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Guoan & Evergrande share points in a CSL classic

Beijing Guoan 1-1 Guangzhou Evergrande
CSL Round 3
Zhang Xizhe ’45; Elkeson ’61
Attendance: 46,396

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.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere.

He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years.

Chemers’ credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers.

For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Damian Jones

    01/04/2013 at 10:05

    I thought Evergrande were chasing shadows in the first half due to the tempo, tactics and aggressive tackling of Guoan. However, seemingly, Guoan put too much into the first half and didn’t have the energy reserves to dominate the 2nd half. A fair point.
    One thing which disappointed me (and apologies for my attack here but it is something that really angers me in CSL games) is the way that Guoan players react in foul (and often non-foul) situations. Every time a Guoan player went to ground, I thought they had been shot by a sniper from the stands. Writhing in agony, spending a long period on the floor while the team mates crowd the referee pressuring for a decision or barging into opposition players looking for a reaction/provocation. Whenever I see Guoan on TV, they seem to employ this tactic (especially at the atmospheric Gongti) and I feel referees should stand up to this and earn some respect (throughout the CSL). Any player who crowds the referee to pressure a decision or comes hurtling in to make a tame situation worse, needs to be carded and told to show some respect. I think Guoan had been watching the Champions league game between Barca and Madrid a few years ago when both sides forgot to play football and decided to employ “let’s see how we can influence the referee” tactics.

    • bcheng

      01/04/2013 at 10:28

      I find this kinda surprising, especially considering Huang Bowen’s reaction against Kashiwa or how Conca falls down when the wind picks up a little…

      Yes, Zhang Xinxin shouldn’t have gone down like he did, but it didn’t matter, Zhao Xuri was going to get a red card no matter what.

      • GZBiffo

        01/04/2013 at 11:28

        Conca used to go down if he felt as much as another player’s breath on him, but these days he is much more inclined to stay on his feet and try to play through challenges, as are most of the Evergrande team, most of the time. Your Huang example is several games old, and anyway, he learnt his trade at Guoan…

  2. Steve Crooks

    01/04/2013 at 13:24

    To be fair, it’s pretty much impossible to name a single CSL side which doesn’t feature play-acting to a degree which might make even Sergio Busquets cringe.

    It’s a blight on the game, and particularly bad over here due to the fact that players consistently get away with it, but I don’t think any CSL side’s fans can take a holier-than-thou approach to play-acting — “the most sporting team in the CSL” is really a bit of a tallest dwarf contest in my experience.

  3. Damian Jones

    01/04/2013 at 16:25

    Maybe I’m seeing this through red glasses but I struggle to remember GZ players running half way across the pitch to pressure the referee and provoke opposition players in games (3 or 4 times a game in certain teams’ cases). Also, maybe GZ players do go down as much as other teams players but, in all fairness, they are back on their feet rather quickly.

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