Fabio Cannavaro has managed to collect an array of honours during his illustrious career as a player. And it seems that more silverware is destined to come his way as he continues, inexorably, to steer Guangzhou Evergrande to the Chinese Super League (CSL) title. That may sound like a bold or perhaps glib comment to make seeing as there are still eight matches to play in the league campaign. But following the 3-1 win over Beijing Guoan last time out, it isn’t too difficult to conceive that Cannavaro – once of Napoli, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid –will once again be among the medals come the conclusion of the season.
The victory — which came through an enticing combination of powerful play, exquisite skills and dogged determination — was the thirteenth on the spin for Guangzhou Evergrande and the star-studded team are now seven points ahead at the top of the table — surely, they can’t be caught…can they? Cannavaro, capped by Italy an astonishing 136 times, will do his best to see that it won’t happen, for sure.
The win came in a routine manner once Brazilian magician Paulinho has opened the scoring after 10 minutes — although the hosts did manage to draw level at 1-1 when Zhang Yiming got a goal back as the half-time break approached. After the interval Elkeson, the Samba goal-getter who has been called up to Marcello Lippi’s squad for China’s World Cup qualifiers, made it 2-1 with a well-taken strike and then Yang Liyu sealed the deal to allow the home side to record a 3-1 triumph.
Behind the league leaders in second spot, Shanghai SIPG managed to nab a point to add to their tally in the 2-2 draw at Guangzhou R&F. Shanghai SIPG fans have shown some disquiet at the result but a draw was far better than a defeat and head coach Vítor Pereira, although disappointed, knows his charges still have a chance to haul themselves back into the title race. Unlikely, but the chance remains none the less.
They went behind to Guangzhou R&F on the hour mark when Xiao Zhi slotted in from inside the box following a laser-like cross from Zou Zheng. Former West Ham United marksman Marko Arnautovic then grabbed a goal from the spot after he was fouled in the box and a penalty kick was awarded on 70 minutes.
The visitors then regained the advantage following a bending effort from Oscar that struck the woodwork then fell kindly to Hu Jinghang == and he couldn’t miss from three yards. But the hosts refused to lie down and be beaten and their endeavour was rewarded as the game played to a conclusion when Serbian central defender Dusko Tosic fired home.
The title is there to be claimed by Guangzhou Evergrande – can they fulfil their destiny?