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Shandong crushes Guoan as the nightmare continues

Beijing Guoan’s season was made a whole lot worse after being hit for four goals against Shandong Luneng at Jinan’s Provincial Stadium on Saturday. The win moves Shandong safely out of the relegation fight while the Beijingers are caught in a free fall.

With the home side in white instead of their traditional orange, the difficulties started early with Wang Yongpo, looking far more svelte than usual, hammered in a free kick past keeper Yang Zhi. The goal was right in front of the 300 plus who made the trip from the capital to Jinan, taking the wind out of the visiting end.

Wang’s free kick was perfect, but the attack kept going, with Shandong coming up the pitch on attack after attack, the Men in Green looked completely out of sorts, and failed to mount any serious attacks.

Guoan got lucky when they avoided a penalty after a desperate tackle, but they weren’t saved the second time, when Darko Matic and Yu Yang made a sandwich of Macena and took him down n the box. The referee granted Shandong a penalty and while Yang Zhi guessed right, Wang still slotted it past him in the 39th minute, 2-0 to the home side.

It was a difficult first half to watch, but the second half didn’t get any better. Guoan manager Jaime Pacheco made his usual attacker for defender substitution, opening up the Beijingers on the counterattack. The move allowed Shandong to score two more goals,  a 79th minute tap in for Lu Zheng and a fuck you statement goal (or the icing on the cake, depending on who you support) when a searching ball caught the defense ball watching and Lu knocked it past the keeper.

The loss brings up a lot of questions for the capital side, who seem to be relying far too much on bigtime striker Freddie Kanoute, who is good, but not a miracle worker. He can’t beat two defenders or go up and win a header over three opponents, it’s time he got some support up top. The team has lost all concept of teamwork and the young midfielders have been making a lot of bad decisions. What’s worse, Guoan, a team that has always been known for its defense, has been leaking goals as of late.

For the first time in his time in the capital, there are serious rumblings that Pacheco could be getting the axe, though a move like that at this point may seem somewhat hasty. Fortunately for the club, results went their way, meaning they are still only three points away from third place, but things need to turn around quickly if they want to seriously contend for that spot.

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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