A Royston Griffiths second half header was enough for Guangzhou R&F to see off a determined Dalian Shide side at Yuexiushan stadium. Defences dominated in the first half but the second period was more open and the Australian Griffiths made the most of his opportunity to score and keep R&F at the top of the Chinese Super League.
Two well marshalled defences were on top early on and a Martin Kamburov half volley from the edge of the box which was stopped by a diving Cheng Yuelei was the closest either side came to scoring in the first period.
The game came to life in the second half with a succession of chances for Shide who had clearly benefitted from Nelo Vingada’s teamtalk. Yan Xiangchuang cut inside from the right and shot over and saw another effort go wide two minutes later. Cheng Yuelei was then called into action to deny Zhao Honglue who had found himself unmarked in the left corner of the penalty area after a switch by Yan. Shide continued to press and following a rare Griffiths error almost took the lead. Yan Feng curled the ball over from the left and Kamburov could only watch as Cheng, later named Man of the Match, pulled off a superb save to tip the Bulgarian’s header over the bar.
R&F introduced Zhang Shuo which allowed David to drop deeper and run at the defenders and draw even more free kicks. This move soon paid off as R&F scored following a seventieth minute corner. Shide failed to clear their lines and Coelho beat his man before sending over a volleyed cross that Griffiths headed down and past Zhang Chong in the Shide goal.
Shide sent more men forward in search of an equaliser but this left gaps at the back which R&F took advantage of with some rapid counterattacks that are fast becoming their trademark style. First Coelho and then Lu Lin nearly benefitted from this.
The game was far from over though and Cheng had to punch clear a 25 yard Kamburov free kick and was almost called on again after good attacking play from James Chamanga but a fantastic double-block by centre back Xu Bo prevented a shot on goal.
Another home win for R&F and another defeat for Shide will leave their foreign coaches in very different frames of mind ahead of the next round of Chinese Super League games. Sergio Farias will be wondering how long newly promoted R&F can stay top of the Chinese Super League whilst Vingada, whose Shide side are now bottom of the Chinese Super League, may be nervously looking over his shoulder following the recent sacking of Dalian Aerbin coach Chang Woe-Ryong and the current managerial chaos at Shanghai Shenhua.