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Guoan earns first road victory, crucial three points

After having not won an away match since October of last year, Beijing Guoan finally won on the road, defeating Changchun Yatai 1-0 yesterday. Piao Cheng scored his third league goal of the year (and second in two matches), putting him in the chase for top Chinese scoring honors.

It almost started out very badly for Guoan, in the 9th minute Changchun had an excellent chance. Brazilian Weldon came charging down the wing and had the two defenders looking for the short pass, while teammate Zhang Wenzhao stood wide open on the other side of the box. The Brazilian selfishly took the shot himself, one that was easily saved, but Zhou Ting’s cross was horrible and hit Zhang, fortunately Zhou recovered in time and blocked the shot which should have been the opening goal.

Guoan started to find space and create some buildup in the midfield, which led to the match’s only goal. That goal came in the 21st minute, a Zhou cross caught the defense standing still and a charging Piao got to the back post in time to head it in. It was a quality goal at a difficult angle and the short-in-stature Piao once again did it with his head.

The visitors almost doubled their tally just a bit later, this time it was a good run by Wang Xiaolong, who put a nice move on a defender leading him to fall down. Wang then was able to walk the ball into the box and played a nice low, hard cross through the goal mouth, but striker Reinaldo failed to get on the other end of it.

There was action at both ends of the pitch throughout the half, in the 31st minute, a Wang Dong free kick from an odd angle gave Beijing keeper Hou Sen fits. The Beijingers, for their part, created more than a few chances, most often through the play of Wang Xiaolong or Shao Jiayi, both stars put in excellent performances.

With Guoan in the lead, the minutes of the second half seemed to tick away incredibly slowly. Fortunately, most of the match was played in the midfield, with neither side producing many chances. A late free kick gave Changchun a bit of hope, but Guoan blocked it and the second chance, even leading to a quick odd man break with Zhang Xizhe bolting down the right wing. Unfortunately, Zhang’s cross was a bit rushed and behind his teammate, a wasted chance that, fortunately, didn’t cost Guoan.

In the end, the Men in Green came away with all three points against one of the league’s better sides. It’s the kind of win that makes up for some of the earlier road struggles, giving up points in Dalian and Henan. The victory also puts Guoan within four points of leaders Evergrande. Much like last year, fans weren’t expecting much at the start of the season, but now expectations are quickly growing.

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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