- Associated Press - Saturday, November 7, 2015

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Guangzhou Evergrande takes the advantage back to China for the second leg of the Asian Champions League final after a scoreless first leg with Al Ahli on Saturday.

Guangzhou will host the second leg in two weeks, with a good chance of winning its second Asian Champions League in three years.

Coach Felipe Luiz Scolari downplayed any advantage, however.

“If we still play like this, it will be difficult for us, we did not play well tonight,” Scolari said. “Tonight is a fair result, as I did not see our team create a lot of chances.”

Mei Fang replaced the suspended Kim Young-gwon in defense in the only change to Guangzhou from the semifinals, and they edged the attack in the first half.

Zheng Zhi’s dipping volley from outside the area was only just tipped over the crossbar by a hand from Al Ahli goalkeeper Ahmed Mahmoud midway through the first half.

First-time finalist Al Ahli, unchanged from its thrilling semifinal defeat of Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, began to impose itself closer to the interval, and midfielder Ismail Al Hammadi’s cracking shot was turned around the post by fully stretched Guangzhou goalie Zeng Cheng.

Barely 40 seconds into the new half, midfielder Huang Bowen beat Mahmoud but struck the underside of the crossbar, and the ball rebounded away safely.

Just before the hour, Guangzhou’s Ricardo Goulart, the Asian Champions League leading scorer, suffered an ankle injury that threatens to keep him out of the second leg. He was replaced by Yu Hanchao, who almost broke the deadlock midway through the second spell when his quick shot in the area was fended off by Mahmoud.

Al Ahli finished with 10 men when full-back Abdulaziz Haikal was sent off for fouling striker Gao Lin off the ball.



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