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Jiangsu get much needed win against woeful R&F

Jiangsu Sainty 2 – o Guangzhou R&F

China Super League Round 8

Hamdi Salihi 11’, Eleilson 75’

Guangzhou R&F slipped to another CSL defeat, this time at the hands of Jiangsu Sainty. A goal in either half was enough for the Nanjing side to see off their lacklustre Cantonese opposition who had 64% possession but could only manage two efforts on target.

After record breaking seasons in 2012, both sides had made poor starts to this campaign and were locked together on five points before this match. Despite almost qualifying from their ACL group, Jiangsu hadn’t performed well in the CSL and were missing their talismanic striker Danalache. Guangzhou R&F couldn’t point to any injuries for their poor form and in search of something different R&F coach Farias opted to leave Yakubu on the bench. They were able to welcome back Brazilian midfielder Davi though as he has now served his four game suspension.

Unfortunately this good news didn’t last long as another Brazilian midfielder, Jumar, went down clutching his leg after making a challenge on Wu Xi and was stretchered off. So desperate was Farias for Jumar to continue that he sent him back out only for Jumar to collapse immediately again and be carried off for a second time. Things instantly got worse for R&F as terrible defending allowed a Jiangsu corner to land right at Hamdi Salihi’s feet and from six yards out the Albanian poked in the opener.

Rafael Coelho had a weak header saved after 13 minutes before Deng Xiaofei spilled the Brazilian’s thirty yard strike five minutes later. These were to be the only R&F efforts to worry Deng’s goal for the entire game and shortly before half time Coelho went off injured.  Shi Xiaotian in the Guangzhou goal was much the busier goalkeeper and had to make a great double save to prevent Salihi doubling his tally after forty minutes. Shi had earlier made a good body block from Jevtic’s shot when the score was still 0-0 and was relieved when Sun Ke’s curled effort went over the bar.

The second half continued much as the first had done; Jiangsu looking dangerous on the counter attack whilst R&F enjoyed the overwhelming majority of possession although ‘enjoyed’ is probably the wrong word as the Cantonese looked clueless and couldn’t create any chances. Jiangsu didn’t press and R&F could only pass the ball around in front of the defence as attempting anything else inevitably resulted in a loss of possession.

When Jiangsu did get the ball they looked lively and they were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when the ball appeared to strike Griffiths on the arm inside the area. Shi Xiaotian was frequently called into action and made a good save to deny Lu Bofei. It didn’t bring much respite though as the Nanjingers scored from the resulting corner via Brazilian defender Eleilson’s downward header.

Farias’ final replacement was bringing on right back Tang Miao to play on the right-wing to try and overturn the two goal deficit. R&F had been very reluctant to use free kicks and corners to cross any balls into the box, despite abundant evidence that they couldn’t pass through or around the Jiangsu defence, and Tang changed this but couldn’t provide enough of a spark to lead to a goal.

Jiangsu were solid in defence and were quick on the counter, it says something that Jiangsu had 36% of possession yet the R&F keeper was probably man of the match, and will be very pleased to record only their second win of this CSL campaign. Without the ACL to distract them anymore Dragan Okuka’s men can now set their sights on climbing the CSL table.

There were three minutes of added time at the end of the game but it seemed as if R&F could play for the three days before Beijing Guoan visit Yuexiushan on Friday without scoring. Following on from the uninspiring draw against Shanghai East Asia, the lifeless loss to Hangzhou and rumours that Farias has ‘lost the dressing room’ this dire performance could signal that he is into added time of his R&F managerial career.

Donald began following Guangzhou R&F having moved to China in the same year that R&F moved to Guangzhou. The club's first foreign season ticket holder, Donald was able to watch three seasons at Yuexiushan before returning to the UK.

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