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Guangzhou puts exclamation point on season with defeat of Guoan

Beijing Guoan was one of the few (if not the only) remaining teams in the Chinese Super League who hadn’t been bloodied by Guangzhou Evergrande since the Cantonese side joined the league, last night changed that.

The Beijingers put in a good effort but were roundly defeated by Evergrande due to defensive errors and a red card setback. It didn’t have to be that way, Beijing looked the better side from the start and had a great chance when a seeing eye pass from Shao Jiayi found Freddie Kanoute in the box, but Zhang Linpeng was in place to block it.

Any concern that Guangzhou was going to get off to a slow start as has been the case much of this season was ended in the 12th minute when a Rong Hao cross found Sun Xiang, playing in his 100th match, all alone on the left. Sun’s curvy volley beat Yang Zhi and put the home side up by one early on.

From there, it was a lot of back and forth play, with Guoan relying on Kanoute and Zhang Xizhe and Evergrande relying on Elkeson. Both sides created some good chances, but both were hampered by the slippery conditions, despite the pre-match rain, Evergrande watered the pitch as well, perhaps worried about Guoan’s speed, though it had a clear impact on both sides.

Just before the half hour mark, Elkeson was all alone going in on Yang, who came out to challenge him and the contact led to Evergrande being given a penalty and Yang seeing red. Despite Zhang Xizhe’s excellent play up to that point, Guoan manager Stanojevic, perhaps sensing the match was over, took him off and brought on backup keeper Zhang Sipeng. Conca converted the penalty to give Evergrande a 2-0 lead.

The Beijingers continued to fight back, but couldn’t produce much, while Guangzhou created chance after chance, though Zhao Xuri’s horrible shooting helped keep Guoan in the match. Credit also to Zhang Sipeng, seeing his first CSL action since 2011 (and only his 4th appearance), he performed valiantly keeping Evergrande off the board.

Evergrande added another in the 66th minute, Conca’s beautiful pass found Zhang Linpeng and then a Zhang cross picked out a wide open Elkeson for a third goal. Back at his club, Zhang showed the skill that regularly has him coming in for high praise, but wasn’t seen during the recent East Asian Cup in Korea.

With a lead now at 16 points (though second place Shandong plays tonight), Guangzhou’s third straight title is a certainty, the only question left is will they go through the season undefeated?

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere.

He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years.

Chemers’ credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers.

For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Damian Jones

    01/08/2013 at 13:43

    A footballing masterclass …… almost. Taking our foot off the pedal after the 2nd goal and, also, wasting a number of chances prevented what should have been an even more resounding spanking.
    Any animosity towards Guoan dissipated as the game wore on and the game became one of relative ease. Guoan can usually be relied on to give Guangzhou a game but it seems GZ have moved even further ahead of the field this year. Our foreigners are superstars and our Chinese players play their positions and team style very well. This is a very, very well organised outfit.

    • Steve Crooks

      01/08/2013 at 15:36

      Honest question for those of a Guangzhou hue — while Evergrande have some cracking players and play very watchable football, is it starting to get a little boring that you’re essentially 3+ goals better than every other side in the country? Was the relative closeness of last season’s title race and some of the games against the big boys not more interesting?

  2. Damian Jones

    01/08/2013 at 17:03

    I was actually having doubts about renewing my season ticket as early as May, asking myself the very same question of where’s the fun in turning up to games knowing your team is going to romp to victory. Since then i’ve told myself that I just as well enjoy the football on offer from what must be China’s best ever club team. I guess it’s also of some interest to see if The Elk can smash the goal scoring record, if GZ can go through the season undefeated, can GZ do the double over Fuli in the derby and, maybe, can GZ win the ACL? However, in all fairness, my interest in watching GZ against some of the so called smaller teams, makes going to the games almost a chore. I probably won’t get a season ticket next year and just go to some of the more appealing fixtures.

    • Christopher Atkins

      01/08/2013 at 19:54

      It’s a tough one, I’d imagine. Can only hope their excellence inspires a few challengers. No one close at present though.

  3. garryregan

    02/08/2013 at 00:36

    I’m also a season ticket holder at Hengda and I like going to watch games, I’m sure I’ll renew next season though. Some of the results can be fairly predictable, but I wouldn’t call the football boring, considering some of the dross I used to pay 6 or 7x more to watch each season in England.
    The area where I sit in Tianhe is not in one of the fan group areas and at the beginning of the season there weren’t many people there. However, as the season went on, more and more people have joined and most seem to arrive 10
    minutes late and leave 10 minutes before the end. They spend most of the game eating snacks and taking photos. Evergrande is becoming more and more ‘fashionable’ to watch in GZ, that’s for sure.

  4. Cameron Wilson

    02/08/2013 at 13:54

    Evergrande’s success is as much a reflection of other clubs inability or unwillingness to up their game as it is their own excellence. Yes there are sustainability issues with the Evergrande model, but, this is China FFS, far much more money is wasted on much bigger scale things than football clubs. Man City and Chelsea are doing ok, the only realistic hope for the CSL to get competitive anytime soon is for other investors to throw in cash in other cities.

    For all those in Guangzhou, there is always R&F if you get sick of watching a winning team!

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