-1 win over Thailand's Buriram United two weeks ago to qualify for the last 16 as Group H winners.

Argentinian midfielder Dario Conca struck the stoppage time penalty against Buriram as Guangzhou topped the table ahead of J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol, but Lee's departure was confirmed less than 24 hours after the final whistle in Thailand.

Lippi, who won the UEFA Champions League with Italy's Juventus in 1996, has made an unbeaten start to his Guangzhou reign with Friday's 1-1 draw with Shandong Luneng following on from a 1-0 win over Qingdao Jonoon just days after his appointment.

And the draw with Shandong leaves the defending Chinese Super League champions two points clear at the top of the standings after extending their unbeaten run to three games in all competitions.

Conca's strike against Buriram took the two-time Brazilian league Player of the Year's AFC Champions League tally to five in six games, while Brazilian duo Cleo and Muriqui have each contributed three goals.

Goalkeeper Yang Jun is eligible to return against FC Tokyo after missing the victory over Buriram through suspension with Li Shuai taking over the duties between the posts, although midfielder Qin Sheng picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in Thailand and is ruled out.

FC Tokyo, meanwhile, head to China following a 1-1 draw with Urawa Reds on Saturday which left Ranko Popovic's side sixth in the J.League - the highest of Japan's four AFC Champions League qualifiers.

The Emperor's Cup winners missed out on topping Group F after losing 1-0 to Ulsan Hyundai on Matchday Six, although the AFC Champions League debutants had already secured qualification with the defeat in Korea representing their first failure in the Group Stage having won three and drawn two of their opening five games.

Also on Wednesday, Ulsan will look to make full use of their home advantage against J.League champions Kashiwa to advance to the quarter-finals for a second time having reached the last four in 2009.

Coach Kim Ho-gon, who saw his side lose 2-1 at home to Gangwon in the K-League on Saturday, will be able to call upon Akihiro Ienaga against Kashiwa after the Japanese midfielder missed the win over FC Tokyo due to suspension.

Tournament debutants Kashiwa had briefly moved to the top of Group H and were heading into the last 16 as group winners following their 2-0 win over last year's beaten finalists Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Matchday Six, but after Conca's dramatic late winner against Buriram, Kashiwa were forced to settle for second place and a trip to Korea.

Last year's J.League Player of the Year Leandro Domingues, along with Junya Tanaka, scored as Kashiwa ended the hopes of 2006 champions Jeonbuk and the Brazilian midfielder is Reysol's leading scorer in the competition with four goals in six games.

And Kashiwa head to Korea on a high after recording a 2-0 win over Albirex Niigata on Saturday, although the defending champions sit down in 12th place in the J.League table and already 10 points off the pace.



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