Shenhua take on Shenzhen at 19.45 tonight at Shanghai Stadium, since Hongkou is unavailable as its staging a pop-concert (h/t to commentor Micah).
The boys in blue go into the match somewhat low on confidence – their early season report card makes for grim reading. Played 5, won zero, drawn 3, lost 2. Of these games, three have been in the Asian Champions League, but domestically, a draw at home against Chinese Super League minnows Qingdao in the opening league match, and an away 1-0 defeat last weekend to Liaoning were hard results to stomach.
Shenhua are suffering from something of an early-season back-line injury crisis, with keeper Wang Dalei, and first choice central defenders Dai Lin and Wu Xi, out. If that wasn’t bad enough, captain Yu Tao is also unfit, and young winger Song Boxuan is stuck in the treatment room. However, Shenhua’s defensive performances so far have left something to de desired, so perhaps radical change at the back won’t necessarily be a bad thing.
In their last encounter, Shenhua despatched Shenzhen 4-0 in Guangdong, (see video highlights), and hitman Duvier Riascos scored a hat-trick. Shenhua are going to need him to bring along his shooting boots tomorrow if they are to grab their first victory of the season.
Shanghai Stadium is known locally as the “80,000 person stadium” in reference to its cavernous capacity. So forget using the match as an excuse to knock-off work early for fear of not getting a seat.
If you are one of the foolhardy dozen or so readers with a Shenhua season ticket, the club has announced which gates at Shanghai Stadium to use, depending on what section of Hongkou stadium your ticket is for.
If your season ticket is for Hongkou sections 5,6, or 7, enter gate 14 or 15 at Shanghai Stadium. If your season ticket is for sections 15,16,17,18 or 19 at Hongkou, enter by gate 19 or 20 at Shanghai Stadium. If its for sections 10,11 or 12 at Hongkou, enter by gate 16 at Shanghai Stadium. Everyone must sit in the lower tier after entering these gates.
According to the club’s official notice, all season ticket holders should use the number two stairway to make their way up to the stadium concourse, before proceeding to the entrance gates.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015