Guangzhou R&F 2 – 1 Tianjin Teda
CSL Round 14
Rafael Coelho 8’ and 50’; Elder Lima ‘87
Rafael Coelho scored early in each half to extend Guangzhou R&F’s unbeaten streak to five games. Tianjin made the Cantonese work hard though and Lima’s late goal ensured a nervy final few minutes.
Despite Lu Lin’s impact off the bench in Saturday’s 2-0 win, R&F boss Sven-Goran Eriksson sent out the same eleven that had started his first match in charge. Tianjin also won at the weekend and this had lifted them off the bottom of the CSL. For probably the first and last time in the CSL, each side included an Australian midfielder who had previously played for Gretna in Scotland, even if in this match R&F’s Roystn Griffiths was playing at centre back whilst Tiajin used Erik Paartalu in his more natural position.
For R&F’s first ever midweek CSL home game Yuexiushan was busy, with Evergrande coach Lippi one of the spectators, but many of the crowd were still arriving when the Cantonese side raced into the lead. After multiple one-on-one chances went begging against Shanghai Shenxin on Satruday, this time Raphael Coelho made no mistake when he was released by Yakubu’s pass. The Brazilian, who is being used by Eriksson as a striker, dinked the ball calmly over Yang Qipeng in the Tiajin goal after only eight minutes.
Griffiths was forced off after 16 minutes with an injury but replacement centre back Xu Bo had a solid game alongside captain Zhang Yaokun. There was further disruption before half time for R&F as winger Zhang Yuan left and Lu Lin came on in his place but couldn’t replicate his fantastic performance off the bench in Saturday’s win.
Instead it was Tianjin, and especially their hard working striker Valencia, who made most of the running in the first half. A second clean sheet for R&F in a row was still possible at half time though as Cheng Yuelei’s goal had survived a couple of goal mouth scrambles, two Paartalu long shots and an even longer throw in from the Australian.
Eriksson must have given a powerful half time team talk as immediately after the break his team came out looking much brighter and the second half was only five minutes old when Coelho grabbed his seventh goal of the season. Jiang Ning collected Davi’s pass, beat one player to get to the byeline and squared it to Coelho who at the second time of asking, after defender Lima’s last ditch block, doubled R&F’s lead.
The Cantonese spurned numerous counter-attack opportunities and seemed content to defend a 2-0 lead. The slower pace suited big Nigerian striker Yakubu but his attempted lob after an hour was too casual and keeper Yang easily plucked it out of the air.
Tianjin took the initiative and whilst they didn’t create any clear cut chances they still forced Cheng Yuelei into a couple of fine saves, including a flying one handed stop from Du Zhenyu’s long shot. Paartalu’s Rory Delap-esuqe long throws caused plenty of panic in the R&F defence but predictably, given R&F’s poor record at defending set pieces, Tianjin’s goal would come from a freekick. Brazilian midfielder Dinelson sent over a cross that his fellow countryman Elder Lima flicked on and into the net. Tianjin deserved their goal and still had time to draw level but their final attacks were beaten away by the R&F defence.
This defeat, coupled with Changhcun’s win over Shanghai Shenhua, sends Tianjin back to the bottom of the CSL table before their next match against Shanghai Shenxin. R&F and Sven Goran Eriksson recorded their second straight win and fifth consecutive undefeated match to move up to eighth in the CSL. The squad will be tired and it seems unlikely that R&F will break another club record by naming an unchanged line-up for the third time in a row when they travel to Shanghai to take on Shenhua.