While a day out at football is supposed to be a way to relax, for a real fan it’s often anything but. There’s a buildup of nervous tension and excitement all day long, boiling up at kickoff, and not ending until the referee’s final whistle. Beijing Guoan seems to understand what us fans go through and have decided to make it easy for us, no more nailbiting close finishes, Guoan goes for the jugular.
It was Monday night football, Beijing style, thanks to a Saturday night concert at Worker’s Stadium and I was scrambling to get in the stadium on time. Fortunately I did, because Guoan’s chances came from the very start. Lineup consistency is something we’ve seen from Jamie Pacheco all year long, last night the only change was young defender Yu Yang getting his first start this year in place of suspended skipper Xu Yunlong.
Nobody is going to mistake Shenzhen for a title contender and Phillipe Troussier isn’t going to survive much longer as their manager, but the way Guoan picked them apart last night was a masterclass. Martinez continued his dominance with a brace, the first goal opened up Guoan’s scoring in the 20th minute, a blocked Xu Liang shot had the Shenzhen defense ball watching and appealing for offsides, but Martinez went in 1 on 1 against the keeper and cooly finished it. Ten minutes later, it was a surprising contribution from Yu Yang, who was at the back post to finish off a well planned free kick play. Martinez’s second came right before the end of the half, Wang Xiaolong played a nice ball into the box and Martinez was there with the header to make it 3-0 Guoan going into the half.
In the second half, Guoan added one more, Xu Liang finding Zhang Xizhe on a run that had the Shenzhen defense in a failed offside trap once again, Zhang and Joel Griffiths were in free on the keeper and Zhang slid it across for Griffiths to knock it in on an open net. 4-0 to Guoan and their keeper, Yang Zhi, barely needed to break a sweat, challenged only by a single free kick all night. Lest we forget, while he gave a goal up last week, that was in the CFA Cup, a ball hasn’t entered Yang Zhi’s net in a league match in the past 6 matches.
It was a great night to be a Guoan fan, there were plenty of chances but the side couldn’t be too greedy, 4-0 was a fine result. Especially considering the 3 points earned see the capital boys go top of the table as the league takes two weeks off. Pacheco is working magic with a side almost identical to what Hong Yuanshuo had last year, but is getting much different results, let’s hope it can continue.
Man of the Match