CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Chinese Super League 2017: Guangzhou R&F Welcomes Tianjin Quanjian with a 2-0 China Top-Flight Thrashing

Tianjin Quanjian manager Fabio Cannavaro

(Photo : Getty Images) Tianjin Quanjian drops a 0-2 game to Guangzhou R&F in their CSL debut.

China top-flight offensive powerhouse Guangzhou R&F FC welcomed newly-promoted squad Tianjin Quanjian FC in the 2017 Chinese Super League competitions with a 2-0 thrashing at the Yuexiushan Stadium on Saturday.

Guangzhou R&F opened the scoring a minute before the half-hour mark of the contest with a header by local striker Xiao Zhi off an assist by teammate Chen Zhizhao. Xiao was "left completely unmarked" by the newcomers to give the hosts a 1-0 lead at the half, as per The Sun.

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Blue Lions import Renatinho then doubled the lead with an easy strike in the 61st minute as Quanjian goalkeeper Zhang Lu, the Far East's most expensive goalkeeper right now, made a crucial mistake in blocking a shot towards the Brazilian midfielder during a fast break play.

Quanjian striker Alexandre Pato struggled immensely during the game. The former Milan, Chelsea, and Villarreal frontman had four chances to put his team on the board throughout the match, but he did not score any goals with any of them. Each of his shots was either wide or went straight in the gloves of Guangzhou goalkeeper Cheng Yuelei.

Tianjin head coach Fabio Cannavaro backed his winter signing, saying that the quality of the pitch may have affected Pato's game, ESPN reported.

"It seems his performance was affected by the pitch," said Cannavaro during the post-match interview. "Our tactics were more about ground work, but the conditions didn't allow us to execute that well."

"But we also have to show appreciation to the goalkeeper of the other team who successfully stopped a few good shots. Pato achieved what I asked him to achieve, both in running and defense," he added.

Cannavaro's other winter signee, former Zenit Saint Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel, had also struggled during the game as the Belgium international was virtually a non-factor for his side.

"We are a team with a history of two years, meaning we have more young players. And we can't use the foreign players as we wished due to the new regulations," Cannavaro said. "We need to build the team gradually, but I have faith in my young players. We fought together last season in the second tier league and we won the title together."

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