Guangzhou Evergrande stay top with victory over challengers Jiangsu
Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao F.C. beat Jiangsu Suning to stay in pole position as the season approaches the halfway point.
Lots of excitement for the top of the table clash between reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao F.C. and title hopefuls Jiangsu Suning. Jiangsu still had caretaker manager Tang Jing in charge but recently appointed manager Choi Yong-soo was in Guangzhou to watch his new team. Choi comes from FC Seoul winning the K-League in 2012 and being AFC champions league runners up to Guangzhou in 2013.
Guangzhou were coming off a shock draw to newly promoted side Yanbian while Jiangsu had a nice comeback win against Chongqing in the previous round.
2016 Chinese Super League Round 14
Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao F.C. 2
Ricardo Goulart 24′
Jiangsu Suning 0
Big money winter signing Jackson Martinez was on the bench for Guangzhou after being out a few weeks with an injury.
The first few minutes were all Guangzhou as Scolari’s men pressed for an opener. They almost got one in the 12th minute as a corner was met by Ricardo Goulart whose header forced a save from Jiangsu keeper Gu Chao.
Goulart’s head would end up breaking the deadlock only a few minutes later as in the 24th he met Alan’s cross. With it Goulart brought his league tally up to 9 goals. The goal was well deserved as from the opening whistle Guangzhou had not stopped pressing Jiangsu to win back the ball and go up the field to attack.
A second was scored in the 28th as a well organized counter attack saw Huang Bowen set Alan in on goal. The Brazilian made no mistake, slotting home to get his 7th league goal of the season.
Another counter attack almost led to a 3rd Guangzhou goal as Zhang Linpeng’s header from Gao Lin’s cross could only deflect off the Jiangsu post.
The only real chance in the first half for Jiangsu came in the 34th minute as Ramires pass found Alex Teixeira at the top of the box. Unfortunately for Jiangsu fans his shot was high and wide.
The second half also started brightly for Guangzhou as in the 52nd minute Goulart found himself in on goal. He really should have been more selfish though as he instead chose to pass it to Huang Bowen. The former Guoan player could only hit it high wasting a good chance.
Goulart was really on fire as later on in the 65th minute his header had to be pushed behind for a corner by Gu Chao. Goulart even ran half the pitch five minutes later only for Gu Chao to again deny him. He easily could have had a hat trick and it really was a man of the match performance.
For all the great play Guangzhou were able to display Jiangsu truly never got going. The side lacked motivation and seemed to be missing a spark, such as Goulart was for Guangzhou. Former Manchester City striker Jo will have to be feeling the pressure as another dire performance will surely lead to speculation that he is out with the summer transfer window now open.
China national team manager Gao Hongbo was spotted in the stands and one will not blame him if his next squad is again majority Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao F.C. players. The team has once again put down the challenge for someone to step up to unseat them as champions.
Guangzhou’s next match is away to Shandong while Jiangsu return home to host Liaoning.
Author: Adem Ali
Adem has lived in China a few years spending most of them in Beijing. The capital provides all the football one could ask for. Adem’s knowledge of Chinese cursing and geography were all learnt through watching matches.