Brazilian manager Sergio Farias’ introduction of Argentine Rafael Coelho sparked R&F into life and led to two second half goals in three minutes; one from Coelho and one from Brazilian midfielder Jumar who was celebrating his birthday. Liaoning Whowin pulled one back late on after a goalmouth scramble but the Fuli defence shut down any chance of an equaliser.
Liaoning, for whom captain Zhao Junzhe was making a Chinese Super League record 314th appearance, almost opened the scoring but Milos Trifunovic’s header from his knees after Ding Jie’s cross went wide. R&F’s captain Li Zhe then went close following a Royston Griffiths flick on from Lu Lin’s free kick.
It stayed 0-0 at the end of the first half and into the first period of the second half too. Liaoning put together a lot of nice triangles and passed the ball well although R&F had more possession but couldn’t make the breakthrough.
Coelho was brought on at the hour mark and made an immediate impact when his hold up created a great chance for Zhang Yuan but Zhang Lu in the Liaoning goal made the save. Coelho was just getting warmed up though as his solo goal proved. Taking the ball inside his own half, he spun away from Wang Liang, continued his run, slalomed round another couple of defenders and tucked the ball into the bottom left hand corner for a super individual goal.
R&F struck again a few minutes later thanks to a wonderful Jumar free kick after fellow Brazilian import David had been felled just outside the box. The normally defensive minded Jumar had got forward on a few occasions and his previous shots had clearly got his eye in as he sent the free kick arching over the wall and into the left of the goal.
Liaoning scored a late consolation goal after a classic penalty box scramble where Griffiths cleared Zhao Junzhe’s first effort off the line before Zhao rammed home the rebound to mark his record-breaking appearance with a goal.
Sadly for the thirty or so Liaoning fans who had made the long trip South there was to be no equaliser but the dedication of those fans can only be applauded. The Guangzhou public have shown a greater interest in R&F but persist in turning up late so that attendance doubled within the first twenty minutes of play.
The long-awaited arrival of the supporters scarves, an almost laughable concept for a game played in mid twenties temperatures, also helped improve the atmosphere. It is still far from intimidating but given that R&F are now five wins from five at home, including against last season’s top three, the fans must be doing something to back their team. The question on the lips of all these R&F fans will now be how long can this early season momentum continue for?