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Missed opportunities could haunt Guoan

Beijing Guoan hosted bottom of the table Qingdao Jonoon last night and despite dominating the match, Guoan couldn’t find a way to break down Qingdao’s packed defense. The Beijingers put in a solid performance, but unlike in previous matches at home, they failed to find a way to pull the match out.

The first half saw both teams come close, though most of the action didn’t really begin until the final minutes of the half. Guoan appeared to have scored when Wang Xiaolong knocked one in after a throw in was not fully cleared, however the referee called it back because Shao Jiayi was offside. In watching the replay, it seems the ref probably got it right, though Shao was only a half step at most off. In the final seconds of the half, Li Peng’s intentional hand ball on a free kick saw him get a second yellow card and the visitors go down to 10 men.

With the numerical advantage and having controlled play in the first half, it looked like Guoan was bound to come away with all three points; that wasn’t to be the case. Qingdao packed everyone behind the ball and focused on defense with keeper Liu Zhenli making a few big saves and doing everything in his power to delay the match at each turn.

Manager Jaime Pacheco had already used one substitution in the first half and used his remaining two 15 minutes into the second half, bringing on AK for Reinaldo (a move he makes every match) and Zhang Xizhe for Shao Jiayi (a waste of a substitution that occurs way too regularly). Without a way to change things up, the club still tried to throw everything the could at the opponents. A through ball from Piao Cheng to AK, a good corner kick, a Xu Liang free kick, all led to excellent opportunities in the second half, but none made its way past the keeper.

The Men in Green walked away with a single point while Evergrande crushed Jiangsu Sainty 5-1, making the gap between Guoan and the leaders four points. It was certainly a night of missed opportunities, both in the match and the standings. With temperatures reaching well above 30 degrees, the start of the Beijing summer, and the match’s disappointing result, tempers were flaring afterwords. There were rumors of fighting at the north gate of Worker’s Stadium and an incident took place between fans and the driver of a car with Tianjin plates at Gongti West Road.

It’s easy to be disappointed with the draw, but two matches shy of the halfway point, Guoan fans have to be happy with where their club sits in the standings. With the transfer window opening up Monday, Guoan has the chance to pick up two solid foreigners who can make a contribution during the second half of the season. While the club may struggle to find domestic players who can be of assistance, if they are able to lure Huang Bowen back, it would do a lot to shore up the midfield. There’s still a lot for Guoan fans to be happy about, its just easy to lose sight of that after only picking up a point at home against a team like Qingdao.

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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