Zhi confident ahead of final against Al Ahli

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Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi expressed his desire to win the AFC Champions League this year, ahead of their final first leg against Al Ahli at the Rashid Stadium on Saturday.

Wanting a repeat of 2013, when they beat FC Seoul on away goals to win the AFC Champions League, Zhi explained that despite their changes to the management and their style of play over the past couple years, they have still kept the nucleus of the team intact to secure more trophies.

"This is the second time we have played in the final and everyone is more experienced both physically and mentally because we played before, so we have more confidence this time," he told the official AFC website.

"This is a different period with different coaches and a different style, but the only thing in common is that we have the confidence that we are capable of winning this championship like we did in 2013.

"The only major difference is that the team in 2013 was more attacking, and the current team is more stable."

Led by Marcello Lippi at the time, Zhi, along with Huang Bowen, Feng Xiaoting, Zhang Linpeng, goalkeeper Zeng Cheng and Korea Republic international defender Kim Young-gwon, are the only survivors from the 2013 team that won the Champions League.

On their opposition, the 35-year-old added that even though the team is confident, they will not underestimate the United Arab Emirates-based side.

"Al Ahli is a good team, although we don't have as much experience before with this team," said Zhi.

"They have good attackers so we should focus from the first minute to the last minute.

"An away goal is very important for us, and also defence is also very important for us, so firstly, we don’t want to concede a goal, and then we want to score one away goal and that will build a very good foundation for the second leg."