Perhaps it was too much to ask for another win coming off the high that was Friday night’s match at Worker’s Stadium, but Guoan’s performance is sure to disappoint some who thought this was the best chance for three points out of all six group matches. Another large crowd came out to support the home side, this time announced attendance was over 35,000 (while the official match summary had it at 41,000), either way it has to be close to a ACL group stage record crowd.
The match actually opened going in Beijing’s favor, with the Men in Green going on the attack and producing a number of chances, Piao Cheng knocked in a great pass from Zhou Ting. The young Piao is once again finding his form from the start of last season, now scoring in three of four matches for Guoan. It was a great start for the Beijingers and fans started getting excited about a potential big win.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. The Aussies seemed to wake up, perhaps tired from the long flight, and found their way back into the match. They missed a few very easy chances before midfielder Mitch Nichols got on the end of a good cross and headed it past Hou Sen. The Aussies continued to threaten with good crosses which Guoan seemed incapable of defending against, though fortunately the Aussies regularly knocked them well over the bar.
It wasn’t just the Roar who didn’t have their shooting boots on. A good run and precipitous bounce saw Mao Jianqing go in one-on-0ne against the Roar keeper, unfortunately the opponent not being Shanghai, Mao couldn’t even muster a shot on net, instead sailing one well over the crossbar.
In the second half, Guoan took over the match once again, keeping hold of the ball and pushing forward, but while chances were few and far between for the Roar, the ones they had were more dangerous than what Guoan produced. Guoan manager Jaime Pacheco continued his odd substitution policy, taking off Mao, who created a few decent chances, and bringing on Zhang Xizhe, as well as waiting for the 82nd minute to bring on Shao Jiayi.
Shao changed the mood of the match as the entire stadium gave out a large roar when the returning hero made his debut back in the capital. Guoan was pushing forward, but the Aussies had hunkered down behind the ball. Guoan couldn’t find a decent shooting lane and in the end the match ended in a draw, honestly a fair result considering how each side performed.
Pacheco was disappointed in the result, after the game saying, “In the second half we made some minor adjustments and we started to control the game and we got our performance back in order. Our defense and attack were well connected and we tried to score, but we were unable to. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to score.”
It’s now going to be an uphill battle for the capital side to get out of the group stage, with only one point out of two games they’ll need to start winning and it’s not going to get any easier, with FC Tokyo next up to arrive in the capital on April 4th.
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