Shanghai Shenxin 1 – 0 Guangzhou R&F
CSL Round 28
Brazilian striker Paraíba scored the only goal of the game moments after being clattered by Cheng Yuelei in an incident which saw the R&F keeper sent off. Ten man R&F couldn’t break down the Shenxin defence and the win secures the Shanghai side their CSL status for next year.
The pre-match atmosphere amongst the home crowd was so poor that two Frenchmen with no allegiance to either side asked, and were allowed by the security guards, to stand with the 50 away fans who out sung and possibly also outnumbered the home ‘ultras’ at the opposite end of the ground.
Whilst R&F were winning off the pitch, despite having their drum and megaphone confiscated by security, on the pitch they had a very sluggish start to the game as if it was the team and not their travelling support who had spent 16 hours on a hard seat train the night before. Shenxin suffered no such problems and were very bright with Jailton Paraiba’s pace worrying the Guangzhou defence and causing Australian centre back Eddy Bosnar to make a few errors.
Miscommunication between him and Tang Miao after 22 minutes would undo R&F as the Aussie pushed forward to try to play Paraíba offside but Tang didn’t and the diminutive Brazilian stayed onside as he raced after a through ball. Goalkeeper Cheng Yuelei sprinted out of his box and clattered into Paraíba in mid-air after Paraíba had headed the ball on. Despite R&F’s Davi knocking the card from the referee’s hand in his protestations, the man in black had no hesitation in producing a red card.
Roystn Griffiths was taken off to allow Shi Xiaotian to come on in goal and his first act was to save the resulting freekick but the rebound fell kindly for Paraíba and he tapped in before somersaulting away in celebration.
For all their pressure in the remainder of the first half Shenxin couldn’t add to their lead as right back Jiang Zhipeng missed a couple of chances and R&F captain Zhang Yaokun made some vital tackles. His side struggled to adapt to playing with ten men and were tame in attack throughout the opening period.
This changed in the second half as the Cantonese side appeared more aggressive and put together some nice moves but couldn’t find an equaliser. They actually had more shots than Shenxin but those on target were too weak to trouble Liu Dianzuo and the familiar theme of poor crossing returned.
Shenxin weren’t having everything their own way but they almost made the game safe after 69 minutes. Paraíba spun away from Bosnar inside the box but his shot and the rebound from Yang Jiawei were both well saved by Shi Xiaotian who reminded Sven Goran Eriksson why he’d been the number one goalkeeper at the end of Farias’ tenure before the Swede arrived.
There were few other clear-cut chances and the loudest jeer of the night came when it was announced that 7000 were inside Yuanshen stadium; somebody appeared to have miscounted by about 5000. So poor was the atmosphere that after the referee gave a freekick against R&F for pushing Shenxin’s keeper, Eddy Bosnar could clearly be heard from the stand swearing at the referee who must not understand English or the Aussie would’ve seen yellow.
As it was the yellow shirts of Shenxin celebrated a win that removes any lingering doubt over their CSL status for next year and puts them only one point behind East Asia and Shenhua in the Shanghai mini-league. Results elsewhere mean that R&F stay fifth and if the Cantonese team are to improve on last season’s seventh place finish they will probably have to win both of their remaining fixtures because the middle of the table is so congested.