After securing the Cantonese bragging rights with last week’s derby win against Evergrande, this week R&F make their shortest away trip outside of Guangzhou as they travel 476 miles north-west to face Guizhou Renhe.
The squad were awarded double their usual win bonus for beating Evergrande and Sven will no doubt soon be claiming his dinner out at Marelo Lippi’s expense. Park Jong-Woo missed the derby but has been named in South Korea’s World Cup squad; neither he nor compatriot Jang Hyun-Soo will play in Guizhou though. Jiang Ning is still suspended but Wang Xiaolong’s swollen foot that forced him onto the bench last week has cleared up. Both have been included in China’s 50 man extended training squad along with Chang Feiya, Zhang Yuan and Cheng Yuelei.
Last Time Out
The blue and whites put in their best performance in a Canton derby to date and deserved to win 1-0 under the Friday night lights at Tianhe. Abderazzak Hamdallah scored on his return from injury as R&F dominated the first half and held off the late Evergrande challenge to claim their third win in five derbies.
YNP’s careful study of the fixture list reveals that whilst R&F have been following East Asia around the country (who themselves have been following Shenhua), Guizhou have been following R&F. So it is that after comfortably beating Shenhua in Guiyang, Guizhou travelled to Shanghai and lost 5-2 to East Asia with Hysen and McBreen doing the damage.
Stat of the week
Whilst Beijing are fast turning into China’s Arsenal, last week’s 1-0 win (did YNP mention who won the Canton derby?) was the first 1-0 game the blue and whites have been involved with this season.
Photo of the week
A well placed photographer at Tianhe captures the moment Chang Feiya brought down Elkeson for an early penalty that the Brazilian went on to miss.
Causes for Optimism…
Whilst Evergrande were not at their Asian conquering best, a depleted R&F side were more than a match for their neighbours which will add to the confidence in the squad. Chang Feiya showed some nice touches and Zhu Baojie had his best game since joining from Shenxin. Second choice centre back Xu Bo managed to make it through the full ninety minutes without getting a yellow card and his old fashioned punt upfield even set up Hamdallah’s goal.
… and for Concern
Before shipping five goals last week, Guizhou had previously conceded only eight in ten games and this miserly defence coupled with an excellent home record over the Cantonese, Guizhou have won the past two fixtures and scored three each time in Guiyang, will worry Sven.
Watch Out For
Chang Feiya was thrust into the spotlight by Sven on Friday night and Chang rewarded the Swede by putting in his best performance of the season so far. The youngster had previously shown plenty of pace but little else and whilst he gave away the penalty, he looked much improved in attack. Wang’s recovery may relegate Chang to the bench but he’s more than likely to come on in the second half and is definitely, along with fellow Cantonese youngster Liao Lisheng, one to watch in the future.
Whether in Guangzhou or Guiyang, these games traditionally have goals in but with both defences looking tighter this year a 1-1 draw is on the cards.
R&F as predicted by the Yuexiushan News and Review:
P 11 W 5 D 3 L 3 GF 15 GA 13 GD +2 Pts 18
R&F according to the CSL table:
P 11 W 6 D 4 L 1 GF 23 GA 10 GD +13 Pts 22
Guizhou Renhe v Guangzhou R&F kicks off at 8.00pm on Saturday at the Guiyang Olympic Centre