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.