Wuhan Zall 0 – 2 Guangzhou R&F
Chinese Super League Round 6
Rafael Coelho 15’, Zhang Yuan 90+2’
Guangzhou R&F finally got their first win of 2013 but their hosts Wuhan are still winless. Rafael Coelho’s backheel opened the scoring and the R&F defence did the rest, sub Zhang Yuan scoring against the run of play in injury time to ensure the victory.
R&F boss Farias gave the captain’s armband to Li Zhe who wore it last season and in another throwback Lu Lin was named in the starting elven. With Davi still suspended the Cantonese bundle of energy was brought in to add some badly missing spark to the attack. Wuhan used the same players who had earned them their first CSL point in an away draw with Changchun.
Despite the breeze and chill of the Hubei afternoon the game opened brightly and found the Wuhan fans in good voice and a generous mood as they applauded the 32 Guangzhou fans who joined in the ‘Guoan SB’ chant. Only the away fans were singing a minute later though as Rafael Coleho scored his second of the season. Lu Lin battled well on the left wing and found Yakubu who used his strength and squeezed the ball through for Coelho to backheel between the legs of the covering defender and into the net.
The Cantonese side sat back after this and Wuhan began to dominate with both wingbacks, Zhu Ting and Mei Fang, finding lots of space. Wuhan looked dangerous from their crosses and frequent free kicks and corners; keeper Shi Xiaotian badly misjudged one but captain Mei Fang’s header landed on the roof of the net. Shortly after Serbian defender Novak Martinovic saw his header go over too. Wang Yunlong created the best chance of the half for himself but keeper Shi parried his shot.
It stayed 0-1 at half time and into the second period despite the relentless Wuhan pressure. On a rare R&F attack Yakubu, who had possibly his best game of the season, almost doubled the lead but his effort rolled agonisingly wide. The Hubei team came back strongly and a penalty box scramble after an 84th minute corner almost saw them equalise. Not for the first time in the match given the battering he’d taken, keeper Shi stayed down for treatment afterwards. He soldiered on though and the thin blue line of the Cantonese defence held out as centre backs Li Zhe and Zhang Yaokun had sorted themselves out at half-time and started to win more headers.
Completely against the run of play two R&F substitutes combined to seal the win. Wu Pingfeng appeared to be fouled as he ran down the left wing and but the referee waved play on and Zhang Yuan took full advantage; beating Martinovic before slotting past Wu Yan in goal to become the first Chinese player to score for R&F this season.
The second goal was very harsh on Wuhan who, despite not creating any clear shooting chances, had caused panic in the R&F defence enough times to merit a point. Their next game away at fellow strugglers Tianjin now becomes even more important although they may be going there with a new man at the helm.
This was Guangzhou R&F’s first win of 2013 and also marked the first time in their, admittedly brief, CSL history that they had kept two clean sheets in a row after last week’s dull draw with Shanghai East Asia. The result will give a much needed confidence boost but the way 15th placed Wuhan dominated the game doesn’t bode well for the visit of free scoring Guangzhou Evergrande for next week’s Cantonese derby.