Guangzhou R&F 0 – 0 Jiangsu Sainty
China Super League Round 23
Guangzhou R&F’s seven game home winning streak came to an end on Friday night when two disallowed Yakubu goals were the closest the Cantonese club came to scoring. R&F dominated possession and Jiangsu were forced to defend for large periods of the second half but a last-minute Hamdi Salihi header almost won it for the Nanjing side.
Sven Goran Erikson sent out an unchanged R&F side from the one that had battled hard but ultimately lost to neighbours Evergrande in the derby last week with Yakubu and Raphael Coelho playing up front. Jiangsu have struggled this year but were able to include last year’s golden boot winner Cristian Danalache in their starting line-up.
It was his strike partner Aleksander Jevtic who had the first shot on goal though, a fizzing strike that R&F keeper Cheng Yuelei needed two goes to hold. The Serbian hit the crossbar with a header from a freekick after twenty minutes as Jiangsu put in a strong start to the game.
Both sides showed plenty of endeavour in the first half but lacked the killer ball and R&F’s first clear chance came from a defensive lapse. Yakubu pounced on a loose back pass and did well to turn defender Eleilson but his shot was saved by Guan Zhen who stood up well. Yakubu did beat Gaun a few minutes later as he slid in to turn Liu Cheng’s cross home only to see it ruled out for offside. The same decision was given after the Nigerian chipped Guan two minutes later following Jiang Ning’s pass. After two disallowed goals in three minutes the, not particularly large, crowd let the referee know what they thought of him as half time was called.
Yakubu’s night was over after the first minute of the second half as he went off with an injury. This only seemed to spur his teammates on though as they continued to attack. Despite all their pressure, R&F had 60% possession, the Cantonese couldn’t break down the well organised Jiangsu defence and the closest they came after the break was a Roystn Griffiths cross/shot which hit the bar as too often crosses were over hit and passes went astray.
Jiangsu looked liked they’d produced the perfect away performance as the Nanjingers soaked up all the pressure their hosts put them under and created a golden chance to win it in extra time. Danalache sent over a cross from the right which found sub Hamdi Salihi unmarked in the area but the Albanian’s header hit the far post and rolled out of play much to the relief of the R&F fans.
Jiangsu looked much happier with the outcome than R&F as they continued their record of never having lost to the Cantonese side. Jiangsu will be back in Nanjing for the next round of CSL fixtures and will welcome Tianjin who handed Guangzhou Evergrande their first domestic defeat of the season on Satruday night.
R&F will have to do a lot better at converting possession into shots on target when they travel to Beijing for their next CSL game. Yakubu is expected to be fit by then although captain Zhang Yaokun will be suspended after picking up his fourth yellow card.