For the second year running, Shanghai Shenhua lost their home game to one of the weakest teams in the Chinese Super League – Nanchang Hengyuan.
Last year, a horrified Hongkou stadium crowd watched a very complacent Shenhua crash to a 3-0 defeat against a team which had just been promoted. Indeed, Nanchang narrowly escaped relegation last season – in no small part due to their unexpected victory against Shenhua. And this year, somehow, they did it again.
This time round it was more bad luck than bad attitude which led to the boys in blue surrendering what should be an easy three home points. The match statistics say it all – Shenhua had 58% of possession, 15 shots on goal and eight on target. Nanchang only had five attempts and two on target during the whole match. Unfortunately for Shenhua, one of those went in.
The goal came in the 69th minute when a long ball forward deflected off Shenhua defender Dai Lin’s shoulders and fell into the path of Nanchang’s South Korean right-back Ko Jae-Sung whose shot hit one post and bounced along the line before going in off the other. It was a sucker punch which left Shenhua floored.
Earlier, Nanchang’s keeper had pulled off great saves from free-kicks from Jiang Kun and Dai Lin, not to mention a superb dive to deny Feng Renliang from outside the box. Juan Angulo also wasted a good chance but shot when he should have crossed to unmarked teammates.
Shenhua were missing the suspended Luis Salmeron, and fate did conspire against them this time. But at the end of the day this is a very poor result that, with the season now almost at the half way stage, sees the Hongkou side fall eight points behind leaders Guangzhou.
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