FC Barcelona v Guangzhou Evergrande : Predicted lineups
Barça are venturing into the competition on the back of three frustrating draws. The points dropped away to Valencia and also at home to Deportivo have allowed Atlético Madrid to level with them in La Liga, while the 1-1 tie at Bayer Leverkusen was less agonizing, as the defending European champions already had made through into the last sixteen round of the Champions League as group winners of the stage.
Guangzhou Evergrande have already won their fifth consecutive Chinese Super League and also qualified for the Club World Cup after being victorious in their second Asian Champions League title by defeating Al-Ahli of Dubai back in November. The Southern China Tigers then gave a surprise by defeating the strong opponent Club América 2-1 in the quarter finals. The Mexicans led 1-0 til the 80th minute but Zheng Long then equalised and Paulinho netted a dramatic winner in the third minute of the injury time.
Guangzhou Evergrande possess one of the most respectable coaches in the world controlling the ongoing from the side-lines, Brazilian veteran Luiz Felipe Scolari, who remarked on Wednesday “Barça are one of the best teams in the world, but we know our own qualities. We have the dedication, the intelligence and we will put in a good performance … I have respect for Barça but I have confidence in us.”
Neymar received a groin injury in training last week and is trying his utmost to be able to play in the Club World Cup.
His injury is the chief problem on Barcelona’s mind appearing into the game, but they were motivated by good news just the day before the game.
Of course, FC Barcelona, as the current champions of Europe, will be non-debatable favourite in any match they take on and are odds-on to defeat Luiz Felipe Scolari‘s Chinese Super League and the Asian Champions League winners.
Guangzhou also boost the presence of two more interesting Brazilians among their team number, in the former Tottenham man Paulinho and of course, ex-Real Madrid star Robinho.