With Jiangsu struggling to earn a draw, Guangzhou Evergrande just kept cruising, earning a 2-1 victory against Changchun Yatai. Despite Changchun being the first team to beat Evergrande last season, they couldn’t match that feat this year, perhaps because they weren’t assisted by the elements like last season.
The first half was far from stimulating football, an even affair with neither team able to produce much in the way of scoring opportunities but Guangzhou creating a lot of pressure. The best chances for either side came at the bookends of the half. For Guangzhou, crafty passing led to Cleo finding himself in space, but the Changchun keeper made a nice save. Just before the end of the half, a Changchun chance hit the post, a close call they would surely come to regret.
Guangzhou came out of the locker room going after the win and they’d get on the board very quickly, a good cross into the box saw Cleo leave the ball for Dario Conca, whose well placed shot beat the keeper. Already up by one, Guangzhou didn’t let up, continuing to pressure Changchun’s defense. It would pay off when Cleo would score one of his own in the 69th minute, with an excellent shot from distance.
Despite the home side’s struggles, youngster Zhang Wenzhao was able to pull one back with a great run in the 88th minute. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t enough to repeat last year’s home upset of the league leaders as Evergrande secured all three points and increased their lead to five.
However, things aren’t all good down south,as Lucas Barrios, who was kept off the pitch for the second match in a row, has voiced a desire to cut short his time in Guangzhou and return to Europe at the end of this season. With Conca having already put in a transfer request with the club, manager Marcello Lippi may have a hard time keeping everyone happy, though with the team battling on three fronts, there should be plenty of time to go around.