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Brazilian forward Elkeson scored the match and tournament winning-goal as Guangzhou Evergrande claimed the 2015 AFC Champions League title by seeing off ten-man Al Ahli 1-0 at the Tianhe Stadium, having shared spoils in a goalless stalemate in the first leg. The results saw the Chinese Super League champions clinch their second Asian silverware in three years having tasted their maiden continental success in 2013.

By doing so, Luiz Felipe Scolari's side became just the second team to win the continental showpiece twice in its current guise after Al Ittihad who won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. For Guangzhou, even more exciting is the fact that they will represent Asia in their second FIFA World Cup at Japan 2015 this December, where they open their campaign with a mouth-watering match against Mexican side Club America in the quarter-finals.

“I want to congratulate all our fans as well the entire Chinese people as we are again on the top of Asia,” said an excited Elkeson, who earned the player of the match award. “We stayed focused throughout despite all the challenges facing us. The team have a good understanding between us and we are coached by an ambitious manager in [Luiz Felipe] Scolari. So the victory came naturally.”

"It was not an easy campaign for us this year," midfielder Huang Bowen added. "The opponents are stronger and sometimes we had to play with an under-strength team due to our growing injury list. It was the team’s unity and spirit that finally carried us through."

Guangzhou get going
As in the first-leg meeting in Dubai, Guangzhou proved the brighter side in the opening half. Spurred on by the home supporters in a packed Tianhe Stadium, the home side were the first to attack with Elkeson cutting into the area only to fail to control the ball.

The visitors tried their luck through a number of counter-attacks, with Everton Ribeiro flashing a shot wide. But Guangzhou maintained pressure on their opponents and came close to opening the scoring when Elkeson, one of the seven players who started in the second leg of the 2013 final when they prevailed with a 1-1 home draw against FC Seoul, sent a vicious cross into the area. First to it was Ricardo Goulart, who forced keeper Ahmed Mahmoud into action with a lightning strike from an acute angle.

While struggling to keep the hosts at bay, Al Ahli went forward at will. Lima broke down the right before stinging Guangzhou 'keeper Zeng Cheng's hands with a powerful drive. However, it was Guangzhou that went closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening period, with midfielder Zheng Long turning well and flashing a thunderous strike inches wide of the left post.

Guangzhou were forced into switching goalkeepers with Li Shuai replacing Zeng Cheng who was forced off with a foot injury. In the remainder of the first period, Al Ahli had Mahmoud to thank as the custodian repeatedly frustrated the hosts attackers. 


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