With the Beijing Guoan playing away to Changchun Yatai this past Friday I could think of little else to do than finally check out one of the other Beijing teams. Beijing Baxy was my only choice as Beijing Institute of Technology was also out of town.
Making your way to Baxy’s dully named Chaoyang Sports Center is easy enough. Qingnianlu on line 6 is the closest subway station and from there it’s a short walk north. My friend and I decided to take a taxi though and when I told the driver we were going to see Baxy play he seemed amused.
Having never been to a China League One match I had no idea what to expect from it in terms of play, fans, or stadium. Upon arriving at the Center the atmosphere seemed quite low key for a visit from 2nd in the table Harbin.
A man outside seemed to be giving away free ice cream either as a promotion or because it was melting. Being lactose intolerant I passed on this generous welcoming gift.
The home attendance seemed to be all locals who had wandered down the road. The average age was also quite higher than a Beijing Guoan match. Instead of young hip folks taking pictures with their iphones to post on Weixin there were old men in flip flops casually smoking cigarettes.
Harbin had a strong away support that seemed built on the promise of promotion. The support section for Baxy which numbered maybe 20 or 30 strong was doing their best to rile up the east stand crowd.
The match itself was well worth forgetting for a Baxy fan. Harbin continually pressed forward while Baxy seemed more concerned with kicking the other team than the ball. Harbin went 1-0 up in the first half with a simple header. In the entire first half all Baxy could manage was to hit the post after a scramble in the box.
Once the second half started Harbin quickly made it 2-0 when the ball fell to a Harbin player outside the six yard box. Things only got worse for Baxy when a Harbin striker was able to get his own rebound and lift it over the sprawling Baxy keeper for a 3-0 win.
The away support for Harbin were quite happy, but judging from the reactions of the Baxy fans they had seen such a drubbing before.
Despite the poor play by Baxy I see China League One matches a good alternative for football fans in Beijing who may not be able to afford a Guoan ticket. All matches cost 20rmb and it’s interesting to see some other cities that are only represented in this league.
The Chaoyang Sports Center is located at 77 Yaojiayuan Lu, Chaoyang district朝阳区姚家园路77号. Tickets for all Beijing Baxy matches can be purchased at damai.cn.