Guangzhou opened up a four point lead in first place on Sunday night, but one name was missing from their lineup, the club’s Argentinian star Dario Conca. The club internally handed down a nine match suspension for the mercurial midfielder after he showed (and voiced) his displeasure with being taken out of the lineup during the club’s Asian Champions League defeat a week ago.
The suspension is actually just for five matches (as reserve matches are included in the nine game count), but if the club decides it will be upheld, Conca will miss the critical ACL away match at Buriram United next week. Buriram was sure to provide Guangzhou with a tough match even if the southerners were at full strength, but with Conca suspended and Muriqui going down with an injury on Sunday, the odds will be stacked against Evergrande.
The decision to suspend Conca appears to be taken by the club and not by manager Lee Jangsoo. What exactly was said between Lee and Conca has not come to light, but on Sina weibo the player stated that he “didn’t understand why he was always rotated out of the lineup” and wondering if “a player who wasn’t in top shape would be allowed to take an important penalty kick [editor’s note: Conca scored Guangzhou’s only goal Wednesday night on a 1st half penalty]?”
This isn’t the first time the club has issued such a punishment, last season Renato was suspended for three matches for petulant behavior after having been subbed off. I should mention that a few months later, Renato was let go for…wait for it…Conca. Now that Evergrande find themselves with too many foreigners yet again after the club signed Lucas Barrios, is Conca going to be the odd man out? It was widely expected that Cleo would be given his marching orders, but now I wouldn’t be so sure.
To make things worse, Conca’s also in trouble with the AFC over last week’s match. Despite being told that he couldn’t carry his newborn out on the pitch during the pre-match lineups, he did so anyways and is likely going to face a fine from AFC House. How did Conca spend his Sunday night? Showing how childish he is, he failed to show up at Tianhe Stadium to support his teammates, instead choosing to dine at a McDonalds with family and friends (and making it known he was enjoying himself through a weibo post).