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China select Evergrande spine for Asian Cup

Seven Evergrande players have been included in China's squad for the tournament in Australia, including captain Zheng Zhi, goalkeeper Zeng Cheng and striker Gao Lin.

China limped to qualification for the continental championships, drawing at home against Saudi Arabia in their penultimate match before losing 3-1 at Iraq.

But in their 12 friendlies since the loss in Sharjah, China have only lost once, while they are currently on a nine-game unbeaten streak, including wins against Paraguay and Kuwait.

Coach Alain Perrin, who took over in February, has put a lot of faith in Evergrande's CSL champions, who wrapped up their fourth straight title last month ahead of Beijing Guoan and local rivals Guangzhou R&F.

Mei Fang, Zhang Linpeng, Yu Hanchao and Liao Lisheng are the other Evergrande players included in Perrin's squad, while Jiangsu Sainty is the club with the next largest contingent with six.

China will complete their Asian Cup preparations with a friendly against Oman on January 5 before facing Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and North Korea in Group B.

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Wang Dalei (Shandong Luneng), Zeng Cheng (Guangzhou Evergrande), Yan Junling (Shanghai SIPG)

Defenders: Zhang Linpeng (Guangzhou Evergrande), Ren Hang (Jiangsu Sainty), Mei Fang (Guangzhou Evergrande), Ji Xiang (Jiangsu Sainty), Li Ang (Jiangsu Sainty), Wu Xi (Jiangsu Sainty), Liu Jianye (Jiangsu Sainty)

Midfielders: Jiang Zhipeng (Guangzhou R&F), Zheng Zhi (Guangzhou Evergrande), Hao Junmin (Shandong Luneng), Yu Hanchao (Guangzhou Evergrande), Wu Lei (Shanghai SIPG), Yu Hai (Guizhou Renhe), Sun Ke (Jiangsu Sainty), Liu Binbin (Shandong Luneng), Liao Lisheng (Guangzhou Evergrande), Cai Huikang (Shanghai SIPG)

Forwards: Zhang Chengdong (Beijing Guoan), Gao Lin (Guangzhou Evergrande), Yang Xu (Shandong Luneng)