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Time to take over

By Qiu Quanlin  (China Daily)

10:19, April 25, 2012

As if it didn't have enough to do, Guangzhou Evergrande found time to climb into first place. Stars and standings

The defending Chinese Super League champion moved to the top of the table for the first time this season, defeating Changchun Yatai 4-0 at home on Sunday.

It came in the middle of tight schedules both in the domestic and Asian champions competitions.

"We are not done," said coach Lee Jang-soo. "We should take each game ahead seriously because we still feel the pressure."

Lee had to introduce a rotation at the beginning of the season because of the busy schedule, which affected the team's performance the last several games.

Several players, including Rong Hao and Jiang Ning, have not played recently because of injuries.

"As you can see, we are improving now from the loss to city rival Guangzhou R&F and the draw with Guizhou Renhe in the domestic league at the beginning of the season to consecutive wins with big margins both in the domestic and Asian competitions," Lee said.

Brazilian striker Cleo scored the opening goal at the 28th minute against Changchun Yatai after receiving a superb cross pass from Muriqui, who added a goal at the 78th minute.

Dario Conca's two goals in the second half sealed the victory.

Lee had planned to leave Muriqui on the bench.

"But all anybody on the team wanted was to win the game against Changchun, which was the only team that we did not beat last season," Lee said.

After Guangzhou Evergrande's 3-1 victory over Japan's Kashiwa Reysol in the AFC Champions League last Tuesday, former Chinese striker Li Yi suggested Muriqui should join the Chinese national team.

"Muriqui, please join the Chinese nationality," Li wrote on his microblog.

Muriqui had a superb performance in the AFC Champions League game, creating a penalty and scoring twice.

"It is not my job to pick a foreign player to join the Chinese national team," Lee said. "It should be decided by the national team coach.

"I would like to focus on the Chinese players on my team. They also play very well, and they are capable of playing for the national team. For example, you can see that our defenders did not lose a goal tonight."

Changchun Yatai coach Svetozar Sablic also spoke highly of players from the home side.

"They have many national team players," he said. "It is no wonder they are now in the top position.

"If they keep the attacking momentum they had in today's game, they will move further in the AFC Champions League."

The former Serbia and Cyprus coach replaced Chinese coach Shen Xiangfu in November. Changchun Yatai ranks 11th in the 16-team league with two wins, two draws and two losses.


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