Chinese Super League 2016: Guangzhou R&F vs Tianjin Quanjian, Preview, Prediction & Predicted Lineup
|Cristian Andal |||Mar 03, 2017 03:15 AM EST|
(Photo : Getty Images) Tianjin Quanjian will visit Guangzhou R&F at the Yuexiushan Stadium on Saturday.
Last season's sixth-place finishers Guangzhou R&F FC is scheduled to open their 2017 Chinese Super League campaign against newly-promoted squad Tianjin Quanjian FC at their home field of Yuexiushan Stadium on Saturday, March 4.
R&F, the cross-city rivals of defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande, is an established offensive machine under the guidance of Serbian head coach Dragan Stojković. The team averaged 3.2 goals per game last season as one of the highest-scoring teams in the China top-flight, as per SkySports.
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However, the Blue Lions are equally leaky on the defensive end as the squad allowed 50 goals to be scored against them in 30 matches last term. The trend could continue this year as the club made no significant import signings that will solve their defensive issues.
Leading the charge for Stojković is Israeli forward Eran Zahavi, who is among the league's top scorers last season with 11 goals in 15 appearances since he was signed last summer. The other R&F imports are Australian striker Apostolos Giannou, Brazilians Junior Urso and Renatinho, and South Korean defender Jang Hyun-soo.
Meanwhile, last season's China League One champions Tianjin Quanjian has lofty expectations in the CSL this year. Managed by Italy legend Fabio Cannavaro, the team has been mentioned in a lot of transfer rumors involving big-name European players such as Wayne Rooney and Diego Costa.
While none of the rumored deals have pushed through, Cannavaro managed to sign Chelsea flop Alexandre Pato and Belgian sensation Axel Witsel in the winter to reinforce his squad. Brazilian forward Geuvânio is still with the club while South Korean midfielder Kwon Kyung-won is also a new signee.
Dynamo Kyiv's Junior Moraes was recently sent on loan to Tianjin until the midseason, which would be a big help to Cannavaro's plans, Goal reported.
Cannavaro is a known defensive specialist as he led Tianjin to a China League One-best 27 goals allowed last season despite joining the team midway in their campaign.
The predicted result is a 2-1 win by Tianjin Quanjian.
Guangzhou R&F starting lineup (4-4-2 formation): Pei; Zhang, Yi, Jang, Jiang J.; Zhang, Jiang Z., Ye, Tang; Zahavi, Giannou
Tianjin Quanjian starting lineup (4-4-2 formation): Zhang; Liu S., Liu Y., Yang, Kilama; Zhao, Zheng, Witsel, Wang; Pato, Geuvânio
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