The second Yangtze Delta derby of the season saw Shanghai East Asia maintain their excellent start to the campaign; with a hard-fought 2-1 away victory at Hangzhou Greentown, in a game which will be remembered for an exquisite first-half volley by Wu Lei.
CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 3
Hangzhou Greentown 1
Wang Song (PK) 51′
Shanghai East Asia 2
T. Hysen 29′, Wu Lei 38′
East Asia made one enforced change from last weekend, following Lv Wenjun’s 5 match ban, while Greentown began the game with the same team that saw off Shanghai Shenhua last time out. In a match featuring several promising chances in front of goal for both sides, it was the visitors who found the cutting edge needed to take the points.
The away team lined up in the same formation that has been seen regularly this season, with Wang Jiayu pushed out left to fill the position left by the suspended Lv Wenjun. Having found himself on the score sheet last week, Wang Jiajie slotted into the vacant central midfield position. East Asia struggled to find their rhythm early on however, as Hangzhou produced the better of the opening exchanges. Davy Claude Angan looked threatening with his size and movement, whilst pacy Brazilian Gilberto Macena posed a constant threat in his advanced left position.
Despite Hangzhou’s bright start, it was East Asia who created the first meaningful opportunity on goal; Wang Jiayu’s darting run causing him to bundle the ball into the path of Tobias Hysen ahead of him. The Swede managed to adjust himself enough to fire a shot at goalkeeper Gu Chao, who was alert to the threat and gathered the ball well. The away side thought they had gone ahead 2 minutes later, however Daniel McBreen’s control and shot from 25 yards was disallowed, after the referee adjudged his 50-50 challenge with Dae-Ho Son to be a foul.
From here, East Asia started to gain a foothold on the game; Fu Huan continuing his strong run of form from right back and Hysen impressively creating space for himself. Finally, in 29th minute, it was the number 9 who put Shanghai 1-0 up in style. Gu’s goal kick was headed long, back towards the Hangzhou goal by Cai Huikang, finding Hysen in space on the edge of the penalty area. The striker nodded the ball down to himself before unleashing with his left foot low and hard past the out-stretched Gu. Having taken the lead, Shanghai grew further into the game, and Hysen continually caused problems for the Hangzhou defence. Wang Jiayu came close after 33 minutes; combining with McBreen before firing wide from close range, and Gu was forced into action moments later as Hysen squared the ball to McBreen, before the Australian struck the ball low to the goalkeeper’s right.
Fu Huan continued to impress down the right hand side, and had a hand in East Asia’s second goal in the 38th minute; combining with Wang Jiayu on the right flank. The Shanghai midfielder then delivered an inch-perfect ball into the Hangzhou area towards the incoming Wu Lei, who burst into the box at blistering pace, before volleying home with his left foot in spectacular fashion – drawing comparisons with Robin van Persie. It was a goal to savour from the much-talked-about youngster, the player dashing towards the jubilant travelling fans to salute them in response to their rapturous cheers. Three goals in three games for East Asia’s star man will leave them confident of surpassing last term’s impressive 15-goal tally.
Shanghai started the second half very much as they had finished the first, and McBreen even saw a second disallowed goal, tapping home the rebound after the goalkeeper saved from Wu Lei, before the linesman’s flag was raised for offside. However, Greentown managed to get themselves back into the game courtesy of a rather harsh penalty decision awarded against Cai Huikang. After a strong run down the left hand side and into the box by forward Angan, the Ivorian skipped past the challenge of East Asia centre back Ransford Addo before attempting to cross. Cai, sliding in to cover, was ruled to have used his arm to stop the ball, and Hangzhou captain Wang Song converted powerfully from the spot past Yan Junling.
The hosts noticeably improved following the penalty, and should have leveled the game through Feng Gang just minutes later. Shanghai’s problems in clearing their lines defensively reappeared, as Ibán Cuadrado’s header could only reach Macena. His looping ball over the East Asia defence was brought down by Angan, although Feng’s subsequent shot was well-saved by Yan. Such chipped balls over the Shanghai defence became a recurring theme, and Hangzhou spurned another opportunity as a result of one of these soon after.
Both sides had equally encouraging openings thereafter; Wu Lei showing pace and vision going forward for East Asia, while Angan, Macena and the industrious captain Wang continued to impress for the home side. Both Wu and Hysen wasted chances on goal, while at the other end, Angan caused more concern for centre-halves Addo and Cuadrado. Indeed it took an excellent reflex save from Yan Junling to keep out a well-timed diving header Feng Gang in the 73rd minute to keep the visitors in front, in the midst of a spell in which both sides again lacked a finishing touch.
Shanghai looked as though they would seal the victory in the 89th minute, as Wu Lei sprinted almost 40 yards to latch onto a long ball upfield, beating defender Wang Lin to the loose ball. However, Wu was pulled back as he bore down on goal, leaving the referee with no choice but to give Wang his marching orders. Wang Jiayu went close with the subsequent free kick, and his team again threatened late on, following more hard work by Wu, Hysen and Fu, but the scores finished as they were.
East Asia’s undefeated start to the 2014 campaign continues apace, and fans will be eagerly anticipating their second home game of the season against Beijing Guoan next Friday. Hangzhou, on the other hand, now travel to Guangzhou R&F, looking for an immediate response to a disappointing result many fans would have been hopeful of getting something out of.
Hangzhou Greentown: 1 Gu Chao; 22 Wang Lin, 5 Shi Ke, 28 Cao Haiqing, 6 Dae-Ho Son, 33 Wang Song, 30 Luka Zinko (46′ – 9 Anselmo Ramon), 14 Feng Gang, 11 Xie Pengfei (71′ – 4 Zang Yifeng), 7 Gilberto Macena, 20 Davy Claude Angan.
Shanghai East Asia: 1 Yan Junling; 25 Ransford Addo, 21 Ibán Javier Cuadrado, 4 Wang Shenchao, 23 Fu Huan, 7 Wu Lei, 20 Wang Jiayu, 5 Wang Jiajie (65′ – 10 Zhu Zhengrong), 6 Cai Huikang, 9 Tobias Hysen, 36 Daniel McBreen (90’+2 – 14 Li Shenglong).