We’ve talked about the weirdness of the competition, but now its time to forget about that and focus on what matters most, the actual matches. The Men in Green will face off against a club from Shanghai (9-1, 9-1! no, not that side) as a part of a full slate of FA Cup matches tonight.
Guoan always struggled to win the league, but they earned a reputation as “Kings of the Cup”, winning it 3 times (only Shandong has won more). Considering the club’s current form, it seems that as long as they come out prepared to play, getting stung by the lower flight club is unlikely.
I cannot say much about tonight’s opponent, Shanghai East Asia, as I’ve yet to see them play this season. They are coming off a good 2-1 win against Guangzhou over the weekend and currently sit solidly in the pack of teams hoping to earn the 2nd promotion spot (as it appears Dalian has ran away with the 1st spot through only 8 games). This Shanghai side doesn’t score a lot, but also doesn’t seem to give up many goals. There is sure to be a big crowd at Gongti tonight and so these kids will probably have never experienced this kind of atmosphere, it should be a motivating factor for them.
It will be interesting to see how Pacheco treats this match. It might be a good chance to rest some of the starters and give some playing time to guys we haven’t seen much of this season. At the same time, too many changes and the squad may not be in tune, giving Shanghai an easier shot at an upset. It’s always great to cheer against, and beat, a team from Shanghai, even if it isn’t Shenhua, so here’s hoping for a good start to Beijing’s cup run.