The first quarter-final of the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013 sees the winners of the Asian and African Champions League battle it out for a place in the last four of the competition – and a showdown with German giants FC Bayern Munchen.
Guangzhou Evergrande FC – Al-Ahly SC, Agadir Stadium, Saturday 14 December, 16:00 (local time)
After three consecutive Chinese titles, Guangzhou qualified for the Club World Cup by virtue of their maiden AFC Champions League win and are now determined to cause a stir in Morocco. Although this is Guangzhou’s first appearance at the tournament, coach Marcello Lippi, who guided Italy to victory in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, is a veteran of world football and has assembled a team featuring both international stars, such as Dario Conca, Elkeson and Muriqui, as well as several Chinese internationals.
By contrast, Guangzhou’s opponents Al-Ahly are vastly more experienced at this level. This is the Egyptians’ fifth Club World Cup appearance and they are hoping to improve on their best-ever finish of third – at Japan 2006 – in Morocco this year. Al-Ahly also faced Asian opposition in the 2012 quarter-finals. Twelve months ago, the CAF Champions League winners qualified for the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
11 – Mohamed Aboutrika, Hossam Ashour and Wael Gomaa have made more Club World Cup appearances than any other player in the tournament’s history. The Al-Ahly trio could make their eleventh appearance against Guangzhou.
"They (Al-Ahly) are obviously a good team, well-organized. They're physically and mentally prepared for the match. It will be a tough game for both of us, but hopefully we can make it through to meet Bayern. They are, without a doubt, the best team in the world today,” Guangzhou coach Marcello Lippi.
“Guangzhou are a very special opponent. They won the Asian Champions League for the first time, have a very strong team and one of the most famous and experienced coaches in the world. We’re prepared and have just as good a chance of progressing as they have. Our objective is to reach the next round,” Al-Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef.