Last year Beijing Guoan went the entire season without coming from behind to win, but this year the club has shown a fighting spirit at home, doing it more than once, most recently on Friday night in a 2-1 victory over Guizhou Renhe.
As has all too often been the case this season, Guoan started out slow, sleep walking their way through the first half. Guizhou was able to produce a chance here and there but nothing too dangerous until just before half time. In the 44th minute, Guizhou had a free kick around midfield and played a long ball into the Guoan box, Rafa Jordà headed it into the path of Zlatan Muslimović. The tall Bosnian beat Xu Yunlong to the ball and knocked it past the keeper to put the visitors up by one going into the locker room at halftime.
Guoan has become a team of second half comebacks since the start of the season, but especially so over the last month and they really turned the match around right from the start of the second half. Some tight passing led to an excellent chance for Wang Xiaolong less than 10 minutes into the half, but it was still Guizhou that was dominating play.
The equalizer came in the 70th minute with a great goal by second half substitute, Andrija Kaluđerović. A Wang Xiaolong cross was played in to the back post where Piao Cheng headed it to AK, who took it on the first touch and put it in the back of the net. It was the Serb’s first goal for Guoan and set off celebrations around the stadium.
Zhang Xizhe screwing up two straight chances almost killed Guoan’s momentum, but there was still the feeling that somehow or another, a winner was going to come. A nice one-two play between Darko Matic and Piao, but Matic’s shot was tipped out by the Guizhou keeper. The corner that followed almost led to a goal off a Xu Yunlong header, but keeper Zhang Lie was able to just get a hand on it and clear it off the line, leading to another Guoan corner.
This one was taken long and would find the sprightly Chinese-Korean midfielder for a header that he angled perfectly into the net, leaving the keeper Zhang frozen in place, helpless to do anything but watch the ball go in.
I’ve been a massive fan of Piao’s since his days in Yanbian and I’ve stuck with him through his ups, downs, and now ups again in Beijing. The past few games he’s struggled so it was great to see him put in his best performance of the season, dominating the game.
With this win it’s now five straight victories for Guoan at home this year, and with the other results it means they gain ground in their race for the title. I can’t help but note former Guoan star (and native Beijinger) once again taking a lap around the stadium after the match, something that many fans found acceptable, but had this supporter saying some unkind things to him and his mother.