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Beijing finds new way to disappoint against Tianjin

Beijing Guoan 2-2 Tianjin Teda
Chinese Super League Round 10
Kanoute 35′, 59′; Cao Yang 51′, Valencia 90’+2
Attendance: 41,273

The Jing-Jin derby is always a tough match and this year’s first edition was no different, ending up with both sides splitting the points as Tianjin scored a late equalizer.

Beijing put out one of their strongest possible sides, though switched Andre Lima in for Joffre Guerron, a move that was proposed in the pub earlier this week. It didn’t work out as successfully as expected, but part of the issue was down to two first half injuries that may come back to haunt Guoan. Wang Xiaolong needed to be taken off in the 12th minute due to an injury and 10 minutes later, teammate Zhou Ting left the pitch. Neither of the players are likely to travel to Korea and its something that could hurt Guoan significantly, but on the night, the loss of Zhou already did it’s damage.

If not for Freddie Kanoute on the night (and for that matter throughout the season), Guoan would have struggled, but for once he was playing the role of striker again and impressed. In the 35th minute he put the Beijingers on the board when Piao Cheng headed a blown clearance in Kanoute’s direction and the big man chested it down, spun, and placed his shot just inside the post. It’s yet another example of the pure class Kanoute brings to the table.

Tianjin wasn’t without it’s chances, though Yang Zhi came up with a number of big saves on the night. However, the visitors finally broke through early in the second half when a free kick fell to Cao Yang and he headed it in. The defender who was on for Zhou, Yu Yang, was the one who was too loose in his defending.

It was a defensive error on Tianjin’s side that led to Guoan taking the lead, He Yang pulled down Xu Yunlong in the box on a Guoan corner kick and the referee pointed immediately to the spot. Kanoute stepped up and buried the penalty to temporarily give the Beijingers a 2-1 lead at the hour mark. On the other side of the hour mark, Kanoute just missed earning his hat trick when Lima found him in space and his shot hit the crossbar.

Moments later, Kanoute was subbed off and Guoan’s attack dried up as Tianjin went looking for an equalizer. Against a struggling Tianjin side, it felt like Beijing would find a way to hold on, but it wasn’t to be. In extra time, a scramble in the box saw Wang Xinxin get away from Yu Yang, whose defending was dreadful, and found Carmelo Valencia across the goal mouth for an equalizer in the final moments. While much of the blame has to fall on Yu’s shoulders, Zhang Xinxin left Valencia with entirely too much space.

Despite a crucial midweek away tie against FC Seoul, Guoan put out one of its strongest sides and still failed to secure all three points at home against the league’s weakest side. Manager Alexsandar Stanojevic has declared the club will be an active buyer when the transfer window opens up in the summer, but it feels like too little, too late as the capital side struggles to stay in the race for the final ACL position.

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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