Guangzhou R&F 2 – 1 Beijing Guoan
Chinese Super league Round 9
Lu Lin 57’, Zhang Shuo 65’; Lima 90+3’
Two second half goals gave a much improved Guangzhou R&F their first home of the 2013 CSL season. Andre Lima scored for Beijing late on but the Men in Green couldn’t recover from their slow start.
R&F were again down to only four available foreigners, with Jumar out following the injury he picked up on Monday against Jiangsu, but Yakubu and Royston Griffiths were both welcomed back after being given the cold shoulder. R&F had only had three days since that dismal defeat in Nanjing but had agreed to move this match forward to give Beijing more chance to prepare for their ACL game on Tuesday. Perhaps with one eye on this, Guoan lined up with only two foreigners, Darko Matic and Joffre Guerron.
The Beijingers came out for their warm-up a full twenty minutes after the Cantonese had and this was reflected in the opening period as Beijing didn’t look as switched on as their hosts. Had Rafael Coelho been a bit more fortunate he could have given his side the lead inside ten minutes following Lu Lin’s cross. This was sparked by a quick throw from Yakubu and the big Nigerian was heavily involved early on; twice electing to shoot himself rather than pass to the better positioned Davi. R&F looked much brighter than at other times this season and created more chances than Guoan but were guilty of being greedy. As well as Yakubu, Coelho tried to bulldoze his way through the defence on a counter attack when he really should have passed. Worryingly R&F lost two more foreigners to injury, Griffiths and Yakubu, although their replacements played very well; Tang Miao was played out of position at left-back but regularly stormed forward whilst Zhang Shuo lead the line well in attack.
It was 0-0 at half time and Guoan were yet to really get into the game, they’d managed only a couple of long shots, and even a couple of mistimed tackles from the R&F defence didn’t draw much of a response from the Men in Green.
It seemed only a matter of time before R&F scored but Yang Zhi in the Guoan goal did well to save Coelho’s header from a freekick. R&F took the lead two minutes later though. Davi’s powerful shot beat Yang but rebounded off the post and, in a rare piece of good fortune for R&F this year, fell to Lu Lin to smash into the net. It was his first goal since a beauty against Jiangsu last year and was also the first time that R&F had taken the lead at Yuexiushan this season and the relatively small number of supporters in the stands loved it.
This finally jolted Bejing into action and saw Andre Lima introduced off the bench. The Brazilian almost scored with his first touch but his curled effort went just wide of the far post. Another substitute made no mistake though. Tang Miao fed Lu Lin who turned provider with his chipped pass to Zhang Shuo and the substitute striker managed to lift the ball over Yang to make it 2-0 and so register his first goal since the first of the derby wins over Evergrande last season. The R&F bench cleared to celebrate the goal and the party atmosphere in the stands continued with, at least in one supporters group, any ‘Guoan SB’ chants being cancelled out by Cantonese cheering for R&F.
The initiative now shifted to Bejing with Lima emerging as their key threat, he looped a header just over the bar with seventy minutes on the clock. The heavily tattooed Shi Xiaotian was repeatedly called into action in the R&F goal and came off his line to claim several crosses as well as making a couple of crucial stops. However, Beijing denied Shi a clean sheet as they scored a late consolation goal when Lima pounced on Wang Hao’s flick-on to prod the ball home. This didn’t do much to dampen the mood in the home stands and the chant at the end was “eight points, eight points.”
Beijing now have time to regroup before they play host to FC Seoul in the ACL on Tuesday night and following their poor showing in the first sixty minutes here Aleksander Stanojevic will welcome the chance to bring some of his more established players back to the starting line-up.
Despite R&F’s poor start to the season there was optimism in the stands ahead of this game and the players rewarded the fans by putting in one of their best performances of the season to earn their first win at Yuexiushan since May last year and their first in Guangzhou since Septmeber 2012. That was against Guizhou and it is to Guiyang that R&F go next weekend to see whether this game was a blip or a sign of better things to come.