Scolari backs Mei Fang to perform

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Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has played down the absence of key defender Kim Young-gwon for Saturday's first-leg AFC Champions League final against Al Ahli.

Kim will miss the meeting at Rashid Stadium after picking up a second yellow card in the semi-final second leg draw with Japan’s Gamba Osaka, and Mei Fang has been drafted in as a replacement.

The defender will partner Feng Xiaoting in the centre of Scolari’s defence, and the coach is confident he will deliver.

“I have confidence in Mei Fang and I am pretty sure he will have an awesome performance,” said Scolari.

“I have a very good impression of Al Ahli especially in the semi-final. They are well prepared and well organised and they have very good players with good skills.”

Scolari admitted to his team still feeling the effects of travel, having only arrived in Dubai on Tuesday evening.

“This time our preparation was different as we had a long time travelling and we are a little jet lagged,” he said.

“But we have had a good welcome and good hospitality and we are happy to be here and our team is well prepared.

“In my career, I have won the World Cup and played in South American championships and European championships, and now it would be my honour to add the Asian championship.”