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Inter-city soccer rivalry

Shanghai Shenhua crashed out of the China FA cup on Wednesday night despite fighting back from two goals down against their great northern rivals, Beijing Hyundai, eventually losing 3-2 on aggregate.

Trailing the capital side 2-0 after the first leg in Beijing, Shenhua came out fighting and sent their fans into raptures with two well taken goals by Xie Hui in the first half. Shenhua missed a host of guilt-edged chances to seal the game, and the inevitable happened when Beijing scored a late goal in the second half of extra time to make it 2-1 to Shenhua on the night but 3-2 to Beijing over both ties.

Shanghaiist was at the game by invitation of the some English-speaking Lanmo (Blue Devils, the Shenhua hard-core fans club) to watch Shenhua play against the “f**king ducks”. After a brief pause it became clear — this was a rude term used by Shanghai football fans to describe their rivals from the capital — a reference to Beijing’s most famous culinary offering. Getting inside the Chinese fandom was an education in itself.

To say the Beijing team was not particularly liked by Shenhua was an understatement to say the least. In scenes which would not have been out of place in any British football league grudge match, the Shanghaiers hollered all manner of abuse towards the Beijing players, ironically at one point, even using Beijinghua slang to mock the northerners.

Shanghaiist was privy to on-the-spot translations, which, whilst rather amusing, are probably best left unsaid, and if nothing else offered an intriging glimpse into internal Chinese differences …

This post originally appeared on Shanghaiist.

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.

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