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R&F Limp Past Hunan

Two second half goals from David sent Guangzhou R&F through to the next round of the CFA Cup. In a physical encounter at Yuexiushan, Hunan briefly took the lead but the Guangzhou side did just enough to overcome their lower league opponents.

The CFA gave special dispensation for the game to be played at Yuexiushan rather than the University City Stadium but this decision was not rewarded by the R&F fans as the attendance was pitiful. Hunan sent a decent group of fans for a midweek game and they did a lot for the atmosphere.

R&F manager Sergio Farias experimented with a 3-5-3 formation and the change paid dividends early. Tang Miao, pushed up to play on the right-wing, fed Rafael Coelho whose shot was saved by Mu Xu but accidentally poked into his own goal by defender Chen Zhen.

The first of many clumsy, or dirty, challenges by Hunan came ten minutes later on Coelho who was able to continue after receiving treatment. David was a continual victim of these challenges, an impression aided by his ability to fall over at the slightest contact, but the referee was reluctant to reach for his pocket despite the baying of the home crowd.

Hunan’s Uragyuan striker Claudio Cardozo looked dangerous upfront and looped an early header onto the roof of the net. He didn’t miss with his next chance as he connected with captain Lu Jiang’s cross to equalise.

It stayed 1-1 at the break and with five minutes of the second half gone China League One side Hunan took the lead. A deflected clearance skidded into the R&F box, was dummied by Cardozo and pounced on by Bai Yuexuan whose shot was too powerful for Cheng Yuelei to keep out.

Farias immediately reacted by replacing one of his three centre backs with striker Wen Chao but the goal was to come from David. Tang Miao twisted and turned his way clear of two defenders and David headed in the cross to equalise. Shortly after this David fired in his second goal of the game to give R&F the lead.

It was a lead that wouldn’t be relinquished despite more heavy Hunan tackles forcing David, Coelho and even keeper Cheng to receive treatment. Brazilian central midfielder Jumar fared worse though as he was stretchered off. By this point R&F had, through tactical and injury enforced changes, made all of their substitutes so had to play out the final fifteen minutes with ten men.

The Guangzhou side held out comfortably enough as what was initially a very defensive Hunan side struggled to adapt to the need to score quickly so R&F advance to the fourth round. The cost of the win is the slight knocks and more serious injuries picked up by key players as R&F have a very tough run of away fixtures coming up, starting with a trip to second place Jiangsu Sainty on Sunday night.

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.

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