Xu Liang’s poor recent form was erased with a goal from over the half way line to see off Dalian Shide. Xu looked up and shot from 62 meters to beat Zhang Chong in the Dalian goal, kissing the Gong Ti turf at the end of the game.
Concern existed in the build up to the match against Dong Bei side Dalian Shide, Beijing Guoan’s wounded side desperately needed a win, not just for form but for the all important CSL standings which of late have seen a host of sides creep up on Guoan. Three wins out of five for Dalian made more impressive by three being away from home while seven scored and eight conceded showed an exploitable weakness for Guoan.
What seems an age ago for Guoan fans, the 6-0 cup victory over Qingdao gave optimism that was followed by a 2-0 loss at home to Hangzhou and what seems now a needless 6-0 loss in a friendly against Bayern Munich, a 2-1 loss in the JingJin derby and a midweek slugfest dumping Guoan out of the cup 4-3 against Guizhou.
Much like the Tianjin game, Beijing started well with a glorious chance on the half hour mark, 23 year old Piao Cheng with a mazy run dinked the ball in to be headed into the path of Zhang Xizhe who forced Zhang Chong to produced a super save.
It was Dalian though that would have the most clear cut chance, just before half time the flamboyant Zhao Mingjian with a nice one two with James Chamanga fired at Yang Zhi who could only parry the ball into the path of Bulgarian Martin Kamburov who couldn’t quite get the final touch to put Dalian in front. Chamanga then went on to miss a sitter from the resulting corner.
A relieved Guoan would then feel very aggrieved on 70 minutes when off-form Xu Liang produced an exquisite lob over the defence to find substitute Freddie Kanoute who nicely finished only to be ruled offside which proved to be a mistake from the officials as Kanoute timed his run perfectly. Just two minutes later Piao Cheng would launch another cross for Kanoute to head just wide.
And then, well what to say about the goal, I remember Nayim’s 1995 Cup Winners Cup final goal against Arsenal, Beckham’s magnificently weighted half-way-line strike over Neil Sullivan but this guy definitely needed this, after some awful performances of late, Xu Liang looked up from 62 meters and stuck beautifully over Zhang Chong, 1-0 final score and a great way to do it.
Beijing head to Shandong Luneng next hoping desperately for form as they chase Guizhou Renhe for third spot while Dalian Shide can also do them a favor with a win against Guangzhou R&F.