Beijing Guoan 1-1 Guangzhou Evergrande
CSL Round 3
Zhang Xizhe ’45; Elkeson ’61
Friday night’s match between Beijing Guoan and Guangzhou Evergrande was everything the Chinese Super League could be, two great clubs, two top managers, a packed, emotional stadium and it delivered all that was promised ahead of time.
The match was fast paced and physical, a definite game of halves as Beijing dominated in the first half while Evergrande played a much better second half. In the end, both clubs will be happy with the point they walked away with.
Much of the first half was spent in the midfield, though Wang Xiaolong was able to break into space and take a good shot that hit the post. However, Zhang Xizhe would make sure Guoan got the lead. Last season the youngster scored in the 92nd minute to give Guoan a win over Evergrande, this time around it was the 45th minute that saw him find the net. Freddie Kanoute, who had a commendable match, found Zhang charging down the left wing, and Zhang did a good job placing his shot between keeper Zeng Cheng’s legs.
The second half would see Evergrande settle down and start to establish themselves as much they could, with Elkeson being the constant focus of their attack. The striker who has five goals in two matches wouldn’t disappoint, capitalizing on a horrible Guoan mistake. A Zhang Linpeng cross came in from the right side and a lack of communication saw the defender and Yang Zhi both stuck in place as the ball found Elkeson’s foot and he tapped it in to equalize.
The difference for Guoan under Aleksandar Stanojević is their organization (which makes the goal an even bigger shock) and their constant pressure, often from younger players like Zhang and Piao Cheng. Despite Evergrande continually pressing forward, Guoan wasn’t going to give them a chance to score a winner. The physicality and frustration was played out in added time when Zhao Xuri struck Guoan defender Zhang Xinxin and was properly shown red for the violent act.
It would be the last major incident of the match, as things came to an end shortly after, both teams happily coming away with a point in an excellent back-and-foth chess match between two top managers and two excellent sides.