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Captain Li Rescues R&F

A late, late goal from captain Li Zhe gave Guangzhou R&F a 3-2 victory over Shanghai Shenxin at the University City Stadium. Shenxin led 2-1 just after half-time but Rafael Coelho equalised from the spot, Shenxin’s Jonas Salley was sent off and Li’s injury time header secured all three points for the ACL chasing Cantonese side.

Despite the continued absence of R&F’s Brazilian midfielder Jumar, the game still had a heavy South American flavour as all Shenxin’s non-Asian foreign players are Brazilian, Fuli are coached by a Brazilian and have their own Argentinian and Brazilian players. Indeed Davi, the Brazilian, and Coelho, the Argentinian, combined with a training ground free kick move to give R&F their first chance.

 

R&F were rusty after the three week break with Royston Griffiths in particular guilty of several errors. Shenxin looked confident though and striker Anselmo had already forced Cheng Yuelei into a smart save before Cheng was again called on to tip over Xu Wen’s forty yard effort which was perhaps inspired by Beijing’s Xu Liang.

It was R&F and the man of the moment, Yakubu, who opened the scoring though after half an hour. A well worked passing move on the break between the Nigerian and Coelho coupled with a Davi bodycheck set Yakubu clear on the left of the box and he scored to make it eight goals in nine games since his mid-season arrival.

Just as it was predictable that Yakubu would score, it was equally predictable that R&F would concede from a set piece and they duly did. Wang Yun the beneficiary on the stroke of half-time to level the score.

It got worse for R&F as Shenxin took the lead immediately after the break. Royston Griffiths, who had a poor game by his usual high standards, misplaced a pass and Shenxin raced upfield. It appeared that right back Tang Miao had managed to hold up Wang Yun but Wang somehow hit a low cross and Anselmo ran across centre back Li Zhe to score and give the relegation threatened Shanghai side the lead.

Sergio Farias immediately reacted by bringing on Gao Zhengxiang and Fuli increased the pressure and forced Shenxin to defend their lead, partly by time-wasting. Antonio Flavio was so slow in walking off when he’d been substituted that he was given a yellow card.

A different substitute, Lu Lin of R&F, was to be instrumental in the equaliser just after the hour mark. He raced through onto keeper Cheng’s deflected clearance, the offside flag stayed down but the Guangzhou native Lu didn’t as he was felled by Zou Zhingting and awarded a penalty. Coelho stepped up, stuttered his run up and scored the equaliser.

Shenxin continued their time-wasting as keeper Wu Yangsheng passed the ball out to the Australian Jonas Salley to prevent Coelho grabbing the ball to force a quick restart. Salley inexplicably picked up the ball and trotted over to the left wing, Coelho followed and tried to grab the ball. I missed the next bit because I was too busy celebrating the goal but the video shows that Salley pushed Coelho a couple of times but nowhere near hard enough to warrant the display from the Argentine who went down like the proverbial sack of spuds. He got a yellow card for his part in the affair but Salley was sent off and regardless of Coelho’s overreaction Salley only has himself to blame because it all started because of his time-wasting.

The 10 men of Shenxin dug in and withstood Yakubu’s flicks, Davi’s runs and Tang Miao’s excellent attacking fullback play until stoppage time. R&F’s third consecutive corner was swung over by Lu Lin, Sui Donglu headed it powerfully back across goal and his centre back partner Li was there to nod in and grab all three points. A result he immediately celebrated with Yakubu’s personal fan club of African supporters who have started coming to games in large numbers after the Nigerian was signed.

There was still time for one of the most bizarre endings I have ever seen to a game as Shenxin completely gave up for the final couple of minutes. They stayed in their own half and the Fuli back four were allowed to practice their passing with absolutely no pressure on them at all for the last two minutes. There was no obvious away presence in the stands but if there had been any Shenxin fans in the ground they would have been furious.

As it is Shenxin are still in the relegation dogfight ahead of next week’s Shanghai derby and R&F remain in the ACL hunt having gone third following Jiangsu’s win over Guizhou. R&F Manager Sergio Farias will hope to have Jumar available for the first time since June for next week’s trip to bottom side Henan to cement third place.

