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Elkeson sees red as Evergrande scrape draw in Liaoning

Liaoning Whowin 1-1 Guangzhou Evergrande

Chinese Super League round 27

Kim Tae-Yan 30′; Huang Bowen 78′

A Guangzhou Evergrande side shorn of its entire first-choice defence came away from Shenyang with a draw in this rescheduled CSL fixture on Tuesday evening last. With neither team having much left to play for in the league, it was a rather dull match only really enlivened by the melee now traditional to this fixture and some controversial refereeing decisions.

Guangzhou were able to field their three South American attackers, but eight Chinese players and South Korean Kim Young-Gwon were absent due to the international ‘break’. In their stead there were first CSL appearances of the season for full-backs Huang Jiaqiang and Zhang Hongnan and a first CSL start for centre-back Yi Teng. Cantonese native Feng Junyan was named captain in Zheng Zhi’s absence.

For their part, Liaoning were missing their prolific regular front line of Chamanga and Edu; it was the third consecutive game in which the Brazilian had not been named in the matchday squad, while the Zambian was on the bench for his national team as they faced off against Brazil in Beijing. In their place came Trifunović and the little-used Yang Yu. Ni Yusong and Hu Yanqiang also had rare starts in midfield in the absence of injured captain Zhao Junzhe.

The first noteworthy action of the match was nine minutes in when Huang Jiaqiang was cautioned for taking down Hu Yanqiang as he charged up the right side of the Guangzhou box; from the resulting free kick, Brandán hit the junction of crossbar and far post.

The next card of a bad-tempered game came less than ten minutes later when Yang Yu was booked either for trying to pull down Elkeson or faking a facial injury when in the process the Brazilian’s arm collided with his chest. Fifteen minutes later in a similar tangle with Conca, he actually did get smacked in the nose, with the Evergrande player this time being shown a yellow.

Just beforehand on the half hour mark, Liaoning had fortuitously opened the scoring when Kim Tae-Yan’s shot deflected first off Huang Jiaqiang’s leg and then Yi Teng’s before looping past Li Shuai in the Guangzhou goal. Liaoning had been looking dangerous attacking from the left for a while, but the goal was about as flukey as they come.

Having taken the lead, Liaoning quickly made breaking their opponents’ composure the priority. It all kicked off six minutes before the break, when Ni Yusong committed an atrocious tackle from behind on Conca in the middle of the pitch. Elkeson came over to remonstrate with the assailant, but was shoved out of the way by Brandán while the referee was looking elsewhere.

In the ensuing fracas Ni, who had been shouting at Elkeson, collapsed dramatically holding his face after a light push from the Brazilian. The Elk received a straight red, probably destroying his hopes of breaking the CSL goalscorer record this season given the hefty punishments the CFA like to dole out to foreigners in situations like these. Ni confusingly was sent off for a second yellow, though he didn’t appear to have collected a first one.

Lippi rang the changes for the second half in an effort to get back into the contest. Both debutant full-backs were replaced by equally callow attacking players, Hu Weiwei and Yang Chaosheng making their first and second CSL appearances of 2013 respectively. Both acquitted themselves quite well as Guangzhou did the vast majority of the attacking in the second half, with Hu in particular causing plenty of problems up the left.

Liaoning seemed content to pack the box and try to hold out for the 1-0, and it looked for a while like their plan might succeed, with Guangzhou largely restricted to pot-shots from distance. There were some good chances, but a combination of poor finishing, most noticeably from the ineffective Feng Junyan, and excellent goalkeeping from Liu Yang kept the away side at bay for most of the half.

However when the breakthrough came with twelve minutes of normal time left, Liu did look to be at fault. He seemed to misjudge the trajectory of Huang Bowen’s shot from outside the D, choosing to stand and watch as it made its way to the bottom left corner of his net, though to be fair there may have been a very slight deflection off the boot of Sun Shilin.

The final moments were quite frantic. Very soon after the goal, Zheng Tao saw yellow for a nasty foul on Qin Sheng, who had to be restrained from retaliating by Huang. He remained in quite a funk for the rest of the game, finally being booked for dissent right at the end after yet another dodgy free-kick decision against Evergrande in the home penalty box.

In between Feng Renliang, on for Muriqui, mishit comically from a great position in a moment that encapsulated his season, while on the counter from this Hu Yanqiang also spurned a great chance to claim the points for his side. In the end though, a draw was probably a fair enough result, even if the manner in which Liaoning went about earning it left, as usual, a rotten taste in the mouth.

Liaoning Whowin: 29 Liu Yang; 11 Zheng Tao, 4 Sun Shilin, 5 Yang Shanping, 18 Wang Liang; 20 Kim Tae-Yan, 19 P. Brandán, 30 Ni Yusong, 16 Hu Yanqiang; 6 Yang Yu, 14 Miloš Trifunović
Subs: 1 Zhang Lu, 22 Wang Liang (for 14 Miloš Trifunović 69′), 24 Hao Yonghe (for 8 Zhang Ye 87′), 28 Jiang Peng (for 16 Hu Yanqiang 90+1′), 8 Zhang Ye, 23 Wang Hao, 33 Wang Fa

Guangzhou Evergrande: 22 Li Shuai; 21 Huang Jiaqiang, 3 Yi Teng, 4 Zhao Peng, 31 Zhang Hongnan; 8 Qin Sheng, 16 Huang Bowen, 7 Feng Junyan; 15 Conca, 11 Muriqui, 9 Elkeson
Subs: 1 Yang Jun, 30 Yang Chaosheng (for 21 Huang Jiaqiang 42′), 34 Hu Weiwei (for 31 Zhang Hongnan 46′), 14 Feng Renliang (for 11 Muriqui 73′), 2 Liao Lisheng, 23 Ni Bo, 23 Li Zhilang

Irish Guangzhou Evergrande fan, following them since I fortuitously found myself living next to Tianhe Stadium in 2011, reporting on them for Wild East Football since 2012.

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