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View From the North: Hangzhou 1 – 0 Beijing

Mama said there’d be days like this….

What else can I say, a goal that was but wasn’t given and a penalty that should have been given.  Much like last year, expectations aren’t high when Guoan goes on the road, but I was hoping for at least a point out of this match.

Guoan controlled the ball and dominated the chances in the first half, often through Piao Cheng or Wang Xiaolong.  There wasn’t one that really stood out as dangerous, Xu Liang had a few open shots but one was directly at the keeper, the other was lost somewhere in Row Z.

The best chance of the first half was actually Hangzhou’s, a corner kick that Reinaldo missed on that ended up finding a player right in front of the net, defensive misjudgments almost gave Greentown a goal, but Guoan was able to clear it.

Despite controlling the run of play, Beijing failed to get on the board first, gifting Hangzhou a goal in the 54th minute.  Some argued the ball went out of bounds, though it appears that wasn’t the case.  Instead, it was a case of pathetic defending, five defenders surronded the ball while Wang Song was left all alone in the middle.  A simple cross found him and there was no blaming Hou Sen for getting beaten.

The goal came completely against the run of play, with Guoan controlling the ball 60% of the time, they were destined to get an equalizer and they did, or so it seemed.  In the 65th minute, Piao Cheng hammered an absolutely beautiful shot from around 35 meters out, the ball hit the crossbar and came down over the line, before bouncing out.  Unfortunately, the referee didn’t see it clearly and didn’t give Guoan the goal. It should have been Piao’s fourth goal in five games, the youngster’s quickly showing why he’s the future attacking midfielder for the national team.

The visitors got a little luck when a Hangzhou counter attack looked dangerous, but the shot found the crossbar.  Guoan’s own attack looked dangerous, though Reinaldo’s shot was deflected wide by his own teammate, Mao Jianqing.

Jaime Pacheco brought on AK for Zhang Xinxin in the 85th minute and went all out looking for an equalizer.  They kept throwing the ball into the box, but nothing much came from it.  Then, with a last gasp effort, a header failed to be cleared and the ball fell to Mao in the box, who was then hammered from behind.  What should have been a stone cold penalty wasn’t given, probably because the referee wanted to get out of Huanglong alive and giving up a final second penalty kick wasn’t the best way to do that.

Guoan played one of their better matches of the new season, they looked lively and were able to create on the attack.  It wasn’t a great performance, but it was an improvement, though they definitely need work on finishing.  There were also plenty of the problems that have plagued them all year.  It’s hard to understand why Pacheco keeps giving chances to Zhang Xizhe and its even harder to watch Xu Liang blow chance after chance.  Pacheco was also too slow to make changes toward the end of the match. Hangzhou scores their first goal of the season and gives Okada his first win of the year, in depressing fashion.

It’s sad to see a loss like this, especially when it shouldn’t have ended this way.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.



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