Gao Lin saves Guangzhou Evergrande’s blushes in derby with last-minute equaliser against Chinese Super League leaders R&F
Substitute earns Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side a 2-2 draw at Tianhe Stadium on Saturday
Substitute Gao Lin headed home in the last minute as Guangzhou Evergrande ended Guangzhou R&F’s perfect start to the Chinese Super League season after earning the defending champions a 2-2 draw in Saturday’s entertaining derby at Tianhe Stadium.
Brazilian Alan took advantage of some slack R&F defending to open the scoring for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Evergrande after just nine minutes after the visitors failed to deal with a seemingly regulation ball forward into the penalty area.
R&F, though, equalised three minutes before half-time as Israel striker Eran Zahavi converted from the penalty spot for Dragan Stojkovic’s side after Tang Miao’s cross struck the arm of Zheng Long.
And four minutes after the hour mark Renatinho curled an eye-catching free kick into the top corner out of the reach of a despairing full length dive from Evergrande goalkeeper Zeng Cheng to seemingly hand R&F a fourth win is as many games.
But with China international striker Gao popping up at the back post to direct a diving header past R&F goalkeeper Cheng Yuelei, Stojkovic’s side saw their perfect start to the season brought to an end as they moved a point clear of Shanghai SIPG and Shandong Luneng at the top of the table.
Watch: Renatinho’s free kick for Guangzhou R&F
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“Although we are not good enough as individuals, we always fight as a whole and that is what the head coach always insists,” said R&F defender Tang.
“It is a pity that we didn’t win and hope next time we can win over them.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, fourth-placed Hebei CFFC increased the pressure on Gus Poyet’s Shanghai Shenhua after recording a 4-2 win, while Guizhou Zhicheng shared a goalless draw at home with Tianjin Teda.
On Friday, SIPG ended Shandong’s perfect start to the season as Wei Shihao struck an 83rd-minute winner for Andre Villa-Boas side, who returned to winning ways after losing to Evergrande last weekend.
Watch: Alan open the scoring for Guangzhou Evergrande
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“We had a lot of chances in the first half, but Shandong are a strong team and they had a brilliant start this season,” said SIPG coach Villa-Boas.
“We were being tested for some time, but fortunately [goalkeeper] Yan Junling was fantastic. This victory is very important to us and it gets us back on track.”
The defeat saw Shandong slip to third having headed into the weekend level on points with R&F at the top of the table.
“We lost the game, but at least we showed that we were not worse than them. I am very happy that my team played a beautiful game and we should have won,” said Shandong coach Felix Magath.