Guangzhou R&F 0 – 0 Shanghai East Asia
Chinese Super League Round 5
Guangzhou R&F dominated possession and territory but couldn’t break down a well organised Shanghai East Asia defence. The Cantonese side kept their first clean sheet of the season but managed only two shots on target en route to their first ever goalless draw in the CSL.
With midfielder Davi still suspended R&F boss Farias kept faith with the team that had earned his side their first CSL point this season in Qingdao last week. This meant that there were four R&F players with the surname Li (李) in the starting line-up, three in defence and one in midfield. Shanghai East Asia matched R&F’s formation by playing a 4-2-3-1 of their own.
There were still ‘fans’ coming in with almost forty minutes gone but all they’d missed from a poor first half was two R&F shots into the side netting. The late arrivals confusingly applied to the away fans too; their number had doubled to eight by half time. Cabezas should’ve given them something to cheer about but he wasted the best chance of the first half by shooting straight at R&F goalkeeper Shi Xiaotian.
The first corner of the game came just after half time but typifying R&F’s lacklustre play it was headed clear by the first East Asia defender. Australian Royston Griffiths had the ball in the next after the next corner but it was correctly ruled out for offside. R&F pressed without threatening, 12 shots went off target, and the home crowd were increasingly frustrated with the slow tempo. The arrival of the Cantonese pair Lu Lin and Wu Pingfeng and the removal of Yakubu sped things up a little but it was to no avail. East Asia almost won it at the death but substitute Mao Jiakang’s shot went just over the bar.
Shanghai East Asia passed the ball well, particularly Lu Wenjun, and Cabezas worked hard for them upfront and they’ll be confident going into next weekend’s clash with Tianjin who are still on negative points.
Going into the game R&F might have been happy with a draw but this performance was a step backwards as the side looked devoid of ideas with midfielders and defenders frequently throwing their hands up in the air in frustration at the lack of movement ahead of them. After drawing only three times in the whole of last season, R&F have now drawn twice in a row and, after the crowd had been reminded that this was a point won even if the performance was poor, the chant as the teams walked off the pitch was “two points, two points.” They’ll look to increase their tally next week as they travel to fellow strugglers Wuhan.