Nanchang Hengyuan Shanghai Shenxin decided it was time to declare their presence after returning to Shanghai, though they did so in an unusual way. During a friendly against Shanghai Shenhua over the weekend, a multiplayer brawl broke out, sure to add excitement to the first Shanghai “derby” (tentatively scheduled for May 12).
The incident began off a throw in, Dai Lin went in high and hard on one of Shenxin’s Brazilian players, and Shenxin’s Wang Yun followed it up with what appeared to be a minor foul on Shenhua’s newest arrival Mario Bozic. Dai took offense to this getting in Wang’s face and Wang responded with a weak jab at Dai. This was enough to turn the incident in to a bench clearing brawl, with Dai Lin throwing flailing punches and youngster Wu Xi trying to stomp and kick Shenxin players. After everyone was split up, Wang continued yapping at Shenhua players and while Yu Tao appeared to come over to be the voice of reason, Dai charged in with some more wild shots. The incident ended the friendly (if it could still be called that), with the two teams heading to their respective buses.
This sort of petulence isn’t exactly uncommon in the Chinese Super League but is sure to be a new to Shenhua’s star Nicolas Anelka, who remained on the outside watching alongside Shenxin’s Brazilian players. This is exactly the kind of incident I’m hoping to see less of in the upcoming season, but with 6 intercity matches and 6 interprovince battles (not including two massive Jing-Jin derby matches), there are sure to be more fireworks during the 2012 season.
The fight is sure to solidify the anti-Shenhua clique of fans in Shanghai to get behind Shenxin. Despite struggling to stay in the Chinese Super League during its two years since gaining promotion,
Nanchang Shenxin always do better against Shenhua, with a 2-1-1 record over four matches. Perhaps its because a number of the players, and the manager, are Shanghainese so they are more pumped for the match. It’s sure to add interest to the first Shanghai derby day since 2007.
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