Guizhou Renhe swept aside a lethargic and error-prone Shanghai Shenhua to record an easy 3-0 victory last night which featured a double from Polish international Krzysztof Mączyński.
The international midfielder’s brace was aided by an error-strewn performance from visiting keeper Geng Xiaofeng, and Shenhua striker Firas Al-khatib being stretchered off before half-time, but there was only ever one team in this match come what may.
CHINA LEAGUE ONE ROUND 9
Guizhou Renhe 3
Maczynski 51′, 77′
Shanghai Shenhua 0
The home side went for the jugular right from the start. With barely two minutes on the clock, Zvjezdan Misimović released a lovely long forward ball which was picked up by Qu Bo who let off a searing shot which Geng Xiaofeng did well to parry.
In the 20th minute, the very same Guizhou pair combined again, with Misimović splitting the Shenhua defence with an excellent ball. But Qu Bo could only shoot wide.
The game continued in much the same vain for the rest of the first half, Shenhua making the odd half-hearted forray upfield and Guizhou having the lions share of attacks in both number and incisiveness. Shenhua lost Al-khatib on the 38th, stretchered off with a thigh strain following a clash with Sun Jihai. He was replaced by Taiwan national team captain Chen Poliang as Gao Di switched to playing upfront in place of Firas.
Following a spell of pressure which was basically the whole first half, Guizhou finally made the break through Yu Hai fed Misimović who sent a high hanging ball into the box which was met by the head of midfielder Hyuri who got the better of out-of-position countryman Shenhua defender Paulo. The ball looped past Geng Xiaofeng who was also out of position and was unable to keep the ball from bouncing in and over the line at the far post. And 1-0 it finished at half time.
The game was over shortly after kick-off when, in the 51st minute, Maczynski took a shot from around 40 yards out which Shenhua keeper Geng Xiaofeng somehow let squirm under his body into the net in what could only be described as a pretty shocking goalkeeping error. 2-0 and Shenhua were down and out.
Geng had in fact played well up until this point, but his confidence proved to be fragile as he went on to botch several catches and kicks during the rest of the game.
Sergio Batista’s response to falling two goals behind with still a good 23 minutes still on the clock was to send on Shenhua 35-year-old heavy smoker Jiang Kun in place of rightback Li Wenbo. Visibly off the pace, Jiang’s first contribution was to balloon a freekick on the right flank way over the heads of anybody in the Guizhou box in what was a frustrating waste of an opportunity for a side which has come to rely on set-pieces for scoring most of its goals.
One couldn’t help but wonder what kind of signal it must have sent to Guizhou when they saw the out-of-shape figure of Jiang crawling off the bench like an escaped hairy crab. Given the fact that anyone who has ever watched a professional football game would be able to readily attest that Jiang’s best playing days are half a decade past him now, one really has to consider the possibility that Jiang has some kind of guanxi within the club which states, as a senior player, he must be given a minimum amount of pitch time. Perhaps Batista was being clever in making this substition, and ridding himself of such an obilgation in a match which Shenhua no longer had any chance of taking anything from.
Guizhou wrapped up the points in the 71st minute when Mączyński fed a wide pass to Hyuri, who was in an offside position when he recieved the ball. But, with the Shenhua defence in disarray, the Brazilian fed it back to Mączyński who was left with an unchallenging job to finish low into the corner of the net to make it 3-0 and lights out Shenhua.
In the 81st minute, Sun Jihai climbed all over the back of Chen Poliang to try to win a high ball. Sun ended up on the ground but got up to angry remonstrate with Chen, pushing the Taiwanese over who went down clutching his face in an act of embarassing and dishonest fakery. However, Sun Jihai’s punishment for pushing over an opponent onto the grass was a yellow card. Just one week ago, during the Shanghai derby, pint-sized Shenhua leftback Bai Jiajun did exactly the same thing, but was red-carded and given a 3-match ban. Ironically, Bai’s sparring partner in the fracas was Yang Shiyuan, who, rather than pushing someone over, flew two footed through the air in a tackle which may very well have broken Gio Moreno’s leg had he not just clipped him. However Yang was, incredibly, banned for one less game than Bai.
The final whistle blew – 3-0 the final score in a game in which Guizhou were not at all challenged and Shenhua put in their worst performance of the season. The Hongkou side appeared to lack any kind of attacking plan, and defensively the team was a shambles. Paulo in particular was at fault for the first goal, as was Geng Xiaofeng, who was also of course responsible for the second. The third goal may have been offside but 3-0 did not flatter Guizhou in anyway.
After the game Sergio Batista bemoaned the club’s lack of depth on the bench, but with Zheng Kaimu, Wangchang Qing, Liu Jiashen and Zhan Yilin the unused outfield subsitutes, he had 5 alternatives to putting someone who is embarassingly obviously no longer up to professional football. Infact, to speak frankly, reserve keeper, Qiu Shenjiong, himself no stranger to the club canteen, would have been a better option than Jiang Kun.
Shenhua’s lack of depth will be tested more with news that Firas Al-khatib’s inital diagnosis may be that he will miss several games with a strained thigh muscle, whilst his strike partner Luis Ruiz is still out with a similar complaint.
Batista’s problems with continue next Saturday when they host Shandong for the return of Wang Dalei, whilst Guizhou follow them to play East Asia in Shanghai on Sunday.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015