Chinese domestic football had an early summer break for the World Cup but the third round of the CFA cup takes place midweek before the Chinese Super League matches resume at the weekend. here takes a look at going to Yuexiushan to watch Guangzhou R&F play.
Located in downtown Guangzhou, Yuexiushan stadium is often referred to as the spiritual home of Cantonese football and Guangzhou Evergrande played here under their previous owners before a nasty spot of match fixing ended that relationship. The bare concrete bleachers were refurbished before the start of the 2013 season which has reduced the capacity but does mean everybody now has a seat to sit on although these may be dirty so copy the locals and bring a newspaper or plastic bag to sit on.
Tickets are available online five days before the game from www.11185piao.com andwww.t3.com.cn although sell outs are rare and tickets can be bought easily on match days. The official ticket stand is the blue roofed stall on the corner opposite the two restaurants outside Yuexiushan’s main entrance; depending on what area of the ground you choose (see picture caption) individual tickets are 50 or 70 yuan.
Before you get to the point of buying a ticket from the official stall, on the short walk from the metro stop you will have inevitably been assailed by numerous touts offering tickets which are often cheaper. On rainy days against low profile opponents tickets can go from as low as 10 kuai and are sometimes sold inside the metro station.
Getting to Yuexiushan
Yuexiushan is easily accessible by public transport as it is only a short walk from the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall metro stop on line 2 and is also served by plenty of buses – look for越秀山体育场 (Yuexiushan Tiyuchang). It will be much easier to get a taxi to the ground than away from it as the majority of fans leave from a single exit which leaves the road clogged post-match.
The main entrance is to the south of the ground, just off Ying Yuan road (应元路) although another, smaller entrance exists at the north. To go in this way you must first walk through Yuexiu park which makes for a pleasant stroll.
In and around Yuexiushan
Depending on how generous the guard is feeling food may be allowed inside but drinks (apart from those sold in plastic cups just outside the ground) will always be confiscated if found during the sometimes cursory bag search. Soft drinks can be bought from a stall just inside the south-west entrance and from sellers who roam throughout the ground during the game. No food is available inside though.
Partly because of this, many fans congregate on the road outside the main entrance where there are several small places to eat as well as stalls selling drinks in plastic cups. Match day programmes are also handed out free in this area before the game and you can get a ticket for the half time lottery draw here too.
Sections 7 – 16, including the away end, are uncovered so if your ticket is for there (or if you plan to buy from a tout on the day) come prepared with sun cream and/or umbrella depending on the weather.
Fake replica shirts can be bought cheaply and easily at many street stalls between the metro station and Yuexisushan but you should always bargain. Remember that you are going to watch R&F who play in blue and white stripes though and don’t be fooled into buying a red Evergrande shirt. This is easier than it sounds as ironically the range of fake Evergrande products is much wider than R&F ones. More expensive official shirts with names and numbers as well as other R&F souvenirs can be bought from the official stand next to where tickets are sold on match-days.
At the time of writing Guangzhou R&F’s next home game is against Jiangsu on Saturday 19 July at 19.30. R&F prefer to play their home games on Sunday evenings although Beijing Guoan will visit midweek in August and the derby with Evergrande at the end of September may be moved to Friday or Saturday. Check the information box on the top right of the club website to confirm the week before the match.