Tianjin Teda 1 – 1 Guangzhou R&F
CSL Round 29
Carmelo Valencia 72’ ; Jiang Ning 7’
Tianjin’s high tempo attack and defence stifled Guangzhou R&F as the sides played out a 1-1 draw. Jiang Ning opened the scoring for R&F but they were pushed back and the inevitable equaliser came from Valencia although Davi missed a great late chance to win it for the visitors.
After being sent off against Shanghai Shenxin last time out, R&F goalkeeper Cheng Yeulei was suspended for this match and replaced by Shi Xiaotian. Lu Lin came in for the injured Zhang Yuan and the Cantonese were also without Roystn Griffiths would didn’t even make the subs bench as Rafael Coelho was handed the start. Before kick-off there was still an outside chance that Tianjin could be relegated and Brazilian Bare led their attack instead of Andrezinho in a bid to prevent this.
Tianjin had a great chance inside two minutes but Guangzhou keeper Shi Xiaotian easily saved the unmarked Valencia’s header and before the game had settled into any pattern R&F took the lead. With Tianjin playing a high defensive line, Jiang Ning was able to race onto Davi’s through ball, his pace took him around Tianjin keeper Zhong Lei and just when it seemed that he’d blown the chance he managed to squeeze in a shot that rebounded off the post and fortuitously fell into his path to score his sixth of the season.
The game swung between attacks for both sides with Jiang and Raphael Coelho prominent for R&F and Barre and Li Benjian the hosts’ key players in the early part of the game but neither side could find the back of the net. From a freekick for a dubious foul on Yakubu, Lu Lin’s curling effort came back off the crossbar but Jiang’s goal had used up all of R&F’s luck as this time the rebound didn’t fall for Yakubu.
Tianjin continued to play a high defensive line and the midfielders pushed up too which limited R&F’s space and began to force the Cantonese into mistakes and after thirty minutes the Northerners had taken control of the game but struggled to test Shi in the R&F goal.
The second half continued in the same vein as Tianjin continued to press in both defence and attack but R&F keeper Shi dealt well with a number of challenging crosses. Guangzhou had few opportunities early in the second half as in a sight all too familiar for their fans Yakubu was left isolated in attack.
Hard working Tianjin were now the dominant side and R&F somehow survived a penalty box scramble following a corner as Alexandre Guimaraes had to make a double substitution to find the equaliser. Andrezinho and Liao Bochao both came on and it was the former whose long ball would bring the leveller. Valencia out jumped Tang Miao, who had an unusually poor game, picked up the loose ball, stepped past the covering Eddy Bosnar and side footed it beyond Shi. Despite currently being behind Cheng Yuelei in the pecking order, Shi has started eleven games this season and will be disappointed that he didn’t stop Valencia’s shot.
Given what had gone before this goal could have opened the floodgates but instead Tianjin seemed content with a draw as their tempo dropped and Guangzhou R&F ended the game as the stronger side. They almost scored a late winner as Jiang flicked on Yakubu’s chipped pass but Davi’s shot hit the side netting.
Tianjin put in a solid performance and had most of the possession and territory and whilst they avoided relegation by picking up a point they will be disappointed that they didn’t claim all three.
R&F showed flashes of good play but will need to put in a better performance against Shanghai Shenhua back at Yuexiushan on Sunday if they are to improve on last season’s seventh place finish. They may have to do so without Raphael though as the Brazilian midfielder picked up a knock towards the end of the game.