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Big win for Beijing against fellow ACL contender

Beijing Guoan 4-0 Dalian Aerbin
Chinese Super League Round 22
Guerron 21′, Zhang Xizhe 34′ (pen), 70′ (pen), Shao Jiayi 86
Attendance: 41,131

On a day when Beijing Guoan skipper Darko Matic missed out through suspension and former Dalian Aerbin striker Peter Utaka also sat out, there was some uncertainty over how Beijing would fare against the visitors from the northeast. It was the Gongti side who proved their strength in depth, triumphing in a 4-0 win over a Liaoning outfit who had little to show for themselves beyond the occasional attacking move led by national team forward Yu Dabao or former Paris Saint Germaine man Guillaume Hoarau.

Overlooking the fact that two of Guoan’s tally came from the penalty spot, the win was an important win for Beijing after an indifferent run of form in the league and sees them cement the third spot ahead of Guizhou Renhe.

The match got underway on a balmy Sunday evening at a fuller-than-normal Worker’s Stadium. With the metronomic Matic not playing, the opening stages were cagey, with Guoan’s efforts focused on a long-ball game designed to put Joffre Guerron in behind the Dalian defence yielding no rewards while Dalian’s efforts to break through the Guoan midfield resulted in nothing more than a few crosses that Hoarau failed to convert. The deadlock was broken in the 21st minute, when Guerron, closely backed up by Egor Krimets, turned in Zhang Xizhe’s corner kick. As the match progressed, it was Guerron and Zhang who together had the greatest impact on Aerbin’s downfall.

Not even a quarter of an hour after the first goal, Guerron raced into the Aerbin box only to felled by Li Xuepeng. The spot-kick was duly converted by the man who had set up Guerron’s goal earlier in the half, Zhang Xizhe. Flashes of controversy erupted before the referee could blow for time on the first half. First, in the 37th minute, Aerbin captain Seydou Keita was awarded a yellow card for protesting the referee’s decisions one too many times. Just a few minutes later, Aerbin players surrounded the referee after Lü Peng was judged to have fouled a Guoan player outside the penalty box.

It would seem that Aerbin coach Simo Krunic may have warned his players to invest more effort in their football and less in their remonstrations during the half-time break. Yu Dabao in particular looked lively in the second half, and may well have converted had the service supplied by his teammates been a bit better. A tricky run in from along the bye-line towards in the dying minutes of the game could have won a penalty for Dalian, but the referee was not interested. By that point, anyway, the game was over as a contest.

In the 70th minute, Joffre Guerron was released down the left hand flank, tricking his way past Dalian defender Zhao Hejing. But Zhao cut down Guerron on the edge of the box. While replays show the tackle was likely outside the box, the referee pointed to the spot and Zhang Xizhe converted the spot kick for his second goal of the game. The Beijing ultras, in full voice throughout the match, started the chant “Give us back Shide” and “Give us back Jilang” for the former club based in Dalian and its legendary supporters section.

With Dalian coach Krunic watching the rest of the game from the stands after being sent off for his protests against the decision to award Guoan a second penalty, Aerbin enjoyed some good spells in the closing stages, but when the clock struck 83, Shao Jiayi headed in a cross from substitute Wang Xiaolong to make it 4-0 to Guoan. By that point, the fat lady had sung loud and clear.

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