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.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Chris Atkins

    18/09/2012 at 13:29

    Yakubu has been phenomenal so far and his link-up play with the two Brazilians Rafael Coelho and Davi was excellent. Is it Rafael that would drop out with Jumar’s return?

    The ending was astonishing, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing from a relegation threatened team, but then – in the CSL – nothing surprises me anymore.

    To be honest, I hope Shenxin get relegated after their actions. From the couple of people I saw on Twitter who were watching the game, it astonished those outside China. It sets a terrible example of the CSL for new viewers and, if the CFA had any balls, they would take action. We all know that won’t happen!

  2. Donald

    18/09/2012 at 16:07

    Jumar was injured before Yakubu arrived so I’m not sure who’ll miss out when Jumar gets back. Rafael has outscored Davi but Davi is more willing to run at the defence. If I was picking I might leave Davi out though because he doesn’t seem to trust the Chinese players and always tries to play almost impossible passes to the other foreigners.

    I agree about Shenxin, to just completely stop playing like that is appalling. If that’s their attitude then they might get relegated without the CFA doing anything.

  3. BulaimeiShanghai

    19/09/2012 at 07:57

    How was the attendance? If it was for not competing or appearing in a competitive shape for a football match, I would relegate half of the premiership for their showings against big clubs and this happens consistently throughout the seasons. Teams like Man U and others get their victories handed on a silver plate. Remember that Wolves game against Man U a few seasons ago, they practically gave up before the match, as far as I remember. Now I have not seen them getting relegated in that season. That even caused a stir in the media and was well documented. They were relegated in the last season though. When a team feels flat and falls flat like Shenxin after the red card (seems to be worth discussing at least) and then conceding in the 92nd minute, I would not totally use it against them. I think there is a point where you just give up and you can’t do anything against it. We see it so often and managers are always short of explanations, but it does happen in football. I still hope they stay in the league but leave the three points for Shenhua next week. For Fuli, you lot seem well on the way to secure an ACL-spot.

    • Donald

      19/09/2012 at 11:06

      I missed the attendance announcement but it wasn’t anything special. A big section of African fans have started coming since Yakubu signed though.

      It wasn’t that Shenxin gave up after the red card, more a case of Fuli forcing Shenxin to defend more. But after Fuli took the lead Shenxin just stopped playing. Admittedly there were only about two minutes left but that is no excuse to not try anymore. If anything they should have been trying harder to try and get back level again.

