Diego Souza helps Al-Ittihad edge past Guangzhou in the AFC Champions League
Diego Souza's Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) edged through to the semi-final of the Asian Champions League yesterday, despite losing 2-1 to Dario Conca's Guangzhou Evergrande in the quarterfinal second-leg to go through 5-4 on aggregate in a tie that had a real South American feel.
The former Vasco da Gama playmaker, 27, had scored in the 4-2 first-leg victory for Al-Ittihad in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but it was his South American counterparts, Paraguay's Lucas Barrios and Argentine Dario Conca, who go on the scoresheet this time but it wasn’t enough for Guangzhou.
"I am very happy to have helped Al-Ittihad to get a spot in the semifinals of the Champions League. The whole group was very focused on getting through and we prepared a lot for this game," Diego Souza told Globo Esporte.
Guangzhou manager Marcelo Lippi bemoaned his side’s lack of cutting edge. He said: "We have 9 or 10 chances to score, we hit the bar and the post several times, football sometimes is cruel, even unfair.
"This was Ittihad's only chance, and they grabbed it, I have more than 80 matches in charge of my team at the champions league in Europe in my career, and I have lucky days and unlucky ones, I have to admit today is not my day," Lippi said.
"I am sure we are the best team in China, but we need to be more patient to reach the top of the Asia and the top of the world. Our players worked hard in the whole year and they get improved quickly. We need to play more collectively and more aggressively if we want to be top of the world," the 64-year old Italian added.