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Evergrande players react to second title win

Guangzhou Evergrande secured the 2012 Chinese Super League title on Saturday afternoon with a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Liaoning Whowin, thanks to a magnificent 20-yard effort from Chinese forward Gao Lin.

The victory wins the club their second successive league crown with a match to spare and, in the midst of some cringe-worthy staged celebratory events* that somewhat detracted from the player’s post-match joy, the club’s players took time to give their thoughts on another season and another title for China’s leading football club.

(*For reasons unknown, the club saw fit to arrange for [non-local] Chinese singer Han Hong to parade round the outside of the pitch on a bus singing a selection of her hit songs, before presenting the side to a series of officials for some rather straight-faced celebrations)

Goalscoring hero Gao Lin told on-pitch reporters post-match: “This is for our Guangzhou Evergrande supporter friends, thank you for your support. It was the reward of our hard work. I am extremely happy and hope I can have many more performances like this.”

For manager Marcello Lippi it was a case of looking to the future: “The opposition’s striking duo were threatening, therefore I made some changes to the team and 3-5-2 gave us better defensive quality. This is my 6th title, I’ve won five titles before (World Cup, 5x Serie A, Champions League, Coppa Italia, Intercontinental Cup) and I hope to lead this team to more glory. I was hurt by the Champions League exit, but we will try again next year.”

Argentine midfield playmaker Dario Conca told Lancenet!: “I’m glad to have played for teams that fight for titles and this is now my third league title in a row [following winning the 2010 Brasileirão with Fluminense]. I have become used to big challenges and I want more in my career. Titles are the most important thing an athlete can earn.”

Key defender Feng Xiaoting spoke of the strains caused by the side’s challenge in three competitions: “We have had a lot of matches recently and I, myself, am playing through injury. This will influence performance, but we still need to make sure these minor injuries don’t have a big effect – especially in these important games. I was a little surprised by Lippi’s substitutions, however before the game we practiced 4-4-2, as well as 3-5-2. Whatever formation we play, our style is to attack. Furthermore, we eventually won the game. Our aim is to win the double. Although Guizhou are also good opponents, we still believe we will be champions. My wife and child came to support me in this match, I want to thank them and hope they come for the FA Cup final also, to see us win the cup. We need to do better in the Champions League next year, our aim is to be champions.”

Midfielder Zhao Xuri hopes that the close title race will attract move people to watch the Chinese Super League: “Everyone can see that the game was very tight, while this year’s title race was also very close. The title has only come in the penultimate round. This is a great advert for Chinese football. I hope more supporters will start to watch the Super League. We need to put in effort [ahead of FA Cup], I hope we can beat Guizhou and win the double.”

Goalkeeper Li Shuai added to his coach’s sentiments that the triumph is just another step towards further glory: “This is only the beginning, Evergrande still have more titles to win. We still have to push on. We will fight for another title [v Guizhou in Chinese FA Cup], I guarantee that Evergrande will be double winners.”


Several players also took to social media site Weibo to celebrate victory:


Suspended defender Zhang Linpeng: “At this time there is only one thing to say: We are the champions!”

Substituted forward Jiang Ning: “Champions…it feels great…Champions…it feels great…Champions…it feels great”

Defender Feng Xiaoting paid tribute to his family once more: “So emotional. To my wife and daughter, I love you both.”

Full-back Rong Hao, celebrating his first title: “Come and congratulate us! Thanks to my team-mates and the squad for their effort. Even bigger thanks to those fans who gave us so much support. Thank you.”

Guangdong native midfielder Wu Pingfeng added: “To have your support while playing at home, it’s indescribable. The championship has returned here once again. Next year we will make it three in a row and continue to fight for the the Asian Champions League.”

National team midfielder Zhao Xuri: “Boom!! We are the Champions! Boom!! Guangzhou are the Champions!”

Starting goalkeeper Li Shuai messaged his fans and father: “Tonight belongs to all Guangzhou Evergrande supporters!!! We are the champions!!! Happy birthday Dad,  this is the best present I can give you.”

Absent through injury, Brazilian midfielder Muriqui simply added in English: “Congratulations”

Based in Guangzhou, Christopher covers Chinese football for a range of media outlets worldwide and is Wild East Football's lead editor for news content.   His work can regularly be seen on ESPN FC, Bleacher Report and Hupu amongst other media outlets, while he has interviewed a number of leading figures in Chinese football.



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