Cao Yunding scored the winning penalty as Shanghai Shenhua scraped through to the fourth round of the CFA cup with a win on spot kicks after a 0-0 finish in regular time.
Despite creating endless chances, Shenhua just couldn’t score against the side which was relegated from the CSL last year. However, with chairman Zhu Jun recently re-joining everyone else on planet earth by admitting the league was beyond his side this season, his newly stated aim of ACL qualification via the CFA cup remains on track – just.
Shenhua lined up with a full-strength squad – with new signing from Racing Club Giovanni Moreno making his debut in midfield wearing the number 37 shirt. He replaced Cao Yunding, who yet again found himself on the bench despite being Shenhua best outfield player this season.
The home side dominated from the start and Feng Renliang almost had the ball in the net after just 5 minutes with a great shot from the corner of the box which went just wide.
Song Boxuan had a great chance to score when he got on the end of a Wu Xi ball into the six yard box, but he missed when it looked easier to score. Moment later Moreno showed his promise when he took an Anelka pass and dummied a couple of defenders before unleashing a shot from distance which looked to be heading in before being blocked in the box.
Shenzhen did have their chances, and at around the half hour mark, a dangerous ball into the box almost found Wang Weilong’s head at the far post, but Wang Dalei plucked it out of the air.
In the second half, Anelka was pulling a lot of strings and put a great cross in for Song Boxuan on the hour mark, but the midfielder could only head weakly over the bar. Just over five minutes later, Anelka was again the creator, his cross headed over by young midfielder Wang Guanyi.
Shenzhen didn’t have much in the way of attacking chances, and were limited to long-range shots. Shenhua weren’t much better, in the 82nd minute Anelka put a great long-range pass wide which found Cao Yunding, but the playmaker’s shot was weak and easily saved after some good footwork created a scoring chance.
And so the match went to penalties – Wang Dalei saved two Shenzhen efforts, but Wang Guanyi put his shot over the bar. That meant Shenhua would win if they scored their fifth penalty – Cao Yunding stepped up to stroke it home and put his side through 5-4 with a shootout victory.
Shenhua did look dangerous during this game but failing to score at home against second division opposition can only be described as a poor result. However the team are through to the fourth round and will play Changchun Yatai at home in the next round on July 18.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015