An absolute peach of a goal from young midfielder Shen Longyuan was the highlight of yet another entertaining win for Shanghai Shenhua at Hongkou Stadium last night.
The Chinese Olympic squad member picked up a loose clearance right at the corner of the penalty box and lashed the ball into the opposite top hand corner of the net to put his side 2-0 up after 47 minutes and send the home fans wild. Earlier, Hamilton Ricard has finished cooly to round the keeper and slot the ball home after Changsha’s offside trap was sprung in the 26th minute.
Unlike last Saturday’s hard-fought win over Tianjin, this was a game Shenhua never looked like losing. Not so much happened in the first half, but as the game wore on Shenhua began to steadily dominate more and more. Ricard twice went close to doubling his tally, once with an audacious lob after spotting the visiting keeper off his line, and again after a header onto the Changsha crossbar fell to him but he could only knock it at the keeper. Soon after youngster Gao Lin went close with a shot from outside the area, and Shenhua keeper Qiu Shengjiong was called into action for the first time later when he got down well to block a low shot. He had previously almost gifted Changsha a goal after dropping what looked like a simple shot, but he got down well to smother it.
Final score – Shenhua 2 Changsha 0 – watch the highlights here.
The victory makes it three-in-a-row for Shenhua and 9 points out of 9 for their opening three fixtures, somewhat bizarrely all at home. It has to be said however, that the title-hopefuls should really expect to beat the likes of Shenzhen, Tianjin and Changsha on their own patch if they are serious about winning this year’s championship.
Shenhua’s next home game is against Henan Jianye on May 3.
Picture: Shen Longyuan celebrates his tremendous goal (courtesy of Sohu Sports)