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View from the North: Guangzhou R&F 3 – 1 Beijing Guoan

For over the past three months, when any transfer news comes out, I constantly was saying the same thing over and over again, “It will all work out, I have confidence in Pacheco.”  Now I’m starting to wonder how misplaced that confidence was.  The loss at Ulsan was rough, but I expected the manager would make adjustments, change around the lineup, and put out a side that could win.  That didn’t happen.

The manager kept Francois, who was an embarassment in Ulsan, in the lineup, only making two changes from the team on Tuesday, taking out Shao Jiayi for Manu and starting  Zhang Xizhe over Zhu Yifan, two surprise moves considering how Shao and Piao Cheng played on Tuesday.  The lack of change showed itself to be a mistake right from the start,  when newboys Fuli came within inches from scoring on a header that hit the crossbar.  Of course, Francois was way out of position on that one.  It only took another five minutes before Fuli would get on the board, the goal coming on a corner kick when Li Zhe beat Francois to the ball and headed it in.  Much of the blame falls on Francois, but young keeper Hou Sen is deserving of part of it, he came out to parry the ball away and didn’t come anywhere near it.

There wasn’t a lot of other chances for either side in the first half, once again Guoan failed to have any signs of cooperation between players and failed to control the ball.  In a strange situation, Fuli subbed out two players in the first 45 minutes, one due to injury, the other a team adjustment.  Then in the first minute of the second half, Francois had to be subbed out due to an injury.  While you never want your own player to get injured, Guoan fans weren’t sad to see him leave the pitch.  In the 51st minute, Guoan produced its best chance up to that point, a Wang Xiaolong shot that was just barely outside of the post, but the close call must have excited Fuli, who went down the pitch and got a good bounce off a cross, allowing Wu Wei’an to finish it off, cue celebrations and badge kissing as Fuli double their tally.

Another match, another odd Pacheco substitution to ponder, this time it was his decision to take of Darko Matic in the 57th minute and put on Andrija Kaluđerović.  The move was a bit of a shock, Matic tends to keep the midfield in order, but also drops back to help out on defense a lot, especially since youngster Yu Yang was deputizing for the injured Francois, it seemed all the more important to have Matic on the pitch.  Bringing AK out should have meant Guoan’s attack was strengthened, but instead it just led to a weakening of their defense, leading to a couple good Fuli chances, including Davi finding himself in perfect position but misfiring.

While Reinaldo was able to get one back for the Men in Green in the 92nd minute, it was all for naught as Guoan’s all out push for an equalizer would give Fuli a third, this time Davi was on target.  It was a disappointing effort for the capital side that exposed a lot of the same problems that we saw in Korea.  Pacheco has a short week to prepare the side for the China Derby on Friday, before an ACL clash at home against Brisbane.  Hopefully this time Pacheco can make the necessary adjustments or else it could be a long season for Guoan.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.



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