Former World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi faces his biggest test since taking control of Guangzhou Evergrande when the Chinese club travels to Al Ittihad for Wednesday's first leg of their 2012 Asian Champions League quarterfinal.
The Italian was hired by the big-spending Super League champion in May, with one of his goals being to give China a first continental title since 1989.
However Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia provides a sizeable obstacle. The team from Jeddah won the 2004 and 2005 continental title and reached the final in 2009. Like Guangzhou it has a solid base of domestic players complemented by expensive international stars, but unlike Guangzhou, it is unbeaten in the Asian Champions League this year.
Evergrande squeezed through the group stage courtesy of a last-minute penalty in the final game. Lippi, who took Juventus to the 1996 UEFA Champions League title and Italy to the 2006 World Cup, arrived just days after.
Captain Zheng Zhi believes that Lippi, 64, can ta...