Shanghai East Asia will look to put all memory of last week’s disappointing loss to Henan behind them on Saturday, as Changchun Yatai visit Shanghai Stadium. With league leaders Guangzhou and second-placed Beijing both playing on Friday evening, East Asia undoubtedly must secure three points in order to remain within touching distance of the top.
Much talk this week focused on the furore surrounding Daniel McBreen’s alleged swearing at the crowd during last week’s encounter with Henan Jianye. Eyebrows had been raised, as grainy TV replays appeared to show the use of a middle finger in the direction of some idiotic supporters who had been shining a laser pointer in his eyes. However, upon closer inspection of better quality footage, it seems the striker in actual fact seemed to be alerting the referee to the situation. Both Xu Genbao and Wu Lei have backed up this version of events this week. The midfielder explained; “He raised two fingers, indicating to the referee to see the laser pointer coming from the stands shining on his eyes.” Consequently, McBreen will not be joining teammate Lv Wenjun on the list of current suspensions.
Last Time Out
Last Saturday’s 1-0 away defeat to Henan was difficult to swallow for East Asia. Having overrun their opponents for the majority of the game, Shanghai were let down by some inadequate finishing and ultimately surrendered any chance of a result, as Ryan Johnson incisively put them to the sword late on.
Changchun, meanwhile, were the benefactors of their own late drama at home to Shanghai Shenhua on Sunday. Having already levelled from a goal behind, the hosts looked to be heading towards a third defeat of the season, after Gao Di had put the visitors in front again towards the end of the first half. However, the long-running Shenhua drama continued, as Rafael Coelho’s 94th minute header over a lethargic Geng Xiaofeng resulted in an unexpected 2-2 draw.
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Causes for Optimism…
Despite suffering their first defeat last week, East Asia can certainly draw many positives from the manner in which they dictated the flow of the game for the most part. Although they failed to register on the score sheet, Xi Zhikang’s men will be keen to show that last week was merely an off day. East Asia have already proven their goal scoring credentials – last week being just the first time this season the side have been unsuccessful in finding the net. Training this week focused heavily on rectifying this, and the team will be looking to rediscover their eye for goal in front of their own fans.
… and for Concern
Changchun pulled off the upset of the season thus far when they dispatched Guangzhou Evergrande 3-1 on their own turf. In a game in which Guangzhou chalked up 13 shots to Changchun’s 3, the home side were left stunned as goals from Fatos Bećiraj, Matias Iglesias and Eninho put the game beyond the hosts. Last week’s performance in Henan had echoes of this, and Shanghai must show greater accuracy in front of goal if they are to avoid another thoroughly frustrating afternoon. On top of this, midfielders Cai Huikang and Wang Jiajie will have their work cut out keeping tabs on Brazilian Eninho. The diminutive midfielder impressed for Jeonbuk Motors in the ACL last year before his move to China, and already has 2 goals to his name following a lively start to the season.
Watch Out For
The combination of Wu Lei and Tobias Hysen never fails to excite when going forward, and last weeks blunt performance must be swiftly erased from memory with a comprehensive attacking display. With steadily-increasing attendances at Shanghai Stadium, East Asia will want to deliver in front of their passionate home support. Key to this will be the understanding between Wu and Hysen – an understanding that has so far yielded 7 goals between the pair. Having crafted countless opportunities to score in Zhengzhou last week – all to no avail – the duo will be itching to set the record straight this time out.
Shanghai have been impressive at home this season, in two very different encounters with Shanghai Shenxin and Beijing Guoan. Changchun, on the other hand, despite their remarkable result against Evergrande, have largely struggled on the road this term. Conceding over 65% possession to both Guangzhou and Beijing means that home sides have not exactly found chances on goal hard to come by when Changchun visit. With a much-improved attacking performance, East Asia should exorcise the demons of last week in convincing manner. 3-0.
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