When news filtered out, in the days leading up to Guangzhou Evergrande's meeting with FC Seoul on Saturday evening, of plans for a massive concert at Tianhe Stadium upon the conclusion of the AFC Champions League final, the sense was of victory being hailed before it had been secured. Two away goals were all Marcello Lippi's team held in their favour after the first leg of the continental club championship final in Seoul two weeks earlier, but such was the enormous growth in confidence - bordering almost on arrogance - among the Evergrande faithful that little other than victory was anticipated. In the end, the roars that greeted Elkeson's 58th-minute strike and the final whistle that delivered China's first AFC Champions League title on away goals were laced as heavily with relief as celebration, so narrow was Guangzhou's victory against talented and determined opponents. Those party plans could have backfired spectacularly, fuelling as they did FC Seoul's already heightened desire to claim the title, and Guangzhou would have been left looking more than faintly ridiculous had Lippi and his team not delivered. Instead, Guangzhou's success not only prompted wild celebrations, it has given Chinese football a much-needed shot in the arm in terms of a more positive profile and greater confidence. Whether that manifests itself into something more tangible in the long term remains to be seen, but the feel-good factor within Chinese football is now at its highest since the national team reached the final of the Asian Cup in 2004. Certainly Guangzhou are now being seen as the model that not only other Chinese clubs need to follow, but Chinese football in general. While still some way short of that seen in Europe or among the leading outfits in Japan and South Korea, the club have instituted a more professional approach to many of their dealings and other organisations are taking note. Much of the credit, of course, will go to Lippi and it is no surprise that he is now being seen as the man towards whom the Chinese Football Association should turn to lead the national team. But the issues that have seen Chinese football slump in the last decade go far beyond who is in charge of the country's representative team; the battle against corruption and match fixing goes on, although Guangzhou's initiative to ensure players are well paid has diminished the temptation to take the money on offer from illegal bookies. Owners of other clubs need to follow that example to eradicate the greatest blight from the Chinese game forever. A lack of youth development in recent years is hurting Chinese football, too, with fewer and fewer young players coming through to the top clubs. While Japan and South Korea have sophisticated talent identification schemes and grass-roots development, China only has a relative handful of children playing the game. Parents in upwardly mobile China do not want their children playing a sport that has been so closely connected with scandal. Credibility remains the key. What Guangzhou's victory has shown is what can be done when enormous resources are used to put in place a professional structure and with the involvement of top-class individuals from the game's heartlands. While Lippi is earning a large salary, no one has accused him of sitting back and simply taking the money. He and his coaching team have been professional and diligent; they have made a difference to the club and the players under their control and Chinese football can only continue to benefit. Those lessons now need to filter down quickly into the rest of the Chinese Super League because the gap between Guangzhou and the rest of Chinese football has become enormous in just three years. Evergrande won the 2013 Chinese Super League title by 18 points from Shandong Luneng with Beijing Guoan trailing in eight points farther adrift in third. Both clubs - and others throughout the league - need to invest, and do so in a manner that sees them hiring the right staff rather than merely replicating Guangzhou by hiring someone who shares Lippi's nationality. Intelligent recruitment is the key lesson to be learned from Evergrande. Of course, the euphoria of Saturday evening could result in a major hangover by the middle of next week and Chinese football fans could be faced with some stark realities sooner than they would like. The national team resume their quest for a place in the finals of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup on Friday against Indonesia, a team caretaker boss Fu Bo's side drew 1-1 with in Jakarta last month. Failure to pick up three points against the Southeast Asian nation, and against Saudi Arabia four days later, will underline how far there still is to go for China on the international stage. Guangzhou are the champions of Asia, but for Chinese football there remains much work to be done.