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Guoan splits with Shanghai Shenxin after exciting comeback

Beijing Guoan 2-2 Shanghai Shenxin
Chinese Super League Round 5
Kanoute 72′, Lima 74′; Johnny 4′, Flavio 66′
Attendance: 32,466

After suffering their first loss of the season midweek to Bunyodkor, Beijing Guoan needed to overcome and regroup, the schedule gifted them an easier opponent in the likes of Shanghai Shenxin, but Guoan failed to capitalize.

The first 45 minutes were a continuation of Wednesday’s debacle, where not everyone was on the same page, perhaps due to Alexsandar Stanojevic’s rotation policy. They were lacking the ability to create and challenge the Shenxin keeper. Shenxin was also able to give Guoan’s defense fits, especially through Jailton on the left wing. The visitor’s capitalized early when good play off a free kick saw Johnny tap in the match’s opening goal.

At the half, two changes were made, with Wang Xiaolong and Zhang Xizhe being brought on and after these two moves, Guoan settled down and started creating sustained pressure on Shenxin but couldn’t get a goal. On the hour mark, Darko Matic was taken off and Freddie Kanoute brought on as Stanojevic was searching for an equalizer.

It didn’t have the desired effect as a defensive breakdown six minutes later saw Keiza find Anthony Flavio in space and Flavio slipped it past Yang Zhi to put Shenxin up two. A pall fell on the Worker’s Stadium crowd as their side was 2-0 down to a side they should be beating.

The players seemed to realize this as well and stepped up their play, laying siege on Shenxin’s goal, most often through long balls that Kanoute would bring down. In the 70th minute, a cross found Wang Xiaolong all alone on the opposite side of the box and was stupidly taken down by a Shenxin defender, giving Guoan a penalty kick. Kanoute stepped up and hammered it past the keeper, pulling one back for Guoan.

Four minutes later, it was Kanoute bringing down a long ball and lobbing it over the defense for Andre Lima, who scored his first Guoan goal. There was constant pressure during the final 15 minutes, most often through Wang Xiaolong on the left wing and Kanoute and Lima in the middle. Lima, who looked unimpressive so far, suddenly came alive and came close to scoring on multiple occasions.

Momentum was on Guoan’s side, but time wasn’t. A Zhou Ting shot just over the crossbar in extra time was the last chance the side would have as the referee shortly whistled for full time, having only added on three minutes. The match saw Guoan fans leave the stadium with mixed emotions, the match saw the side fail to get all three points and yet it was a very exciting match. The Men in Green have no time to rest as Guizhou Renhe comes to town on Friday.

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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