Despite Guizhou Zhicheng widely being tipped as a side going down, the team has earned its second Chinese Super League draw, taking a point from giants Beijing Guoan. For the Beijingers, it will leave them with a lot to think about as we go into the extended international break.
This was Guizhou’s first true home game, the first one having been played behind closed doors, and the fans were given plenty to cheer for when Hong Kong international and Zhicheng captain Festus Baise opened his CSL account in the 23rd minute with an easy header off a well delivered free kick. It was shambolic defending from Ralf and Li Lei and for the Beijingers it seems likely new manager Jose Gonzales will focus heavily on defending free kicks at the training ground in the next few weeks as the side gave up a very similar free kick goal (at almost the exact same point in the match) to Evergrande last week.
Burak Yilmaz leveled things in the 43rd minute, managing to somehow beat Festus to a long ball and then beating the keeper in a one-on-one situation. Up until that point, the Turkish striker was putting in a plodding performance and the goal helped fans to forget his earlier performance.
The home side received a scare when former Everton and West Ham man Nikica Jelavic appeared to suffer a shoulder injury, but the journeyman striker was able to persevere. While Guoan looked well organized and tough against Evergrande, the first half of this match saw them back to their bad habits of last season and it seemed as much as they were playing up to the opposition last week, they were playing down to Guizhou.
The second half had them playing better football, but they weren’t able to break through and there wasn’t much desperation until the final 10 minutes when Guoan first had a goal waved off due to an Yilmaz hand ball and then in the 90th minute, a bit of controversy, when a Li Lei header appeared to cross the line, being caught by the keeper inside the goal. The referee didn’t give the goal and the CSL lacks goal line technology, so Guoan fans are once again left complaining about refereeing decisions that appeared to influence the match.
That said, the way Beijing played, a draw was a fair result and if this side has any serious ambition of competing for an ACL spot, they cannot drop points, even on the road, to sides like Guizhou.