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April 21, 2021

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Guangzhou FC draws CSL opener

Substitute Wu Shaocong’s header four minutes from time earned eight-time champion Guangzhou FC a 2-2 draw with cross-city rival Guangzhou City as the new Chinese Super League season kicked off at Tianhe Stadium last night.

Played in front of 30,000 fans after coronavirus pandemic regulations were eased, the campaign started with a thrilling game as Chinese football seeks to move forward following the financial collapse this year of reigning champion Jiangsu FC.

Matches in the opening rounds will be played in two centralized groups due to the pandemic, with eight teams based in Guangzhou, southern Guangdong Province, and eight, including Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai Port, in Suzhou, neighboring Jiangsu Province.

Drawn in Group A in its home city, Guangzhou took the lead when Brazil-born striker Alan Carvalho, back at the club after spending last season on loan with Beijing Guoan, headed in the opener in the seventh minute.

Yan Dinghao’s own goal nine minutes later levelled the scores, although Guangzhou should have restored its advantage four minutes before the break.

Guangzhou was awarded a penalty after a clumsy attempt to clear by City’s Zhang Jinliang brought down Yan, but China’s Brazil-born striker Elkeson’s spot-kick was saved by Han Jiaqi.

City took the lead six minutes into the second half when Ye Chugui tapped in from close range after Guilherme’s inviting ball confounded the Guangzhou defense.

Guangzhou levelled in the 86th when Wu rose to nod Yan’s center beyond the goalkeeper and earn his side a share of the points.

In another game, Chinese FA Cup holder Shandong Taishan moved top of the Group A standings after beating Chongqing Athletic 2-0. Second-half goals from Leonardo and Guo Tianyu secured victory for Hao Wei’s side.


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