Will R&F continue their unbeaten start to the year? Will Beijing bounce back from their loss at Shanghai East Asia? Will R&F avenge their 6-0 humbling at Gongti last year? Can Abderazzak Hamdallah make it a hat-trick of hat-tricks? Read on to find out.
Korean centre back Jang Hyun-Soo is expected to be fit again after missing the game against Hangzhou with injury but Wang Xiaolong and Jiang Ning may not be able to face Beijing Guoan. Meanwhile, Guangzhou R&F striker Abderazzak Hamdallah has revealed in an interview that he was spotted by current manager Sven Goran Eriksson’s son John whilst the latter was scouting players in the Norwegian Premier League.
Last Time Out
The Yuexiushan News and Preview naively thought that 24 hours of torrential rain and a waterlogged pitch would result in the game against Hangzhou being postponed. It didn’t and R&F beat Hangzhou 6-2 thanks to a couple of dubious penalties, great strikes from Ken Ilso and Lu Lin and another Hamdallah hat-trick.
By a quirk of the CSL fixture list, and the blistering form of the Shanghai club, R&F will once again face a team beaten by East Asia. Despite having their chances, Beijing Guoan succumbed to a second half Hysen goal. The capital side also lost away in Australia by the same scoreline to the Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday.
Hat-trick stats of the week
Yuexiushan News and Preview heard there was a vacancy for a statto so dusted off the record books to reveal these gems
- Abderazzak Hamdallah is the first player to score a hat-trick in two consecutive CSL games
- Hamdallah scored in the 93rd minute for the second week running
- The 9 minutes and 7 seconds it took to complete Hamdallah’s hat-trick is the second fastest in CSL history. Who scored the fastest hat-trick? Answers on the back of a postcard or in the comments section below.
Photo of the week
There was a Moroccan, a Brazilian, a Dane and a Chinese … no, it’s not the start to a bad joke but the nationalities of Guangzhou R&F’s scorers last weekend.
Causes for Optimism…
Unbeaten in four games, their longest unbeaten run the CSL, and having put six past Hangzhou, R&F will be full of confidence for the game in Beijing. Having Jang Hyun-Soo back in defence is also a big plus for the Yuexiushan side as the Korean has looked solid so far.
Beijing lost last weekend and in midweek, a performance described as woeful, and after their best start to a CSL season ever, new manager Manzano has hit some teething problems which R&F will hope he hasn’t fixed by Monday night. If he hasn’t fixed them a clause in his contract could see him leave the club on Tuesday morning.
… and for Concern
R&F’s defence may look tighter than in previous years but this season they have still only managed to keep one clean sheet in four games against sides that will probably finish mid table or below. The blue and whites can’t rely on their attack to bail them out against better defences, such as Guoan’s, every week.
Despite losing last week, the Men in Green aren’t traditional CSL powerhouses for no reason and are a different proposition at Gongti as R&F will be well aware having been humbled there 6-0 last summer. With the game being played on Monday night the Guoan squad will have had almost a week to recover from the ACL game so will have minimised any hangover from their Australian trip.
Watch Out For
The easy answer would be to say Hamdallah as he goes for a hat-trick of hat-tricks but your correspondent believes his incredible scoring feats will come to an end instead picks Davi as the man to watch. Whether used as a second striker or central midfielder, Davi is now in his third season at the club and know the level of performance and effort required to come away with anything from Gongti. With two goals to his name already the Brazilian will have to step up again under the floodlights.
Home win: Playing Guoan in Beijing will be by far the stiffest test yet faced by R&F and even with Jang back it may prove to be beyond them. It will be a lot closer than last season’s 6-0 drubbing though; a 2-0 win to settle nerves in the capital as the Cantonese defence gives away a few too many chances.
R&F as predicted by the Yuexiushan News and Review:
P 4 W 2 D 1 L 1 GF 4 GA 3 GD +1 Pts 7
R&F according to the CSL table:
P 4 W 2 D 2 L 0 GF 10 GA 4 GD +6 Pts 8