“We believe that Eran Zahavi can improve our rank on the table. We hope that he can get used to the club soon.”- Guangzhou R&F (2016-06-29)
“我们相信，扎哈维的到来能够帮助球队更上一层楼，希望他可以尽快融入团队，帮助球队取得优异成绩。” - 广州富力 （2016-06-29）
Two months after joining Guangzhou (GZ) R&F, Eran Zahavi, 29-year-old Israeli Footballer of the Year (2013 & 2014) has helped GZ R&F achieved 7 wins, 2 loses and 3 draws through 11 goals and 5 assists.
With his amazing performance, GZ R&F is now the 6th on the list of Chinese Super League (CSL) , 6 points behind the 4th; furthermore, GZ R&F has a big opportunity to promote to the final of Chinese FA Cup after Zahavi’s 1 goal, 1 assist in the 1st round of the semi-final against Guangzhou Evergrande (2:2).
Eran Zahavi, 29-year-old Israeli footballer (Photo/Guangzhou R&F)
Before the 2nd round of the semi-final of Chinese FA Cup on Wednesday (Sept. 21), as well as the 4th Guangzhou derby in this season, Eran Zahavi shared the secret of his amazing performance with Newsgd.com.
He has never lost in derby games when he starts
There is no doubt that derby game is the fiercest competition in the world, since both sides tend to demonstrate themselves in the city.
Similar with Manchester in England, two football clubs in Guangzhou are red & blue, and the stadiums are always full of fans in derby games.
The poster of the 4th Guangzhou derby (Photo/Guangzhou R&F)
Although Zahavi joined GZ R&F only two months ago, he has already started twice in GZ derbies and contributed 2 goals which helped GZ R&F keep unbeaten record in recent two derbies (1 win, 1 draw).
“The atmosphere of GZ derby is different at home and away.” For Zahavi, derby is always special for him, “Derby in Yuexiu Mountain Stadium was really nice; the stadium was filling and fans’ yelling made us feel more excited on the pitch.”
Since the 2nd round of the semi-final will be kicked off on Sept. 21, GZ R&F has a great chance to advance to the final of Chinese FA Cup firstly with two away goals in hands.
Some interesting statistics show that Zahavi has never lost the derby games when he is in the staring lineup, according to Oren Josipovich, an Israeli sports journalist.
However, Zahavi thought the team cannot take the 2nd round lightly.
“First of all, I think we made a good result for the 1st round,” he said, “but GZ Evergrande is a really good team which is difficult to pass; therefore, we need to work really hard to eliminate them and go to the final.”
As Zahavi’s concerned, focusing on the pitch is the most important factor for defeating GZ Evergrande. “You cannot concede goal in the last minute when you want to win,” Zahavi pointed out, “this small detail makes big difference.”
Dragan Stojkovic gives me confidence and shows my characteristics
Since Israeli Premier League had already finished in May, Zahavi actually haven’t had systematic training for a month before he joined GZ R&F. However, his high scoring ratio shows that he has totally adapted to CSL.
“The club and teammates, no matter foreigners or Chinese, give me a feeling that I am part of them,” Zahavi shared the secret with us, “they help me a lot so that I can adapt to CSL in a very short time.”
More than that, Dragan Stojkovic, the coach of GZ R&F, is the one that not only decided to sign Zahavi, but also helped Zahavi to show his power on the field step by step.
Dragan Stojkovic, Serbia's football legend has renewed his contract with GZ R&F (File photo)
“He did not put me in the staring lineup or play full 90 minutes game in the beginning,” Zahavi said with gratitude, “it was really important, because if not, I would suffer stupid injury.”
Zahavi admitted that Dragan Stojkovic is a good teacher for him. “He gives me confidence and shows my characteristics, and I think he will continue giving me this support,” the Israeli footballer of the Year indicated, “I try to play the best I can on the pitch to return him.”