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Chinese Super League

Guangzhou Fuli 2 – 0 Guangzhou Evergrande: Canton Derby Shock

The first Guangzhou derby of the Super League era was won by newly promoted Guangzhou Fuli who played largely on the break to defeat reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande 2-0.

This might have been the first derby but you wouldn’t have been able to tell this by the atmosphere inside the Yuexiushan stadium. Evergrande had used their full allocation of tickets and at times their fans generated so much noise that it was hard to tell who the home team were.

The pattern of play on the pitch would have suggested this too with Evergrande dominating both possession and territory, limiting Fuli to play on the counterattack. But it was Fuli who were to have the first chance, an unmarked Zhang Shuo heading straight at the keeper from a corner. Before the game had had chance to settle down into a pattern Fuli were ahead. David burst down the left flank, stepped inside one and knocked the ball past Paul Long who then brought him down inside the area for a penalty kick. The Evergrande keeper guessed the right way but couldn’t get to Zhang Shuo’s penalty before it went into the bottom corner. 1 – 0 Fuli.

Evergrande had a golden chance to pull level when Gao Lin was played clean through into the box. His shot squirmed under Fuli keeper Cheng Yuelei who recovered just in time to prevent the ball rolling over the line. Evergrande continued to press and after forty minutes Wu Pingfeng was allowed to turn in the box after some sloppy Fuli defending but his shot went wide.

Fuli held on to lead at the break but were immediately pushed onto the defensive again at the start of the second half, keeper Cheng Yuelei making fine saves from long range efforts from Zhang Lin Peng and Zhao Xuri. Roared on by their vocal fans Evergrande continued to press and on 67 minutes a reverse pass and dummy sent Conca straight through the heart of the Fuli defence but a superb covering challenge by Zuma denied him the chance of a shot on goal. It had to be a great tackle or a penalty and the Evergrande fans howled their disapproval of the referee’s decision not to award a penalty.

Just after 70 minutes a horrendous lunge by Fuli’s Lu Lin brought him a yellow card, one of 9 given out on the night in what was not a particularly bad tempered game for a derby but had enough clumsy tackles to warrant the bookings. Fuli were committing more fouls as they were penned back but doubled their advantage with a breakaway goal after 82 minutes. Substitute Royston Griffiths broke up yet another Evergrande attack and fed David who raced down the right wing and sent in a low, hard cross that was met by a sliding Zhang Yuan who poked the ball beyond the keeper to make it 2-0.

There were late chances for either side to score again but neither could capitalise, David missing for Fuli and Evergande’s Cleo rounding the keeper only to trip and fall at the other end, so Fuli hung on for a 2-0 win.

Evergrande, for whom Muric was very impressive, dominated for large parts of the game with Fuli content to sit back and defend, especially in the second half, but it was Fuli who made their chances count. Evergrande fans continued chanting well after the final whistle but the players must now pick themselves back up for their ACL game in midweek whilst Fuli can revel in the moment after beating the top two from last season on consecutive weekends. As it says on the back of the t-shirts of the Fuli supporters, it truly is “the start of a dream.”

Donald began following Guangzhou R&F having moved to China in the same year that R&F moved to Guangzhou. The club's first foreign season ticket holder, Donald was able to watch three seasons at Yuexiushan before returning to the UK.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. kevincrumbs

    19/03/2012 at 01:54

    Terrible call on the penalty awarded to Fuli.

    • Yiddo Huayi

      19/03/2012 at 09:09

      That was a good call. Studs up and nowhere near the ball. Lucky not to get a card.

      Hengda very unlucky not to get a penalty in the second half.

      • Yiddo Huayi

        19/03/2012 at 09:10

        oops – he did get a card!

  2. Damian

    19/03/2012 at 16:29

    Despite the defeat, that game gave me the best buzz watching football in China.

    With the useful kick-off time of 6pm (not) , a scramble to pick up a ticket that afternoon and some work rescheduling I got to Sun Yat Sen metro station around 4.50pm.

    The area surrounding the station and the walk to Yuexiu stadium was awash with red and ,,,, er … red, also the shirt vendors were trying to offload their new Guangzhou Hengda t-shirts.

    I got inside a quarter full stadium about 5:10pm and had to walk around to the far side where the Guangzhou Hengda masses were amassing. All the new entries had to walk past the Fuli support group to the far side but there was no abuse, body-checks, etc. Once taking my place in the Guangzhou Hengda side of the stadium it was obvious that the same courtesy wasn’t being extended to any Fuli fans daring to pass the red swarm. Although not violent, a lot of abuse and a few water cups were hurled at passers by.

    As the rush hour crowd slowly filed into the stadium for kick-off it became apparent that other than the Fuli support group, there were a fair few more Fuli fans putting on their (free?) blue t-shirts now they were safely in their seats.

    The teams entered the fray and it seemed as if the support was split down the middle (possibly slightly in Fuli’s favour). Guangzhou Hengda fans unravelled a banner proclaiming there was only one team in Guangzhou which prompted some Fuli fans wearing lanyards to come over and try and tear it from the wall. A group of Guangzhou Hengda fans scarppered down the terrace and a 10 minute pushing and shoving melee followed – not a single punch or kick thrown but the usual water cups raining down on the Fuli idiots. Excuse us for bringing a football banner to a football game !! Fuli security seemed to agree with the Fuli mugs and the banner was removed. Rightly agrieved, Guangzhou Hengda fans started ripping down the Fuli cladding at the back of the stand.

    On the field, Guangzhou Hengda controlled the possession and wasted some guilt-edge chances. Having said that, Fuli had some great movement in midfield and up-front and were causing absolute chaos amongst Guangzhou Hengda’s back four. A definite penalty and a predictable goal on the break settled proceedings.

    In the stands, Fuli fans concentrated on their team whereas Guangzhou Hengda fans spent most of the game pretty much drowning out anything from Fuli followed by a lot of abuse.

    Following the final whistle, Guangzhou Hengda fans spent the next hour “celebrating” the defeat. That’s what it felt like. In reality, everyone was on a massive buzz and wanted to stamp their authority on the derby atmosphere .. long after the home fans had departed into the night.

    Fuli look to have a decent team and could well be up there come the end of the season. However, after watching the Dalian derby, it doesn’t look as if Fuli will be able to match the support for the new boys in Dalian. The street cred in Guangzhou belongs to Evergrande.

    • Donald

      19/03/2012 at 18:40

      I agree, on the walk to the ground there were a lot more red shirts than blue shirts. Fuli fans were still arriving with 20mins gone, possibly due to the 6pm kick-off.

      About 4pm there were a lot of Evergrande fans outside the ground already and they’d sprayed a Fuli shirt with fake blood and left it on the approach road to the ground so that any cars (police or otherwise) coming into the ground had to drive over it, eliciting cheers from the Evergrande fans.

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