  4. IHS88

    27/09/2012 at 23:12

    Well reading this article one can certainly ascertain one simple thing… That story was written in a biased manner favoring Guangzhou in more ways than one. For example, by making various excuses for such a bad match considering they were #4 and Shenxin was #14 at the time. Then the biased is further compounded by the narrator when he failed to report the cowardly and crude tactics practiced by Guangzhou R&F.
    I happened to watch the game via a live stream broadcast, and here a few details which either got lost, or weren’t simply seen by the reporter, whichever the case may be. With the first half time I have no quarrel, but the second half saw a turn for the worst, especially the penalty.
    As soon as Shenxin started leading the referee started blowing his whistle a little too much in favor of Guangzhou. Which is reflected, among other things, in the 4 yellow and 1 red card Shenxin got and the measly 2 yellow cards Guangzhou received. If you’d had a look when the penalty was made, the opposing player Lu Lin (who should carry the nickname the great coward of Guangzhou) fell instantly after taking 1 step inside the penalty area, and stay down on the grass to milk it for all it’s worth. The truth of the matter both players were pushing each other to get to the ball but Lu Lin decided it was a much safer bet to simply fall and fake a foul. This was viewable from the camera angle I saw, maybe it wasn’t to Mr Ross. It is a cowardly tactic, but thankfully the whole leagues is abundant in those. 🙂 And after Rafael Coelho scored the ill-gotten equaliser, which admittedly was a nice shot, was completely ruined by his behavior right after. The goalkeeper wasn’t happy and didn’t allow Rafael to celebrate with the ball and he immediately started instigating something and even wanted to involve the referee. Not to mention that he got a yellow card for his behavior less than 3 minutes after the equaliser for his behavior. And the red card for Salley, well he put his hands on another player, he fell for an obvious trap and got what he deserved. What happened was Salley didn’t want to hand over the ball, a Guangzhou player tried to take it by force while other gathered around the two and Salley just put his hand on the back of the head of the opposing player and pushed him. I forget his name, but let’s name him the second great coward in Guangzhou, and the man lay there as though Salley hit him with a closed fist as hard as he could and received a red card. The egotistical Rafael C. involved himself in this fray and is also the time he got his yellow card.
    Targeting foreign players and antagonizing them isn’t something new in Chinese “football” per say(nor is racism & nationalism), but I still find it a bit disgusting and cowardly for the gentleman’s sport of football. Ingenious but still disgusting.
    My next disagreeable point is one of the misses of the referee, Mr Ross might have seen it, it was between the 69. and 83. minute. There was a corner kick, Liu Dianzuo(the goalkeeper of Shenxin) and Sui Donglu(Guangzhou player) were in a duel for the ball. Liu Dianzuo managed to defend the goal, however while they were in the air Sui visably pushed Liu. It would have been one thing if Sui was just trying to maintain balance, but Liu fell too far back for that. He also laid on the ground trying to retain a yellow card against Guangzhou but, of course, the referee was mute at that point. But I guess putting both your hands on a goalie of a 14th ranked club when you are 4th isn’t a big deal in China… Due to circumstance the referee was forced to give Sui Donglu a yellow card in the 83. minute. (you can only appear crooked to a point after all…)
    The last goal was made from a free shot with 2 redirections, the second one being from Li Zhe. A difficult shot which required a lot more luck than skill, but skill nonetheless.
    The last point I want to argue is the comment about how Shenxin lost “motivation” in the last 2 minutes after they received the last goal. My question would be, who wouldn’t be down in such a situation? Also your dear Guangzhou wasted time by passing the ball around. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that, I just find your story telling method irritable. Since the truth was filtered and interpreted in a way to make Guangzhou R&F look better by Mr Ross, I can’t call this a factual article, but a story with factual elements. I could go on, but this post is long enough already. I haven’t read many of your posts Mr Ross, and after this one I’m even less motivated to do so. But I’ll try and keep track just to see if the biased continues. That’s why I decided to reply to this post with my own subjective opinion in the first place. Since there wasn’t a shred of objectivity I thought a subjective voice from the other side should be heard as well… That is all for now, I wish you a good day.

    • shanghai ultra

      28/09/2012 at 11:51

      Our reports are meant to be biased. Long live Mr Ross!

    • BulaimeiShanghai

      28/09/2012 at 13:56

      Hi, I think everybody agrees with your passion here, maybe leave the negativity out of it next time, although, that is a problem in football throughout, like fans turning up just to boo the opposition as opposed to cheering their own team in their own right. I am happy to read Donald’s reports about a team that no-one else is covering to that extend, I am bit surprised that no other people have turned up here to share their viewpoints on their favorite teams wherever they are in the country. This site seems to invite many a viewpoints.

      Not sure if this applies to you, but foreign fans haven’t even spread throughout the whole country to write about teams in the North-East, Guizhou and so on, but we already display local chauvinism, kind of odd, don’t you think? I am a Werder Bremen supporter but I would never join into the singing “Tod und Hass dem HSV”, “Death and hate to HSV”, neither any racist or other chauvinist singing, that’s not football for me…
      Please continue to share your viewpoints and thoughts about your observations (is Shenxin your favorite team?). I am probably not the only one that appreciates people telling us from their teams throughout China, even if this just meant you read up about it and watched the whole match. Since all the writing staff are devoted to a past-time passion to build up that site, sometimes objectivity is something hard to come by. So feel free to share your subjective viewpoints. May we read much more from you…

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