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Beijing Guoan

Guoan passes Asian do-or-die test with flying colors

Beijing Guoan 2-0 Pohang Steelers
AFC Champions League group stage match 5
Guerron 47′, Shao Jiayi 87′
Attendance: 33,205

With everything resting on this match, Beijing Guoan came through with a massive victory, their first ever against a Korean side, moving them one step closer to getting out of the group stage. Now all the Beijingers need is a point against Sanfrecce and they’ll advance from the group stage for only the second time.

The first half was a tight affair with neither team able to produce much in the way of chances. The large crowd was on edge, worried that once again Guoan would fall victim to a Korean side, especially one on the verge of getting out of the group stage.

Guoan didn’t make the crowd wait long, in the opening minutes of the second half, they struck. A long ball was played to Freddie Kanoute who passed it to Joffre Guerron. The Ecuadorian tried to play a quick one-two with Kanoute, but the pass was blocked by a Pohan defender. Luckily, the ball fell to Guerron, who knocked it past the keeper.

In the 72nd minute, the Men in Green had a chance to double their tally, when Zhang Xizhe was taken down in the box and a penalty was awarded. Kanoute stepped up to take it and banged it in, unfortunately the referee determined a Guoan player entered the box before Kanoute kicked it. On the retake, Kanoute’s approach was slow and he kicked it low and straight, the keeper able to make the save.

The save should have been a big momentum changer, giving Pohang the chance to get back into the match, but the home side didn’t give up. Guoan continued to pressure the Korean side and finally closed out the match and let the fans rest easy with an 87th minute goal from hero Shao Jiayi. Zhang Xizhe played a great free kick into the box, Lang Zheng tapped it on to show, who one touched it past the keeper, cue bedlam throughout Beijing.

Just a few short months ago, it would have been unthinkable to picture Guoan getting out of the group stage, especially considering what little they did in the offseason. However, the arrival of Alexsandar Stanojevic appears to be all Beijing needed, a new manager who has reinvigorated the team. The win also deals a massive blow to Pohang’s chances of advancing, now requiring them to secure all three points when they host Bunyodkor at the end of the month.

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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