Nicolas Anelka’s second goal of the season was only enough for a tie as rivals Hangzhou Greentown battled out an entertaining match in Zhejiang Province.
The tourist city of Hangzhou was the site for Yangtze River Derby on a Easter weekend, hosting 20,073 spectators. However there were hardly any ‘festivities’ as heavy security measures were taken in account of last years fan clash in Shanghai. Over a thousand Shenhua supporters were escorted in and out of Huang Long Yellow Dragon Stadium by a massive military police operation.
Fans were not disappointed in an energetic match that showed promising signs of both new managers’ squads maturing in their performances.
For Tigana the match showed growth in the partnership of Griffith’s and Anelka is maturing, as the former cooly fed the latter for the match opener. Also, up-and-coming Cao Yunding was a constant thorn in the side of Hangzhou’s defense, hitting the post and keeping the ball moving forwards for Shanghai.
For Okada, a new high-press system yielded an impressive offensive display from the home team, but by the end of the both halves the flank play had literally exhausted itself. Bari Mamatili, deservedly man of the match, seemed to be all over the field in attack. His cross to Renatinho in the 10th minute equalized only moments after Anelka’s opener. It’s clear that Okada is developing a dynamic and high intensity attack, catching opposition off guard; more time will see the results.
The second half found the home squad largely in possession, but Shenhua threatening several times on counters. Shanghai twice tried to take advantage of some out of position defense from Greentown, but squandered them both with offsides. Then late in the game Griffith’s header seemed sure for goal but brought forth a fine save from Han Feng. Then In stoppage time substitute Zeng Yue struck the cross bar with a header. In the end it was not enough from either team to take away three points.
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