2012-03-13 10:43:53 GMT2012-03-13 18:43:53(Beijing Time) China Daily
Guangzhou derby already creating some headaches for local fans
Fans of Guangzhou R&F might soon start regretting not having bought ticket packages for the 2012 Chinese Super League season.
R&F will play its first city derby against Guangzhou Evergrande at its home pitch, Yuexiushan Stadium, on Friday. However, it will be difficult for supporters to get tickets for the match as the stadium's capacity is only 15,800 people.
More than 50,000 fans poured in to watch the two Cantonese teams over the season's opening weekend.
About 13,000 fans saw R&F overwhelm domestic runner-up Beijing Guo'an 3-1 at Yuexiushan Stadium on Saturday, three years after the stadium held its last first-tier match. It also marked the first time Guo'an lost a league opener in 11 years.
A day later, Evergrande reaped its second victory in a week by defeating Shanghai Shenxin 2-1 as more than 40,000 fans packed into the Guangzhou Tianhe Stadium.
R&F put 5,000 ticket packages on sale at 300 yuan ($47) earlier this month. For that low price, fans will be able to watch the team's 15 CSL home matches and all of its CFA Cup games throughout the year.
Compared with the low price of the packages, one ticket to R&F's game with Guo'an was going for between 30 and 50 yuan and scalpers were asking for double those prices.
When the much-anticipated derby arrives, it is rumored that home team R&F will provide no more than 500 tickets to Evergrande fans. However, R&F has refuted that on its website.
"There is a lot being said relating to our game against Evergrande, and we have already published an announcement on the website," said Lu Yi, vice-chairman of Guangzhou R&F, after Saturday's game.
"R&F takes part in Chinese soccer in the hope of pushing the development of the sport in Guangzhou and China," Lu said. "Evergrande and the R&F group have competed in the real estate industry for more than 10 years. We are competitors in the market, but brothers outside of business; and that includes our bosses.
"I also hope we will have the same good relationship with Evergrande in soccer. Evergrande is playing a leading role in Chinese soccer. We respect them, and look forward to making progress with Evergrande hand in hand," he said.
Lee Jang-soo, head coach of Evergrande, already regards newcomer R&F as a dangerous opponent.
"As a new team in the league, it's not easy for R&F to defeat such a team like Guo'an in its first game, and I would like to congratulate them for the victory, " said Lee, whose team downed South Korean squad Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 5-1 in the AFC Champions League last Wednesday.
"Who knows (what the result will be in the derby)? We are in the same division, and I don't think there is too much of a gap between the two teams. It is a respected opponent and one not easy to deal with," he said.
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