Scolari optimistic but cautious

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Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has refused to rest on his laurels following a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Kashiwa Reysol in the first leg of the AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The away victory puts Evergrande in a strong position ahead of the second leg at the Guangzhou Tianhe Sport Center on September 15, but Scolari says he will not underestimate their Japanese opponents.

“It was an exciting game and both teams were very strong. We were able to make good decisions on the pitch and that was the main difference, but the result of the first leg is not decisive in this kind of competition,” Scolari told the Asian Football Confederation website.

“I am very confident about my team's performance in the second leg, but I also respect Kashiwa and we will not underestimate them.

“I think Kashiwa is the strongest opponent I have faced in my 12 games in charge of Guangzhou so far. The Kashiwa coach had prepared his team very well and they put us under a lot of pressure.”

Evergrande took the lead in the fifth minute thanks to a own goal from Kashiwa captain Daisuke Suzuki, doubled it when Brazil midfielder Paulinho scored a stunning free kick in the 40th minute and went 3-0 up when China striker Gao Lin scored in the 55th.

Kashiwa managed to reduce the deficit when striker Masato Kudo scored in the dying minutes of the clash, and the goal will offer his side a lifeline in the second leg.