Two goals from Yakubu gave Guangzhou R&F only their third away victory of the season. Liaoning Whowin had a goal disallowed, a good shot for a penalty dismissed and created more and better chances than R&F but Vlatko Grozdanoski’s early goal was the only reward they would get in their 2-1 home defeat.
Liaoning started brightly and had the ball in the net after 10 minutes only for the referee to call them back for offside. There was a real scramble in the box and striker Grozdanoski thought he’d scored only for it to be disallowed as he was adjudged to be offside when the ball fell to him following a deflection off teammate Pablo Brandan.
The first chance for R&F came when Yakubu chased down a loose ball and picked out an unmarked Coelho at the back post but he could only volley wide. The Argentine came even closer five minutes later when his free kick hit the post and then Tang Miao hooked the rebound over.
Whowin were to score from a free kick of their own after 27 minutes though. It was swung over by captain Zhao Junzhe from the left touchline and headed into the net by an unmarked Grozdanoski to give the relegation threatened side from the North East the lead. This was yet another example of poor set piece defending by R&F as the Macedonian goal scorer was closer to two of his teammates than any R&F defenders when he headed the ball.
Another R&F defensive mix-up saw keeper Cheng Yuelei appear to flatten Zhao Junzhe just inside the box as they both went for the loose ball. It could easily have been given as a penalty but the referee was unmoved and the Guangzhou side’s luck held. Just as it did shortly afterwards when Grozdanoski ran half the pitch unchallenged only to see his teammate Yang Xu’s shot saved.
It remained 1-0 at the break with Liaoning looking much the more dangerous side and being content to sit back in defence because R&F hadn’t offered anything of substance in attack as they played far too many aimless long balls.
Whatever manager Farias said at half-time obviously worked as R&F came out a changed side for the first ten minutes of the second period. Yakubu had a speculative effort from 30 yards saved and Davi’s first real attacking run was wasted by Coelho’s poor control. R&F were level after 52 minutes though thanks to their best move of the game. Davi ran at the defence and played a through ball to Zhao Ming running down the left hand channel, he in turn hit a low cross to Yakubu who side footed home the equaliser.
After this R&F slipped off the pace once again and Liaoning began to attack, a super tackle from on-loan midfielder Li Yan stopping Yang Yu getting a shot on goal. R&F were pressed back and the winner was to come against the run of play after 58 minutes. Coelho’s lovely outside of the foot pass set up Gao Zenxiang whose volley was palmed away by Liaoning keeper Zhang Lu. Davi couldn’t control the rebound and it fell to Yakubu who swept it home for his seventh of the season in league and cup football.
Liaoning continued to pile on the pressure but couldn’t find an equaliser due to some poor finishing, one great Cheng Yuelei save and a second excellent block by Li Yan so the Guangzhou side held on for the win.
The three points lift R&F up to forth, above Bejiing on goal difference and only two points off the third ACL spot. Liaoning meanwhile are down in thirteenth, three points clear of Shanghai Shenxin who occupy the last relegation place. Both sides will be looking to push-on, although for different reasons, when the league resumes following its mid-season break.