Guangzhou Evergrande 6-1 Changchun Yatai
Chinese Super League round 6
Elkeson 30, 44, 48, Young-Gwon Kim 35, Conca (pen) 74, Muriqui 90; Ze Carlos 70
Elkeson bagged his second hat-trick of the season as Evergrande beat Changchun 6-1 on a wet evening in Guangzhou. Indeed, the weather proved to be more of an obstacle than the sloppy Changchun defence as Kim, Conca and Muriqui added to the rainbow of goals on view in Tianhe.
A torrential downpour just before kick-off left the Tianhe pitch looking more like a swimming pool and the ball being in the air more than on the ground for the first quarter of the match. Players from both teams were sliding all over the place and some calamitous defending on the half hour mark allowed Barrios to play in Elkeson on the edge of the box. “The Elk” made no mistake with a cool finish into the bottom left corner to put Guangzhou 1-0 up. The rains eased up but the flood gates had truly opened when an unmarked Kim headed in from a Huang Bowen free kick on 34 minutes. Elkeson then ran rings around Lu Jianjun and Wan Wanpeng in the Changchun defence just before half-time and coolly slotted it under the keeper to make it 3-0, laying to rest any rumours of Guangzhou being a second half team.
It didn’t get any brighter for the visitors during the second period as Li Xiaoting was caught napping, allowing Elkeson to slip in behind him and tap in from a Gao Lin cross to make it 4. This brought the 23-year old Brazilian’s tally to a remarkable 10 goals after the opening five league games and surely slashing his odds of being the league’s top scorer come November. Guangzhou weren’t finished yet and with another free-scoring Brazilian in Muriqui coming on for Barrios after sixty minutes, the crowd were baying for blood.
It was the visitors who scored next though, Ze Carlos, latching on to a long ball on 68 minutes and out-muscling Kim before smashing it into the roof of the net. This didn’t dampen the party atmosphere though and when Gao Lin was fouled in the box a few minutes later, the supporters were on their feet again as Conca squeezed the resulting penalty past Mi Tianhe. A lively Muriqui got his deserved goal on 90 minutes, literally able to walk the ball into the net from a Gao Lin cross sending the already ecstatic crowd into raptures.
Urawa Reds on Wednesday in the Asian Champions league, and the eagerly anticipated Guangzhou derby on Saturday will prove to be tougher tests than a lackluster Changchun, however, it would be a foolish man to bet against Guangzhou’s impressive start to the season continuing.