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AFC Champions League

ACL2020: Who are JDT's opponent - Guangzhou Evergrande

12:42 pm AEDT 12/12/19
Fabio Cannavaro, Guangzhou Evergrande
All you need to know about JDT's Group G rival in ACL2020 Guangzhou Evergrande, their coach, their stadium, their history and the stars of their team.

Goal brings to you the lowdown on China's representative in the 2020 AFC Champions League, Guangzhou Evergrande who Johor Darul Ta'zim will face in Group G.


Founded in 1954 as Guangzhou FC and over the years have gone through several transformations which has seen them being known as Guangzhou Apollo and Guangzhou GPC before becoming Guangzhou Evergrande.

Their current ownership is majority owned by Evergrande Real Estate Group and Alibaba Group who took advantage of a match-fixing scandal involving the club back in 2010 to take control of the club.

Since then, the Evergrande group have flexed their significant financial muscle in the player market by bringing in big names like Dario Conca, Lucas Barrios, Alessandro Diamanti, Robinho and Jackson Martinez.

The coaching staff at the club is also a list of who's who in world football with Marcello Lippi and Luis Felipe Scolari both having spent their time in charge of the club between 2012 to 2017.


Guangzhou play their home football at Tianhe Stadium which is located in Guangdong province which is the most populated province in China. The stadium has a capacity of 58,856 and uses a grass surface.

The stadium was built back in 1987 and has played host to the FIFA Women's World Cup (1991) as well as the final of the Asian Games (2010).

Titles & Trophies

Guangzhou are on an incredible run not unlike JDT as they have picked up the Chinese Super League title in eight of the last nine seasons, starting from 2011 to 2019. When they did not win it in 2018, they still only finished in second place.

Twice Chinese FA Cup champions in 2012 and 2016. All of which made Guangzhou and ever-present team in the AFC Champions League, qualifying for the tournament every year since 2013.

They are also twice winners of the biggest prize in club football in Asia, beating FC Seoul in 2013 and Al-Ahli in 2015 to rightly claim to be the best club side in Asia in those two years.


It's the recognisable figure of Fabio Cannavaro, a maestro centre back in his playing days who have won Laliga titles with Real Madrid but most famously lifted the World Cup for Italy in 2006, a feat that earned him the Ballon d'Or that year.

Now in his second spell with Guangzhou having first managed them back in 2014 but that association only lasted seven months. His subsequent success with Tianjin Quanjin paved the way for a return to Guangzhou in November 2017.

Big pressures are heaped on the Italian's shoulders and he was temporarily put in the cold when he was sent for 'corporate culture training' in October but returned to the team to lead them to the 2019 title in December.

The squad

Decisions will have to be made by Cannavaro and his coaching team for the 2020 season and changes may still happen to their squad before they take on JDT but one would imagine the World Cup winner sticking with a majority of the players that have won him the Chinese championship.

Star of that team is undoubtedly captain Zheng Zhi who is the heartbeat of the team. Winger Gao Lin is another highly experienced member of the squad and Guangzhou have the Brazilian duo of Paulinho and Anderson Talisca in their ranks. While newly naturalised Elkeson offers the big striking threat up front.

When will they play JDT

19 February 2020, JDT v Guangzhou, Sultan Ibrahim Stadium/Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium

5 May 2020, Guangzhou v JDT, Tianhe Stadium

What do they think of JDT

Gao Lin - "Johor was previously in the same group as Shandong and potentially is one of our rivals for the Round of 16 and we already have some knowledge and analysis done on Johor. The communication between Chinese and Malaysian football will also be facilitated by such a match at the highest stage of Asian football." 


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