Thoughts on the Guangzhou derby

On Friday we saw the Guangzhou derby and as I managed to watch this game I thought I would share my views on a match I felt was a lot closer than I had imagined. As Guangzhou R&F sit second bottom of Group A with their city rivals top many would think this would be an easy Evergrande win. 

Unlucky keeper 

As I hear stories around how strong Guangzhou Evergrande are and how they have their pick of talent in China  I like many am sure enjoy seeing them struggle. The struggle was indeed the keyword too last week when they took on R&F.

Evergrande had within their squad six players not born in China as they use the new nationalisation rule to their full advantage with Elkeson born in Brazil and Jiang Guangtai (Tyias Browning) born in England now classed as Chinese. 

Then to the match itself while it was not the best it was great to see fans back in a football stadium in China as this was the first match since the COVID outbreak in the country to have spectators attend. Maybe those fans brought on a better performance from R&F as this was a side before the match that had conceded seven in two matches.

Although this was a more solid performance from the underdogs it was a game that was slow to start with not a lot to talk of in the first half. The second half the action happened and it seemed every time I looked up a team was on the attack, mainly Guangzhou Evergrande.

It then did come as a bit of a shock as local lad Huang Zhengyu slotted home for R&F just after the hour mark. This was to be a great moment for the 23-year-old defender as he got his first-ever goal for his side just over four years after he made his debut. 

It did though unfortunately, all end in tears as those pesky big boys spoiled a derby win by first getting level on 72 minutes from a Talisca strike with his unmistakable blonde hair. 

Then right at the end with almost the last kick of the game Evergrande picked up the three points with a Paulinho goal. It was to be the worse way to lose a derby as substitute Xu Xin somehow found space to put the ball into the box weaving between defenders. 

Then upon finding the space a very weak ball was put into the box but somehow Jiaqi Han the R&F keeper playing his first full season in football managed to spill it right into the path of Paulinho who had the easiest of the tasks to score and win the match. 

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