Barrios faces axe despite score

Updated: 2013-05-17 13:40

By Qiu Quanlin (

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Despite a goal that helped ensure an away victory for Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday, Lucas Barrios may be dropped from the squad if the Chinese Super League champion advances to the next round of the AFC Champions League.

Before the first leg of the AFC Champions League round-of-16 encounter, Barrios, who was transferred from Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund to Evergrande last May, had not scored in the past four matches in the domestic league and had only two goals for his efforts in the premier Asian competition.

The Paraguay international’s lack of form has led to speculation he may be replaced by Brazilian striker Elkeson, who has scored 13 goals in just eight CSL games.

But Barrios has apparently not given up hope of continuing on in the AFC CL. His goal in the second half, plus another from teammate Muriqui, helped the Guangzhou side come up with a 2-1 win against Australian team Central Coast Mariners on Wednesday in Gosford.

Head coach Marcello Lippi praised Barrios for his performance.

“He showed a good effort. All our players did a very good job today,” Lippi said.

However, the Italian coach said in an earlier interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is considering changes to the squad, including promoting Elkeson, if his team advances to the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

Under AFC regulations, each team is allowed to change its squad before the quarterfinals.

“We have the chance to use more powerful players if we move further. So I will make a decision … before the quarterfinal,” he said.

Barrios has two games ahead of the AFC Champions League quarterfinal – one in the domestic league against Liaoning Whowin on Saturday and the other against the Australian side next week.

“For me, Elkeson is more of a gift. He doesn’t need to prove himself in the domestic league, he just needs to score more goals, as a reward for me,” Lippi said after a domestic league win against Guangzhou R&F, in which the Brazilian scored twice.

Elkeson joined the Chinese club in January after being recommended by Lippi’s son.

“I decided to introduce him after watching videos of his games. And now he has become an integral part of the team,” said the manager.

Regarding the second leg of the AFC Champions League round-of-16 encounter at the Tianhe Stadium next Wednesday, Lippi said victory away had ensured his team would enter the clash in a confident frame of mind.

“We had two goals away. Actually, we had chances to do even better, both Barrios and Muriqui wasted wonderful opportunities. I hope we can finish the round with a good result,” he said.