|Cristian Andal |||Apr 03, 2017 10:14 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) Eran Zahavi scored the winning goal during Guangzhou R&F's 1-0 win over Yanbian Funde last Saturday.
Guangzhou R&F FC was able to continue their flawless start in the 2017 Chinese Super League season after pulling off a close 1-0 win over Yanbian Funde FC at the Yanji Nationwide Fitness Centre Stadium on Saturday.
The Blue Lions joined current league leaders Shandong Luneng Taishan on top of the current China top-flight table with three wins and nine points each. However, Shandong has a greater goal differential than R&F to capture the first spot as head coach Dragan Stojkovic's side settled for second.
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Israeli striker Eran Zahavi scored the winning goal of the contest in the 74th minute, directing an assist by local midfielder Tang Miao toward the back of Yanbian goalkeeper Chi Wenyi's net.
The game was a struggle for Guangzhou, though, as their team captain, midfielder Jiang Zhipeng, was booed during his entire time on the field because of the latest controversies he has been involved in both on and off the pitch, the South China Morning Post reported.
Jiang, a mainstay of the Chinese national football squad, was blamed for Team Dragon's latest 0-1 setback to Iran on March 28, which is said to have put China's 2018 World Cup hopes on the brink. The midfielder made a mistake during the match as his header one minute after the restart went toward Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi, who then scored the winning goal for the hosts at that time.
Jiang's wife then went out to the media to accuse him of cheating, which reportedly angered not only Guangzhou R&F fans but Chinese football supporters in general.
Stojkovic chose to put Jiang on the bench to begin the match against Yanbian to somehow ease off the tension, but as soon as he was subbed in for Zhang Chenlong in the second half, the crowd started booing the midfielder.
However, Jiang said that while he felt "pressure" from the fans because of the controversy during the match, he still tried to perform at his best as a "professional player."
"I came here to show my ability on the field and I enjoyed the game today even though the home fans booed me every time I touched the ball. I still managed to adjust my mentality by telling myself it's no big deal," he said.
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