Beijing Guoan headed to Jiaxing last night to take on Hangzhou Greentown in an important CFA Cup and came away with what may have been the most impressive win over Pacheco’s short coaching career with the capital side.
Guoan only made two changes from the lineup that faced Shenzhen over the weekend, using Keita and Wang Xiaolong over Joel Griffiths and Walter Martinez. This was by far the most impressive we’ve seen Keita so far, the big Senegalese striker made his presence known early with two great scoring chances before breaking through with a counterattack goal in the 15th minute.
The first half was all Guoan, after having been dominated by Hangzhou’s Luis Ramirez early in the season at Gongti, Pacheco’s lineup was attack minded, but also focused on keeping the defense tight. It worked impressively on the night as the win was as much about him outcoaching Wu Jinggui as it was about anything on the field. Guoan’s tough defending meant Hangzhou failed to have a shot in the first half.
Guoan’s stingy defense lost its shape a little in the second half and Hangzhou had a few chances that scared any Guoan fans watching. The best of the lot was a defensive gaffe that saw Mao Jianqing go in one on one against Yang Zhi. For anyone questioning why Yang is China’s number 1, he showed it last night, with Mao coming in on him all alone, he came out and challenged him, doing enough to knock the ball off his foot.
This was one of those matches that really gets the heart pumping and as the match progressed at 0-0, it was a real nailbiter, not for the faint hearted, but Guoan made it easier on their fans when Joel Griffiths, a second half substitute, set up Wang Xiaolong for an easy goal and a 2-0 lead.
It was a great win for the Beijing side, who then had to be constnatly checking Weibo to see what was happening in the other quarterfinal on their side of the bracket between Shandong and Henan. In that match, Lu Zheng scored two first half goals to put Shandong in the lead, but Henan fought back in the second getting one and then a late equalizer to take the match to penalty kicks. It led to a strange situation where Guoan fans were cheering for Henan in hopes of a home semifinal, but Henan missed one to give Shandong the win.
In the other quarterfinal matches, Tianjing cruised to a 2-0 victory over Shaanxi while Shanghai squeezed past upstarts Yanbian 1-0 through a first half Cao Yunding strike in front of what looked like a pretty good crowd in Anhui (surely there will be more on this later).
The cup semifinals will take place on October 19, with Beijing going to Shandong and Tianjin hosting Shanghai.
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