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Jiang Ning loses control as R&F and East Asia share the spoils

A late equaliser, beautiful goals, a moment of madness, horrific challenges, red cards, two stretchered off and a disallowed goal all featured in a pulsating encounter under the lights at a wet Yuexiushan.

Tobias Hysen first put Shanghai East Asia ahead before Guangzhou R&F took the lead only for the Swede to secure East Asia the point they thoroughly deserved. The only sour note to a game filled with attacking intent was Jiang Ning’s retaliatory stamp on Wu Yuyin’s head in the second half.


Guangzhou R&F 2
Ken Ilso 57′,  Davi 73′

Shanghai East Asia 2
Tobias Hysen 53′, 88′

With Park Jong-Woo injured, R&F brought in Li Yan and also gave Ken Ilso a start instead of Zhang Shuo. East Asia welcomed back Daniel McBreen and Cai Huikang who both missed the hammering at Tianhe due to suspension.

The speed of East Asia’s start and pressing defence caught R&F off guard and Tobias Hysen headed onto the roof of the net after only six minutes. A one-two between Wang Jialu and Lv Wenjun allowed Wang to lob the advancing Cheng Yuelei but the goal was wrongly ruled out for offside.

The Shanghai side’s sense of injustice only increased shortly afterwards when Cheng rushed out of his area and brought Hysen down as the Swede was racing after a through ball. The Yuexiushan crowd held its breath and let out a collective sigh of relief when Cheng was only shown a yellow card when red would arguably have been more appropriate.

View from Shanghai East Asia (Andy Strong)

Despite some people (ahem) expecting East Asia to be easily brushed aside at Yuexiushan, the Shanghai side acquitted themselves admirably against an in-form Guangzhou R&F – a much-improved performance from Wednesday night’s Evergrande drubbing. The visitors were more potent going forward than recently, but again offered opponents too much space in the final third.

Compared to their midweek game at Tianhe, East Asia displayed a great deal more ambition and fight – quite literally, it transpired, as a fracas (read: handbags) involving both R&F’s Jiang Ning and Wu Yuyin (himself starting in place of the suspended Fu Huan) ended in both men seeing red. Jiang appeared to catch Wu on the head with his boot having bundled the left back to the ground, although it was debatable as to whether there was any intention there. Wu clearly took exception to this and seemingly decided to exact revenge on Jiang in the most effective way possible – by taking a swipe at the number 7’s private parts. Naturally, this led to the usual procession of pushing and shoving from both sides, which unfortunately detracted from what was actually a thoroughly entertaining and open game.

The reds must look back at Wang Jiayu’s first half disallowed goal with some frustration – replays clearly show he onside as his one-two with Lv Wenjun was finished sumptuously past Cheng. Yuelei. Moments later they would be even more aggrieved the aforementioned keeper was still on the pitch, bringning down Tobias Hysen with an awfully-timed challenge outside the area.

Hysen himself looked back to his early-season best, finding the net twice to end a stretch of 5 games without a goal for the Swedish international, and his improved exchanges with Wu Lei (who was worryingly stretchered off late in stoppage time) offered hope to the travelling support. With the top two CSL positions apparently all but decided already, this result may restore the belief that East Asia pull off a remarkable ACL spot this term.

As the blue and whites attempted to weather the early storm they relied on long balls to Zhang Yuan, leaving Ken Islo largely ignored in midfield; perhaps as he’d warmed up alone rather than with the rest of his teammates. The Cantonese improved after Cheng’s let off though and Wang Xiaolong curled a shot against the post before Davi, Zhang and Ilso also had efforts on goal.

The half-time appearance of the R&F cheerleaders set the stage for what would be a gripping second period. First Davi was felled by Wu Lei and whilst the Brazilian was prone on the floor Daniel McBreen smashed the ball into his head claiming that he hadn’t heard the referee’s whistle. This was quickly forgotten as a fantastic Hysen volley from a Wu Lei cross gave East Asia the lead. McBreen almost doubled it shortly afterwards but his instinctive volley on the turn hit the bar.

Despite Yan Junling’s time wasting, the Shanghai side’s lead only lasted four minutes as Ken Islo finished off a flowing move to equalise for the Cantonese. The blue and whites then had a big let off when McBreen’s header hit the bar and neither the Australian nor Hysen could put in the rebound with R&F keeper Cheng on the floor.

Jiang Ning’s moment of madness arrived in the 63rd minute when he tried to break from defence and was blocked by Shanghai’s Wu Yuyin who then attempted a Vinnie Jones whilst on the floor and an outraged Jiang inexcusably stamped on Wu’s head. Jiang knew the sickening nature of what he had done so had no complaints with his red card but the East Asia bench were incensed when Wu was also sent off.

The Cantonese took the lead shortly afterwards with a quick counterattack. Zhang Yuan’s cutback went through the legs of two defenders, Davi’s neat sidestep took out two more and the Brazilian was able to squeeze his shot past three covering defenders and keeper Yan to give the blue and whites the lead.

The rain was coming down even more heavily now as East Asia poured forward in search of an equaliser and their cause was made easier when R&F centre back Jang Hyun-Soo was stretchered off. His replacement Xu Bo immediately picked up a yellow card for a foul on Wu Lei who would go on to get his second assist of the night with an inch perfect cross for Hysen to power home a free header  as he’d escaped the attentions of both Xu Bo and Tang Maio.

The blue and whites weren’t done though as there were six minutes of stoppage time but Davi couldn’t repeat his heroics against Changchun as his header landed on the roof of the net. That meant the game was effectively over as East Asia keeper Yan was allowed to waste one minute taking a goal kick and then a further minute over a free kick after sub Zhang Shuo was caught offside.

The East Asia players celebrated the point but arguably should’ve had all three. Equally, R&F will be disappointed that they conceded such a late equaliser but thankful that they came away with anything given they were lucky to have keeper Cheng on the field for the full 90 minutes and that Shanghai East Asia had a goal incorrectly ruled out.

Guangzhou R & F: 1 – Cheng Yuelei; 20 – Tang Miao, 5 – Zhang Yaokun, 15 – Jang Hyun-Soo (6 – Xu Bo 76 minutes), 11 – Jiang Zhipeng; 19 – Wang Xiaolong (21 – Chang Feiya 62 minutes), 10 – Davi, 18 – Zhang Yuan, 33 – Li Yan, 7 – Jiang Ning; 27 – Ken Ilso

Shanghai East Asia: 1 – Yan Junling; 3 – Wu Yuyin, 25 – Ransford Addo, 21 – Iban Cuadrado 4 – Wang Shenchao, 7- Wu Lei (2 – Zhang Wei 92 minutes), 6 – Cai Huikang, 20 – Wang Jiayu (18 – Zhang Yi 84 minutes), 11 – Lv Wenjun; 9 – Tobia Hysen, 36 – Daniel McBreen (15 – Lin Chuangyi 84 minutes)

Donald began following Guangzhou R&F having moved to China in the same year that R&F moved to Guangzhou. The club's first foreign season ticket holder, Donald was able to watch three seasons at Yuexiushan before returning to the UK.

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