Guangzhou R&F 0-2 Guangzhou Evergrande
Chinese Super League round 7
Guangzhou Evergrande notched their first ever win in the Guangzhou derby at Yuexiushan stadium yesterday, with a goal from red-hot forward Elkeson propelling the visitors to the top of the league.
In a departure from the usual match report, Wild East Football has decided to give you a unique perspective on the Guangzhou derby. three perspectives to be precise. One home, one away, and one stuck in the middle.
The Neutral Match Report – Will Crook
After all the build up, Yuexiu Shan stadium was treated to a decent game and second goal which surely must already be a firm favourite for goal of the season. As it turned out, the Guangzhou Derby seemed to sum up both sides’ fortunes this season. R&F were slow, frustratingly hopeless in attack and seemed to be unable keep the ball for long periods of time. Evergrande on the other hand were clinical, better in the second half as they’ve usually been this season and, in a much underappreciated part of their game, pressed well.
The first half was the more open of the two, both sides having shots on target in the first few minutes. However it soon became clear that Fuli were going to have to give a special performance to get anything out of the game. In the 15th minute Elkeson had a goal disallowed for an incredibly close offside call. It was the team in red who went ahead in the 18th minute. Elkeson, yes him again, rose above a static defence to nod home from a rare pinpoint cross from Sun Xiang. After the first goal, R&F began to get visibly frustrated and found it difficult to find space in front of the Evergrande defence.
After 25 minutes, in a rare early tactical move, Farias decided to bring on Jiang Ning for Griffiths. It seemed a sensible move, R&F were struggling to move the ball forward and couldn’t keep it in Evergrande’s half. Yakubu also needed to be able to move forward into more of an attacking position after being forced back towards the half way line to get the ball. The change seemed to work immediately, Yakubu hit the post and missed a glorious chance to equalise after two delightful and intelligent passes from the lively Raphael Coelho. For those glorious few minutes, R&F played like a team who wanted to get something from the game. For the later stages of the first half the game was still quite open, but chances were few at either end.
The second half seemed to be played at a slower, more controlled tempo than the first half. Even though R&F defended doggedly, Evergrande seemed to take their foot off the gas slightly but still remained composed on the ball and dominant in possession. R&F did manage a few attacks and Yakubu had a goal disallowed, but for the most part Evergrande looked in control. Then, in the 76th minute, Elkeson picked up the ball on the left hand side of the box, took on and passed two R&F defenders and then fired past the keeper into the top right hand corner. ‘太漂亮 TAI PIAOLIANG!‘ the commentator shouted, and he was spot on.
R&F may actually take a few positives from this loss. They generally played better than their previous games this season and may feel that they should have had at least one goal. Old problems remain though and the usual failings were still there for all to see. As for Evergrande, if this win had been against another team, I’m not sure much would have been made of the result or the performance. For both Guangzhou teams it was business as usual.
View from the blue corner – Donald Ross
Another loss for R&F but, at least in the first half, they contributed equally to a pulsating game of football. Lu Lin saw his cross/shot pushed behind for a corner, Yakubu hit the bar from a Raphael Coelho layoff and the Argentine had earlier out-jumped Qin Sheng at the back post only to see his header pushed onto the bar and over. This was R&F’s best attacking display for a long time and up until half time they more or less matched Evergrande chance for chance.
Evergrande began to take control in the second period and for the final half hour R&F were totally on the defensive. A rare attack saw Yakubu head the ball into the net but the white booted referee ruled out it and shortly afterwards Elkeson’s fantastic goal put the result beyond doubt. This brought grudging applause from the Fuli fans but they were massively outnumbered by their Evergrande counterparts who were sitting all over the ground; a situation which is hard to imagine in any other derby game in the world (except perhaps earlier this season for Shanghai Shenxin v Shanghai Shenhua -ed).
R&F fans can take comfort from their first half attacking display, if not their defending, and the way Farias’ introduction of Jiang Ning for Royston Griffiths had an effect on the game. However, when both the Australian and Yakubu were substituted, at different times, they walked straight off and towards the changing rooms without acknowledging their replacements, the bench or, criminally given the atmosphere, the fans. This is clearly a bad sign and R&F haven’t started the season well but sacking Farias after losing to one of the best teams in China would be harsh. He should be given another chance to build on the improved attack and stiffen up the defence away to Jiangsu a week on Monday.
View from the red corner – GZ Biffo
The Elkeson show just keeps on running. With only a fifth of the season gone, the scintillating Brazilian has already scored twelve league goals, an unprecedented run of form in this competition. When his compatriot Muriqui was CSL top scorer in 2011, his season tally was 16; it seems only injury can stop the Elk breaking Li Jinyu’s CSL record of 26 goals in returning the Golden Boot to Evergrande.
He could well have scored more here than the two he got – in fact, he did have the ball in the net three times, but the first time the goal was disallowed due to a dubious offside decision. His fantastic second goal was worth more than another hat-trick though, a lovely combination of skill and power.
You could complain about the number of his shots that go off target if you really wanted to find negatives in his game, but that would be churlish. He was involved in almost every chance Evergrande had, willing to do most of the work in an attacking unit that was otherwise a bit fatigued from the midweek defeat in Japan. Muriqui in particular had a great first half, contributing in both attack and defense, but faded rapidly and was the first Evergrande player to be substituted.
Qin Sheng covered well enough for the suspended Zhao Xuri, and Huang Bowen also played well in a more defensive role than usual – he often seemed to deputise for Kim Young-Gwon at the back while the latter made forays up front, seemingly bouyed by his first goal for the club last weekend. Zhang Linpeng understandably had a quiet game by his standards, while Sun Xiang balanced out the usual quota of bad crosses with a lovely one for Elkeson’s first goal. All in all, a decent, competitive match and though the better team won, it was one man who really made all the difference; if he can maintain this form it’s hard to see who can challenge Evergrande dominance this season.