Guangzhou R&F staged an incredible comeback in the Canton derby but couldn’t hold on as a last minute goal from Rene Junior won it for Evergrande. R&F’s lead in the race for ACL qualification is now three points with four games left; can the blue and whites manage to hold on to that?
Don’t blame the ref
Yes, the referee and his linesman wrongly disallowed Olanare’s goal for offside and then dubiously let Elkeson’s stand but is it their fault that Rene Junior had so much space on the edge of the box? Is it their fault that Hamdallah, Jiang Ning and Lu Lin all failed to convert chances before Olanare’s disallowed goal? Is the comedy ‘defending’ in the box for the first and third goals their fault? Getting back into the game and overcoming the refereeing mistakes only to throw it away at the end like that is unforgivable, especially in the derby.
Leaving it late – R&F games decided after the 90th minute in 2014
Tianjin 1- 1 R&F The Cantonese throw away three points on opening day
Changchun 2 – 3 R&F Davi’s late goal caps a comeback
R&F 3 – 2 Jiangsu Both sides score in extra time
R&F 3 – 4 Evergrande Rene Junior wins the Canton derby at the death
On the other hand, how many teams in the CSL could bounce back from three goals down against Evergrande? If R&F had held on, that would’ve been the fifth time they’d come from behind to win or claim a share of the points this season which is something previous R&F sides could only dream of. Sven’s men will have to focus on this positive ahead of a tough run of final matches.
‘No easy games’
Hosting Harbin at Yuexiushan in late October should be three points but apart from that match, fans of the blue and whites will look nervously at the remaining games against Guizhou, Shandong and Jiangsu. R&F have lost twelve of the previous seventeen league and cup games against these opponents and have never won in Jinan or Nanjing so if R&F are to claim the final ACL place they’ll have to do so the hard way. Thankfully for the Cantonese, Shandong’s CSL fixture list is no easier as it starts with a big game against Shanghai East Asia, who themselves retain hopes of sneaking into the ACL, and is further complicated by their involvement in the CFA Cup.
‘One game at a time’
Shandong may be the biggest danger to ACL qualification but Guangzhou R&F play Guizhou first. A loss and a draw at the hands of Shenhua and East Asia respectively mean that Guizhou come to Guangzhou with any lingering thoughts of qualifying for the ACL three times in a row well and truly extinguished. They aren’t the most exciting of sides to watch, they’ve only managed 29 goals this season, but with Hyuri and Misimovic Guizhou have got the quality to pounce on any further R&F defensive errors. Their captain Sun Jihai just turned 37 though and will need all of his experience to hold his team together in the face of what must surely be an onslaught from Sven’s men.
Will he, won’t he?
Speaking of Sven, since leaving the England job in 2006 he’s had more clubs than Tiger Woods but has now shown interest in settling down in Guangzhou by saying that he’d like to stay at R&F after his contract finishes at the end of the season. Yuexiushan News suspects this hinges on ACL qualification but won’t be surprised if Brazilian midfielder Davi extend his stay anyway.
Gold for Jang
A last minute extra time winner gave Jang Hyun-Soo’s South Korean team a 1-0 victory over their northern counterparts to win the men’s football competition at the Asian Games.
All matters blue and white now dealt with, excuse the digression as Yuexiushan News turns attention towards China League One side Guangdong Sunray Cave. Having just missed out on joining Guangzhou’s two CSL sides because of a final day loss last season, Sunray are currently 14thin China League 1 and in danger of relegation. After last week’s Canton derby in the CSL, the China League 1 Guangdong derby comes to town on Sunday afternoon when Sunray welcome Shenzhen Ruby to the Huangpu Sports centre with kick-off at 3.30pm so as not to clash with Evergrande’s game in the evening.
Guangzhou R&F v Guizhou Renhe is at Yuexiushan Stadium on Saturday at 8.15pm. Click here for a guide to attending