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Guoan handed first home loss of the season

Jiangsu Sainty came to Worker’s Stadium on Saturday and did what no Chinese Super League club has done this year, beat Beijing Guoan at home. After going undefeated in Friday night games (all played at Gongti), Beijing Guoan has struggled at home following the break, with only one point out of the last two matches and is struggling to keep pace in the league.

The visitors started out strong, a dangerous early free kick barely missed wide in the opening minutes of the match. They would go on top in the 24th minute catching Guoan’s defense off guard. Jiangsu defender Ai Zhibo headed a long cross into the middle of the box where a bit of confusion on the part of Guoan’s defense saw Ren Hang all alone to knock it past the keeper. Like that, Jiangsu was up 1-0, having scored the first goal against Beijing in three matches.

Guoan decided it was time to wake up and seriously started playing, producing a number of chances and dominating possession with them controlling the ball almost 70% of the time in the first half. Yet the Men in Green weren’t able to find an equalizer.

It was much the same in the second half as Jiangsu sat back and let Beijing’s attack come at them. In a lot of ways, the match was reminiscent of what happened a week ago against Qingdao, though at least then it was 0-0. Guoan was able to keep the ball, but they were unable to come close to producing any real chances or break through the defense. Instead, the Beijingers relied on long shots from outside the box that were more often than not off target. Beijing took 22 shots in the match, but only four were on target, while Jiangsu only produced two shots on target (one a goal).

Guoan manager Jaime Pacheco was without a lot of options on the bench and perhaps because of this he failed to make an adjustment until the 70th minute, taking off defensive midfielder Zhang Xiaobin for another attacking option in the form of Shao Jiayi. It would have helped if Pacheco had another move in his pocket, but he didn’t use another substitution until the final minutes.

It was a disappointing effort at home, dropping points and falling even further behind league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande, who cruised to a win in Shenyang. The result was made all the harder because it was Darko Matic’s 100th appearance for Guoan and the fans were hoping for a more happy result.

Despite the loss, it was a proud night for the yulinjun (or Royal Army), Beijing’s ultras. When the sky opened up and rain started to pour down, sending fans in the east and west stands running for the exits or grabbing for their umbrellas, the ultras pushed forward, not back, and were in full voice as they were getting soaked to the bone. Definitely a night that fans won’t forget.

Beijing Guoan: Hou Sen, Zhang Xixin (Lang Zheng, 88′), Yu Yang, Xu Yunlong, Zhou Ting, Matic, Zhang Xiaobin (Shao Jiayi, 71′), Wang Xiaolong, Piao Cheng, Mao Jianqing, AK

Jiangsu Sainty: Deng Xiaofei, Ren Hang, Eleílson, Ai Zhibo, Zhou Yun, Du Wenhui (Sun Ke, 61′), Jiang Jiajun , Liu Bofei, Cao Rui, Ji Xiang, Danalache, Jevtic (Qu Cheng,70′)

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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