Guangzhou R&F 3 – 5 Guizhou Renhe
China Super League Round 25
Yakubu 6 (pen), 46, 92 (pen) ; Misimovic 1, Zhang Chenglin 11, Yu Hai 16, Nano 64, Rafa Jorda 80
The 7,000 spectators at Yuexiushan were braced for super typhoon Usagi but the only thing it rained was goals. Guizhou took their chances to score five and Yakubu replied with a hat-trick but his R&F side wasted many other promising opportunities.
Guangzhou welcomed back captain Zhang Yaokun who’d missed the heavy defeat at Beijing last weekend through suspension but Davi was dropped to the bench in favour of Roystn Griffiths. Guizhou made four changes from the side that beat Changchun last time out as they aimed to keep themselves in the ACL race.
The game was played in constant light drizzle but started with an avalanche of goals; four in the opening 16 minutes. Guizhou struck first as after a lovely passing move Chen Jie’s dummy allowed Zvjevdan Misimovic to steer home from the edge of the area.
R&F struck back almost immediately though as Yakubu was judged to have been fouled by Aussie centre back Jonas Salley inside the box. Salley may have stood on Yakubu’s foot but it was a harsh decision, not that it bothered Yakubu who dispatched the spot kick.
Rafael Coelho missed a chance to give R&F the lead and after 11 minutes Guizhou retook it. Rafa Jorda headed a freekick back across the box and defender Zhang Chenglin nodded in from the six yards out.
This time it was Li Yan’s turn to miss a glorious chance for the Cantonese side before Guizhou doubled their lead immediately afterwards. Captain Sun Jihai took a quick goal kick and the orange and black shirts broke quickly before the ball was played through to a suspiciously offside looking Yu Hai who scored.
The chances continued to come for both teams but there were no more goals thanks to good saves from Cheng Yuelei and Zhang Lie who both handled the greasy ball well. Rosytn Griffiths also enjoyed the conditions as he took every opportunity to make sliding challenges and was eventually booked when one too many missed the ball and got the man.
With his side 3-1 down a fiery half time teamtalk from the normally calm Sven Goran Eriksson was called for and his side responded within a minute of the restart. The first time Guizhou touched the ball was when keeper Zhang Lie parried Tang Miao’s low hard cross and the second was when Lie picked the ball out of his net after Yakubu had prodded home the rebound.
The home fans sensed their team had a chance and the noise levels increased as more braved the drizzle to come out of the shelter at the top of the stand. They were disappointed however as the old failings of poor crossing and finishing again returned to haunt R&F. Guizhou weathered the storm and extended their advantage after sixty four minutes. Nano headed a corner onto the crossbar and from the next corner the Spaniard Jorda headed down and the ball fell kindly for his compatriot Nano to volley in.
Lu Lin and Davi were introduced to try and convert R&F’s dominance in possession into goals but Guizhou scored on the break once again. Jorda deservedly got on the scoresheet himself by peeling away from Bosnar to control and slam home Wan Houliang’s cross.
Yakubu completed his hat-trick in stoppage time as he converted his second dubiously awarded penalty of the game. This one was even softer than the first and Sun Jihai will feel very aggrieved that it was given against him, as will Lu Lin who yet again came on and won a last gasp penalty with the result already beyond doubt but again was denied the chance to take the penalty by a foreign star.
Despite conceding the bulk of possession to R&F (42% v 58%), Guizhou outshot their opponents 19 to 15 and crucially converted more of their chances to secure all three points. Following Beijing’s loss, this win moves Guizhou into third and keeps the battle for the final ACL spot well and truly alive. Meanwhile, the loss ended any faint hopes R&F had of appearing in continental football next year and after two heavy defeats they must now try to ensure their season doesn’t unravel as they travel north to face Dalian Aerbin next week.