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The Italian boss is on the brink of history as his Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande play Seoul in the second-leg final of the AFC Champions League

By Craig Turnbull

Guangzhou Evergrande coach Marcello Lippi is only 90 minutes away from making history when his side take on Seoul in the AFC Champions League final second leg on Saturday.

The Italian would be the first coach to win both the Uefa Champions League, which he did with Juventus in 1996, and the Asian equivalent as well as lifting the World Cup with Italy in 2006.

Lippi says that claiming the title would mean equally as much to him as his success with the Bianconeri.

GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE'S RUN TO FINAL
Club   Round Score (agg)
C.C Mariners L16 5-1
Lekhwiya QF 6-1
K Reysol SF 8-1
"There is no difference between this honour and any others. It would really be a great satisfaction. If I have to differentiate, the only thing higher is the World Cup win of 2006 as it is the most difficult to achieve," he told reporters.

"I am very satisfied with the career I have had up to now. However, a career is not always full of success and there have been many disappointments at the same time.

"I will quote Michael Jordan: 'I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.' I have tried to come back from my mistakes and to succeed, so I hope we will claim the title tomorrow."

The 65-year-old has won numerous trophies in a highly successful coaching career which spans over 30 years, but not even the top rung of coaching class such as Jock Stein, Sir Alex Ferguson, Ottmar Hitzfeld or Spain's Vicente del Bosque can lay claim to this unique feat of Lippi's if Guangzhou win.

In order to do so, his Chinese outfit need only a 1-1 or goalless finish this weekend following a 2-2 draw against Seoul in the first leg of the final in Korea.

And Lippi is hoping for a partisan crowd expected to be over 50,000 to be the difference on Saturday.

"Obviously it will not be easy and it will be hard for both," he continued. "Both have the capability and the will to win, but we hopefully can count on the fans to guide us to victory tomorrow night."

Few would have imagined the rise of Evergrande following their relegation to the second tier in China after being found guilty of match fixing in 2010.

However, an injection of $70 million (€52m) from real-estate company Evergrande has helped rejuvenate the stricken club and enabled them to bring in talent such as Argentine playmaker Dario Conca and Brazilians Muriqui and Elkesen, as well as a influx of players from China's national team.

Guangzhou have dominated Chinese football in recent years and secured their third consecutive Chinese Super League title in October, finishing 18 points ahead of Shandong Luneng.

The Asian Champions league is where they have been challenged but after finishing top of Group F, the results have been impressive, dispatching of Australian, Qatari and Japanese outfits.

A victory against Seoul would not only seal their place in the Club World Cup in December and make them the first Chinese team in 23 years to win Asia's biggest tournament following Liaoning's triumph in 1990, but lay claim to them being a real force in Asian football.

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