Conca eyes redemption in ACL final

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is eyeing redemption in tomorrow’s AFC Champions League second leg decider against FC Seoul.

Conca is eyeing redemption in tomorrow's AFC Champions League second leg decider against FC Seoul.

Having already experienced heartbreak in the final of a continental club competition, Guangzhou Evergrande playmaker Dario Conca has more determination than most ahead of Saturday's AFC Champions League decider against FC Seoul.

Argentinian Conca missed his side's first penalty in the shootout as Brazil's Fluminense eventually lost the final of the 2008 Copa Libertadores– South American's Champions League – to Ecuador's Liga de Quito.

But with Chinese champions Guangzhou heading into the weekend's AFC Champions League final second leg at Tianhe Stadium seemingly in charge of the tie following a 2-2 draw in Seoul last month, Conca is hoping to use his experience to ensure Marcello Lippi's side do not suffer the same fate.

"It's an important factor because if you have had previous experience in these kind of global games it does help going into the second match," said Conca, who joined Guangzhou in a high-profile move from Fluminense midway through the 2011 season.

"In my opinion, the first match is used to get to know the opponent in detail and then the second match you plan out the whole match in order to win it.

"The experience I had previously will help out with this second leg."

Conca has again been central to Guangzhou's success this year, and having helped the Chinese Super League side reach the quarter-finals on their debut AFC Champions League appearance last year, the 30-year-old two-time Brazilian Player of the Year scored eight goals for Lippi's side en route to the final.

"Last year's experience has helped us a lot. It's hard to feel very important when it's your first time playing in a tournament, but when you get there again the next year and in the years to come, then you start to feel as if you are part of a group of very high level teams worldwide and this is something that is very positive for our team," he added.

"It has helped us a lot and hopefully it will go our way this year."

Conca did see his five-game AFC Champions League scoring streak end at Seoul World Cup Stadium as Elkeson and Gao Lin struck to hand Guangzhou two potentially valuable away goals as Lippi's side seek to become the first Chinese side to win any continental title since Liaoning landed the 1990 Asian Club Championship.

"It's a very important match and much more difficult than the first match because both teams know each other so there's more to play with," he said.

"But we're not going to hold back, we're going to put all our effort into the game and it's going to be very entertaining and a lot of fun but there is always that level of seriousness that's going to present.

"It's going to be amazing to be at home because this is our place, we know the field and we have our fans to support us and this is our stadium and it's going to be something positive for us.

"In the end, it's not the biggest factor that will influence the result of the match; it's up to us to do our work and to put 100% effort into winning the game."

Unlike Conca, Italian World Cup-winning coach Lippi has already tasted success at the continental level after guiding Juventus to the 1996 UEFA Champions League title and the Argentinian believes the 65-year-old's arrival midway through last year has been a significant factor in the club's success.

"He has a big influence on our team due to the great experience he has gained throughout his career," said Conca.

"We trust his opinions, we trust his way of coaching us, so it's up to us to put all of these factors into what we do on the field and show him that we're capable of following such a great coach."

Guangzhou had already secured a third consecutive Super League crown prior to last month's first leg, but still wrapped up the domestic campaign with a 5-0 win over relegated Wuhan last weekend with Elkeson, Conca and Gao all on target.

Lippi opted to only leave out AFC Champions League leading scorer Muriqui and right-back Zhang Linpeng against Wuhan, although both are expected to feature against FC Seoul with Guangzhou set to name the same side for a fourth consecutive game in the competition.

FC Seoul, meanwhile, arrived in Guangzhou on Thursday following a morale-boosting 2-1 win over cross-town rivals Suwon Bluewings in the K-League last weekend thanks to two goals from Montenegrin striker Dejan Damjanovic.

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