Guizhou Renhe 2-0 Guangzhou Evergrande
CFA Cup Final, Leg 1
Yu Hai 51′, 67‘
Guangzhou Evergrande’s slogan is having “never won enough”, but that may have come to its conclusion after Guizhou Renhe’s Yu Hai knocked in a brace Sunday afternoon with no answer from the champions of Asia.
Overturning the deficit will be made all the harder with the club missing Elkeson after the Brazilian striker lost the plot and pushed Yang Hao, taking offense at a hard foul. Yang wasn’t guilt free, his kick probably deserved a yellow, but Elkeson stopped playing to turn and push Yang with both hands, one catching the Renhe player in the face, and the Japanese referee rightly gave the Brazilan a straight red.
From the start the danger of Yu was apparent, finding space behind the defense and making a good run in the opening minutes, but that was about the extent of the Guizhou threat for much of the first half. Evergrande got on the ball and dominated possession, but was unable to produce anything and the Elkeson sending off on the half hour mark definitely impacted their plans. The match’s physicality continued when Muriqui took offense to a Jonas Salley tackle. The two would continue to battle it out throughout the match, with Muriqui going in hard at Salley later on.
At the half, Evergrande manager Marcello Lippi took off Gao Lin and brought on Zhao Xuri, likely hoping for a defensive final 45 minutes and a return to Guangzhou with the tie still up in the air. Despite the defensive plans, Guangzhou almost got on the board first in the 48th minute, though Muriqui was just a touch offside.
Guizhou didn’t wait any longer, in the 51st minute Yu Hai did well to find space in Guangzhou’s defense, getting past Feng Xiaoting and scoring a quality goal from a tight angle. Yu’s second goal would come shortly after the hour mark and would be a mirror of his first, using his speed to find a hole in the defense on the left side.
Two goals up, Guizhou came forward for more, however Evergrande just wanted to stop the bleeding, making for a very tight final 20 minutes of the match. When the final whistle blew, Evergrande players surrounded the referee, with the assistant managers and Zheng Zhi getting in his face. The second leg, to be held Saturday in Guangzhou, is sure to be an exciting affair.
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