Guangzhou deserve to be champions - Lippi

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Guangzhou Evergrande won the AFC Champions League title on away goals following a 3-3 draw on aggregate with FC Seoul.

 Guangzhou Evergrande won the AFC Champions League title on away goals following a 3-3 draw on aggregate with FC Seoul.

Marcello Lippi insisted Guangzhou Evergrande deserved to be crowned AFC Champions League winners despite the three-time domestic champions ending China's 23-year wait for a second continental title with an away goals success over FC Seoul.

Brazilian Elkeson finally broke the deadlock just before the hour mark at Tianhe Stadium to hand Guangzhou the advantage following last month's 2-2 draw in Seoul.

And despite FC Seoul's Montenegrin striker Dejan Damjanovic earning the visitors a 1-1 draw, Guangzhou followed in the footsteps of 1990 Asian Club Championship winners Liaoning to become continental champions for the first time.

"You should look at the Round of 16 when we beat the Australian team 2-1 and then 3-0. Then we went off to Qatar and we beat them there and beat them at home. We beat Kashiwa 4-1 away and then beat them 4-0 at home, so obviously I think you should recognise that we deserve to be champions this year," said Lippi.

"I would like to personally justify this by saying that I lost a UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan and they hadn't won any of their previous three Champions League matches, they drew them all and we lost on penalties. They won and became champions of the UEFA Champions League.

"Anything can happen but I think this year in all of Asia throughout this year we are the team that deserves this the most," added the Italian, who is the first coach to win both the UEFA and AFC Champions League titles having won the European equivalent in 1996 with Juventus

Guangzhou dominated the first half of the second leg having claimed a draw in last month's first leg thanks to goals from Elkeson and Gao Lin, but Lippi's side were unable to add to their advantage to ease the nerves of the majority of the 42,584 crowd.

But two minutes before the hour mark Guangzhou finally broke the deadlock as Muriqui's perfectly weighted through ball sent Elkeson clear and the Brazilian coolly slipped the ball past Kim Yong-dae from inside the area.

And despite the lead lasting just four minutes as Damjanovic swept home from the edge of the penalty area, Guangzhou held on to win their first AFC crown having lost in the quarter-finals on their debut appearance in the competition last year.

"Everything went as we planned. We started off very well in the first half and created a lot of opportunities, but the goal didn't come," said Guangzhou's 65-year-old Italian World Cup-winning coach.

"In the second half, we scored the goal through Muriqui and Elkeson and they had some chances too, but they weren't able to score. When they did score it was a pretty dangerous situation for us because it made the game 50-50 for us and we were pretty worried. But in the end we won this trophy and I think we deserved it."

And despite being unable to add to his 13 AFC Champions League goals in the final, Brazilian striker Muriqui was named as the tournament's MVP and leading goalscorer.

"This was a tough match because the competition is fierce and the opposition was tough," said Muriqui following the final.

"In the last game in Korea we played out a 2-2 draw and that laid a solid foundation for us to come back to Guangzhou.

"We had an advantage playing the second leg here and we took advantage of that. We played with our own style and we won."

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