Guangdong Sunray Cave 0 – 1 Chongqing FC
China League One Round 30
A goal late in the first half from Nei was enough to earn Chongqing FC a win against promotion challenging Guangdong Sunray Cave, but not enough to prevent them being relegated on goal-difference. Despite creating a bucketful of chances, the hosts couldn’t find the back of the net and this woeful shooting sees them miss the chance to play in the CSL next year.
Going into the game Guangdong were second and Chongqing second bottom and each side had a very real chance of playing their football outside of China League One next year, although other final day results would influence this.
The ranks of the Sunray Cave fans at Foshan’s Century Lotus stadium had been swelled by many in Guangzhou Evergrande shirts, a couple of R&F fans as well as people in an array of shirts of top European teams but they all added to the atmosphere. The arrival of a small group carrying cymbals, a hand held drum and a big traditional Chinese drum brought a huge cheer, as did Yang Jian’s second minute freekick which hit the side netting.
Guangdong’s Cameroonian striker Mahama Awal was playing on the left wing but his run into the centre almost created the opening goal. His flick header fell to Brazilian striker Dori and, aided by Chan Siu Ki’s block, Dori peeled away to the left but his shot sailed over the bar.
Chongqing had been let down by poor passing in the final third of the pitch and there looked to be no danger from a cross after thirty minutes until Guangdong centre back Carlos Garcia miscued his header and almost scored an own goal. The Uruguayan was bailed out by a superb full length diving stop from keeper Luo Zuqing.
Despite needing a win to have any chance of avoiding relegation, Chongqing took every available opportunity to waste time and provided little support for Nei upfront who was dominated in the air by Guangdong’s Garcia. The Brazilian would escape his marker after 40 minutes to score though. A Guangdong attack broke down and Chongqing’s Li Fei raced unopposed through the midfield before passing to Nei who rounded the keeper and slotted home, prompting the twenty travelling fans to ‘do the Poznan.’
At half-time news filtered through that Harbin were beating BIT so it was imperative that Guangdong scored, substitute Wang Qiang almost managed that immediately after the restart but his shot went just wide. Perhaps this news had demoralised the Guangdong players but there was a surprising lack of effort to get the win that would give them promotion.
In spite of the absence of a do-or-die spirit Sunray Cave easily created enough chances to win the game and ensure CSL football for the first time but they couldn’t finish any of them. Liu Sheng failed to connect with a freekick when unmarked only six yards from goal, Dori managed a connection from an almost identical spot but the he hooked his shot wide and Qiang sliced his volleyed effort horribly high and wide of the goal. Awal, in his fifth season for the club, was taken off but replacement Cai Jingyuan missed another glorious chance as he blazed over from inside the area
The away support had now fallen silent as Chongqing were on the back foot even though Guangdong could only manage to get a handful of efforts on target. As the minutes ticked by and yet more chances were missed and passes went astray, the Guangdong fans quietened down too as they could see their dream dying before their eyes. It had died by injury time when Leung Chun Pong’s freekick rebounded to safety after hitting the inside of the post to deny them even a consolation goal to celebrate.
The Guangdong players sat disconsolately on the field after the final whistle as they contemplated their missed opportunity whilst there was greater disappointment for the Chongqing side who despite the win were relegated.
Elsewhere in China League One
Henan Construction returned to the CSL at the first opportunity even though they ended the season with a 5-4 loss away to Shenzhen. Harbin Yiteng capitalised on Guangdong’s defeat by beating BIT 5-2 to clinch promotion to the CSL.
At the other end of the table, Chengdu Blades will stay in China League One next year despite going down 2-0 away to Hubei Kyle thanks to their superior goal difference compared to Chongqing FC. Guizhou Zicheng join Chongqing FC in being relegated as they finished in last place after their 1-1 draw with Tianjin Songjiang.
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