Hospitalised goalkeeper not too serious: Cannavaro

Guangzhou Evergrande coach Fabio Cannavaro is confident his goalkeeper Zeng Cheng hasn’t suffered a serious injury despite his sickening collision in the 3-2 ACL win over Western Sydney Wanderers FC on Wednesday night.

Play at Parramatta Stadium was stopped for almost 15 minutes as Cheng was treated by medical staff on the pitch after a nasty head clash with one of his teammates midway through the second half. 

The goalkeeper appeared to get up at first before collapsing back to the ground as his teammates and medical staff surrounded him. 

It was initially believed he had suffered a fractured cheekbone and severe concussion, although Cannavaro said his injuries weren’t too serious. 

“He has to go to hospital and see what the injury is but we think he is going to be ok,” the Italian World Cup winner said. 

The horror injury overshadowed a clinical performance from Guangzhou, whose Brazilian import Ricardo Goulart grabbed a hat-trick to secure the win. 

The Chinese champions were cruising at 3-1 before the long stoppage to treat Cheng and Cannavaro conceded it halted his team’s momentum and allowed the Wanderers back into the contest.

“It had a big effect on the game…we knew that it would,” he said. 

“They are at home and after a long break we knew they would do their best to try and attack us.

“The whole match changed from that point. But I’m happy with my team, they played good football and put in a lot of effort. I really appreciate it.” 

Asked about Goulart, who has now scored all four of Guangzhou’s goals in the first two games of the ACL, Cannavaro said: “Of course he had a good performance. 

“It’s only his second match and there is a long road ahead. I think not only him but the whole team will improve.”