Liaoning Whowin 1- 0 Guangzhou R&F
CSL Round 16
James Chamanga 56’
A second half goal from James Chamanga was enough to give Liaoning a win and hand Sven-Goran Eriksson his first loss in Chinese football. The Zambian’s header came after a Cheng Yuelei error and despite all their efforts the Cantonese side couldn’t find an equaliser to continue their recent run of good form.
After going undefeated in his first three games as manager Sven kept a largely unchanged team, with Lu Lin coming in for Zhang Yuan and Xu Bo retaining his place at centre back. Liaoning lost to struggling Changchun in their last game and had first choice keeper Zhang Lu out with a foot injury so Liu Yang started in his place.
It was an open game played in bright sunshine and both sides showed plenty of ambition even if this was not always matched by quality. R&F were let down by their poor crossing from both flanks whilst the Liaoning front players couldn’t quite pick the right pass and remember to stay onside.
Liaoning had the best chance of the first half when a poor R&F clearance fell to Edu who played Milos Trifunovic through but the Serbian’s sidefooted effort went just wide of the far post. Ten minutes later Edu had a chance of his own but Cheng Yuelei tipped the Brazilian’s wickedly dipping volley over the bar. R&F’s two best chances came within sixty seconds of each other: Liu Yang saved Yakubu’s powerful drive before palming Li Yan’s long range effort behind for a corner.
Just as against Tianjin, R&F set a higher tempo at the start of the second half but it would be their hosts who took the lead after fifty-six minutes. Substitute Wang Liang swung over a freeckick from the right that confused Cheng Yuelei and left him stranded and he could only watch James Chamanga head in at the back post. Cheng is not blameless but he is entitled to ask where Chamanga’s marker was as the Cantonese conceded yet another goal from a set piece.
R&F had plenty of possession but failed to create many clear-cut chances as their short passing around Yakubu lacked accuracy. Liaoning keeper Liu collided with the big Nigerian but shrugged it off and was very relieved to see Zhang Yaokun poke over the bar from eight yards after Li Zhe’s knockdown. This was the Cantonese side’s best chance as Liu raced off his line several times to collect over-hit though balls and poor crosses and he could watch as the R&F midfielders struggled to hit the target from outside the box and Rafael Coelho sent a later header wide.
With R&F pressing for the equaliser, Liaoning had two great chances to seal the victory in added time. First Guangzhou left back Li Wenbo failed to cut out a long ball but keeper Cheng redeemed himself by making a great block to deny the onrushing Wang. Two minutes later a Chamanga shot left Cheng beaten but the Zambian’s shot hit the post and was cleared to safety by the R&F defence.
That was the final action of the game and both clubs will play in the CFA Cup on Wednesday, Liaoning host Tianjin whilst R&F travel to Nanjing to play Jiangsu, before the CSL resumes next weekend.