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Shenhua crash out of ACL

Shanghai Shenhua crashed out of the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Tuesday night after being beaten 2-0 away to Japan’s Kashima Antlers. Looking at the highlights, Shenhua didn’t do too badly, Riascos has a few decent efforts, and he put youngster Jiang Jiajun through who should have scored. However, the boys in blue were effectively out before the match began, only a victory against Kashima, and then another win in the final game against Suwon, plus other results going their way, would have seen Shenhua make it past the group stage.

Fans of Shenhua will be disappointed but not surprised to see their side crash out of the ACL again. No-one expected Shenhua to do much in the ACL, and they didn’t, so no real loss there. There is still the final ACL game against Suwon on May 10 to deal with – I suspect attendance will be very low .

Elsewhere, Tianjin fly the flag for the Chinese Super League in Asia, beating Jeju United of Korea 3-0 to advance from group E. Hangzhou Greentown are out after losing 1-0 away to Nagoya Grampus. The sole remaining team, Shandong, have it all to do – they must beat Cerezo Osaka in Japan, in the final group game, to make it to the knockout stage.

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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