Elkeson scores brace on Chinese league debut
Former Botafogo forward Elkeson scored twice on Friday night to help Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande begin their title defence with a commanding 5-1 win over Shanghai Shenxin.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder was the biggest value signing of the off-season and had faced some criticism over his showing in last week's Chinese Super Cup—a game in which Evergrande fell to a shock defeat.
In front of 39,000 home supporters, though, he rose to the task at the Tianhe Stadium with a brace of fine finishes—one off either foot.
The league title favourites had kept possession well in the first-half, but failed to secure any clear cut chances. With a tactical switch at the break, though, the game opened up in their favour.
Former Fluminense midfielder Dario Conca scored the first, before Elkeson's efforts sandwiched a goal from Chinese forward Gao Lin.
With the game in the bag, there was still time for a cameo from star forward Muriqui who added a fifth with a fine run down the right and deflected finish. Yang Jiawei would pull one back for Shenxin in the game's final moments.
"Of course I am very happy to score twice, but even happier to help the team to a win," Elkeson told reporters. "
Before, in the Super Cup, my performance was not ideal. I hope to perform better to show the fans and I look forward to watching my teammates shine in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Regarding the competition for the side's three permitted foreign player spaces, he insisted he was not concerned at having to rotate: “I have a simple view of the competition [for places]. They are all outstanding players and we are all good friends off the pitch.
"I am a newcomer and am still learning to play with the team and to adapt to the new environment. I hope the competition allows us all to put in some good performances.”