A 2-1 victory for Shenhua was the outcome of Saturday’s challenge match against its sister club Sydney FC at Hongkou football stadium. A healthy 10,000 crowd turned up to pay their respects to club legend and Chinese sports personality Xie Hui, for which the match doubled as a testimonial of sorts.
Shenhua’s new signings impressed. Hernan Barcos opened for the Hongkou side with a close-range finish from a corner in the 32nd minute, but Sydney’s Alex Brosque struck back with a volley in the 58th minute. With just two minutes left on the clock, a fantastically-timed pass put through defender Chen Lei who scored with a neat finish to seal the win for Shenhua.
Shenhua’s first competitive game of the season is against Singapore Armed Forces FC in the Asian Champions League on March 11 at Hongkou Stadium. Also in their group are Korea’s Suwon Blue Wings and Japanese (gasp) group Kashima Antlers. The Chinese Super League 2009 season starts on March 21.