Advancing no consolation for Lippi
Updated: 2013-04-26 02:30
By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily)
Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds defender Tomoaki Makino (left) fights for the ball against Guangzhou Evergrande forward Lucas Barrios during their AFC Champions League group match on Wednesday. Urawa won, 3-2, but Evergrande advanced to the next round. JIJI PRESS / Agence France-Presse
A loss did not stop Guangzhou Evergrande from advancing to the next round of the AFC Champions League. But head coach Marcello Lippi let his frustration show in Japan, and was sent to the stands for kicking a water bottle as his team suffered a 3-2 loss at the Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday evening.
Lippi, who led Italy to win the World Cup in 2006, did not make any public comments, nor did he appear at the post-match news conference.
It's not the first time the silver-haired Italian has been punished since he took the job last May.
On Oct 3, Lippi was suspended for a match and fined 100,000 yuan ($16,000) by the club for offensive remarks to a referee after a Chinese Super League match.
He was also fined 20,000 yuan on Aug 30, 2012 for not attending a news conference after Guangzhou ended a goal-less draw against Tianjin Teda in the domestic league.
"Lippi should really know what Chinese soccer is. He should quickly adapt to the Asian soccer environment," said Xie Liang, a veteran soccer commentator with Radio Guangdong.
Guangzhou lost in the last eight of the AFC Champions League last year.
But Lippi said on various occasions he wanted to enhance his legacy on the international stage by claiming a title in the Asian continental competition.
"He is more anxious than any other managers and players from the club to win the AFC Champions League game. So he let his frustration show after the loss to the Japanese side," Xie said.
Lucas Barrios opened the scoring for Guangzhou in the 36th minute, but second-half goals from Shinzo Koroki, Yuki Abe and Marcio Richardes earned the Japanese side its second win in the group, despite a late controversial goal from Muriqui.
"Lippi might not be satisfied with the referee, who had a controversial performance in the game," Xie said.
Defender Zhang Linpeng was also sent off for an off-the-ball incident with Urawa substitute Nobuhisa Yamada in injury time.
"As a World Cup winner, Lippi should know errors by the referee are to be expected, given that Asian soccer still lags behind in the referees' performance and Chinese players are quick to lose control of their tempers," Xie said.
The dramatic events on Wednesday evening could still have consequences for the Guangzhou side, with Zhang and Lippi both facing bans for next week's game with South Korean Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors as they aim to hang on to the top spot in the group and gain an easier last-16 draw.
"Guangzhou has improved a lot both in the domestic and Asian competitions. But loosing control of their tempers … will ruin their efforts in advancing in the AFC Champions League," Xie said.
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