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Wet, wild night as Guoan go slipsliding down the table

Beijing Guoan hosted Hangzhou Greentown at Worker’s Stadium Saturday night in the midst of the biggest rain to hit Beijing in 60 years, to add to the somber mood, Guoan lost 2-0 to the visitors.

Despite the horrible conditions, that included tens of deaths around the city, nearly 22,000 made it out to Worker’s Stadium, a crowd that many clubs would be happy about in perfect conditions. Unfortunately, the club didn’t send the fans home happy, instead it was another sad night for Guoan and the third straight year Greentown has come to Worker’s Stadium and taken all three points back with them.

In a lot of ways the match was a repeat of the match against Shanghai, Guoan clearly outplayed Hangzhou, with over 62% of possession and outshooting the visitors 20 to 5, but of Hangzhou’s three shots on target, two were goals. That makes 43 shots to 14 over two matches and yet two losses, giving up five goals on seven shots on target. It’s not a record to be proud of.

While the Beijingers dominated the first half, a strong Hangzhou counter attack and nice ball into the middle picked out Mazola, who knocked it in and put the visitors up by one in the 14th minute. While the pitch was generally in decent shape considering the rain, but the ground in the box that Guoan was attacking in the first half was pretty much unplayable.

Guoan manager Jaime Pacheco made a change at the half,bringing on Shao Jiayi for young defender Xu Wu, who was getting a rare CSL start. Shao made a difference, creating a number of solid chances, but keeper Jiang Bo was up to the task or the shots were off target. Jiang definitely had a top night, turning back Guoan’s attack force time and time again.

Pacheco would take another defender off the pitch in the 81st minute, bringing Mao Jianqing on for Yu Yang. This all-out effort for an equalizer failed miserably as Guoan instead gave up a second goal moments after the change, with Wang Song finding Renatinho, who buried one past Guoan’s keeper Hou Sen.

The loss kills off any tiny hope that Guoan may have had at challening for the title, as they now sit 11 points behind the leaders. The loss also sees them slide down to fifth place. Guoan fans could care less about playing attractive, ball controlling football and instead just want them team to score some goals. Too many blown attacks due to a bad final pass (part of that can be chalked up to the conditions) and too many shots that didn’t do enough to challenge the keeper. Moral victories, strong performances from the new foreigners, and outplaying the other team while not earning points is getting old fast.

Guoan will face off in a friendly tomorrow night against Bayern Munich before being back in league action this weekend away at local rivals Tianjin.

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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