R&F put six goals past Hangzhou to ensure that the match will be remembered as much for Abderazzak Hamdallah’s ten minute hat-trick as the state of the pitch. Undaunted by the swamp like nature of the playing surface Hangzhou started brightly and didn’t deserve to lose by four goals but were undone by two soft penalties and some great strikes from distance.
CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 4
Guangzhou R&F 6
Davi (pen) 25’, Ken Ilsø ’54, Lu Lin 80’, Abderazzak Hamdallah 85’, (pen) 93’, 95’
Hangzhou Greentown 2
Davy Claude Angan 6’, Gilberto Macena 55’
Davi returned for the Blue and Whites, but Korean defender Jang Hyun-Soo’s absence saw Xu Bo made his first start of the season. Hangzhou, meanwhile, opted for an adventurous line-up with Macena, Anselmo Ramon and Davy Claude Angan all playing. The real pre-match news was that there was a match at all though as Guangzhou had been deluged by rain for the previous 24 hours. The drainage at Yuexiushan did an admirable job but one that in many countries would have been deemed not good enough as there were areas of standing water on the swamp pitch.
Nevertheless the game went ahead and Hangzhou immediately settled in with an Angan header forcing Cheng Yuelei into a save after just three minutes. R&F didn’t heed the warning and the striker from the Côte d’Ivoire beat Tang Miao in the box and shot past Cheng to open the scoring shortly afterwards.
R&F were really struggling until being awarded a fortuitous penalty after twenty five minutes when Zhao Yuhao was ruled to have pulled down Hamdallah in the box as both players waited for a cross. Zhao will feel aggrieved because whilst he was tugging the Moroccan’s shirt, every other defender in the CSL would have done the same and 99% of the time got away with it. Davi wasn’t in a charitable mood and made him pay when he scored the resulting penalty.
The pitch made passing football difficult as the ball would stop dead in puddles and particularly boggy areas so both sides used the long balls and shots from distance that the conditions demanded. With the rain still lashing down and the stadium sparsely populated the rest of the first half was not an exciting spectacle.
There was a brief respite from the rain at half time and when the players emerged in new shirts for the second half the game burst into life. First, Ken Ilso, who was playing in midfield this week, drilled a twenty five yard shot into the top right hand corner after Davi’s pass. This goal was entirely thanks to the pitch as the long ball that started the move stopped in a puddle rather than rolling over the touchline as it would’ve on a dry surface which allowed Zhang Yuan to reach it.
Hangzhou were undeterred and replied instantly when Macena and Ramon combined for the former to equalise. Angan almost gave his side the lead in the seventieth minute but fired into the side netting.
The Blue and Whites were growing in confidence and began to pass the ball around more in the Hangzhou half, creating chances for their trio of foreign attackers; Davi somehow managing to hit the crossbar from five yards out. He needn’t have worried though because two minutes later substitute Lu Lin cut in from the left flank and fired the ball into the far corner to give the Cantonese the lead.
With five minutes of normal time to go some of the few fans present were no doubt thinking about going home to dry out but Hamdallah’s powerful strike from Davi’s lay-off would’ve given them other ideas. The Moroccan completed his second hat-trick in as many weeks within stoppage time thanks to another dubious refereeing decision when Cao Haiqing was ruled to have pulled him back in the box. Another harsh penalty but Hamdallah showed no mercy as he dispatched the penalty and then demonstrated his strength on a solo run to grab his third in the final minute.
Guangzhou R&F will be delighted with the win as it maintains their unbeaten start to the season but Hangzhou didn’t deserve to lose so heavily, especially given how soft the penalties were to say nothing of the state of the pitch which was not fit for a football match at all.
Guangzhou R&F: 1 – Cheng Yuelei; 20 – Tang Miao, 5 – Zhang Yaokun, 6 – Xu Bo, 11 – Jiang Zhipeng; 18 – Zhang Yuan (69 minutes 23 – Lu Lin), 8 – Park Jong-Woo, 10 – Davi (87 minutes 33 – Li Yan), 21 – Chang Feiya; 27 – Ken Ilso 9 – Abderazzak Hamdallah
Hangzhou Greentown: 1 – Gu Chao; 16 – Fan Xiaodong, 18 – Zhao Yuhao, 5 – Shi Ke, 28 – Cao Haiqing; 6 – Son Dae-Ho 14 – Feng Gang; 7 – Gilberto Macena, 33 – Wang Song, 20 – Davy Claude Angan; 9 – Anselmo Ramon (64 minutes 30 – Luka Zinko)