Zhu Jiong’s miserable record against Shanghai East Asia continued unabated on Sunday afternoon, as a fourth consecutive rain-soaked encounter ended in a 5-2 rout of Guizhou Renhe. With Wu Lei only fit enough to start the game on the bench, the onus of attack for the home side laid with foreign strike duo, Tobias Hysen and Daniel McBreen. Even the most optimistic of East Asia fans would have been hard-pressed to imagine such a resounding outcome, as a clinical Hysen hat trick, coupled with a brace from McBreen, saw the hosts finish as comfortable winners.
CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 11
Shanghai East Asia 5
Daniel McBreen 19′, 25′
Tobias Hysen 34′, 70′, 82′
Guizhou Renhe 2
Zvjezdan Misimovic 37′
Ibán Cuadrado (OG) 80′
Guizhou had conceded just 8 goals in their 10 games previous to this clash, and many (yours truly included) had expected a hard-fought encounter that would perhaps have been settled by a single goal. However, this was not to be, as Renhe’s seemingly solid defence were outwitted time and again by the vision and movement of the Shanghai front line.
With the exception of Wu, East Asia lined up with their strongest side – Wang Jiajie coming into the centre of midfield to take his place, as Wang Jiayu was pushed further out wide. Daniel McBreen continued his recent impressive form with an industrious attacking performance, as he hassled the Guizhou back four, and tirelessly chased down opponents on the edge of their own area. In fact, it appeared as though Xi Zhikang had instructed his men to do this right from the off, with the supporting Wang Jiayu and Lv Wenjun also doing their best to restrict the visitors time on the ball in the first half in particular.
It was this pressure in the final third that enabled Shanghai to take the lead inside the first 20 minutes. With red shirts flooding forward on the edge of the box, Jonas Salley’s scuffed clearance was graciously pounced upon by the attacking trio of Lv, Hysen and Wang – who’s through ball to the Swede was clumsily spilt by Zhang Lie as he rushed out to collect. McBreen pounced upon the loose ball on the corner of the 6-yard box, and was composed enough to slot home past the diving Salley to put his side ahead.
East Asia continued to threaten in attack; McBreen and Hysen cleverly combining to continually pose questions of defensive pairing Sun Jihai and Salley, and it was one such instance of this which laid the foundations for the second goal. As Hysen burst down the left flank, the forward turned to find McBreen arriving at the edge of the area. Quite how the Swede was able to pick out his partner, with a total of five defenders in the vicinity, was remarkable. The finish – accurate, but well within the reach of Zhang – squeezed under the ‘keeper to round of a move very much indicative of the visitor’s poor first-half display.
McBreen’s excellent start to the game continued at full pace, and within 10 minutes, he was instrumental yet again in Shanghai’s third goal. Wang Jiayu’s neat flick to him was expertly controlled, and with his second touch, the veteran forward showed an extraordinarily deft touch to chip the ball over Sun Jihai and Jonas Salley and into the path of Hysen. With Zhang rushing out to collect the ball, the Shanghai number 9 was required only to stretch a leg out to poke the ball home past the Guizhou stopper.
At 3-0, the home side looked in total control. However, Renhe were able to pull a goal back in the 37th minute through midfielder Zvjezdan Misimović. Chen Jie’s arching ball evaded a stationary East Asia defence to find his Bosnian teammate, who controlled neatly, before smashing past the helpless Yan Junling. Nevertheless, despite this small lifeline, as well as the lion’s share of possession afforded to the visitors, East Asia never looked to be in any danger of loosening their grip on proceedings.
With the second period starting in much the same fashion as the first, Guizhou introduced both Zlatan Muslimović and Yang Hao, in search of more dynamism going forward. However, despite surrendering more possession to their guests, it was East Asia who found the net once more in the 70th minute, as McBreen and Hysen again combined to devastating effect. The Australian’s long ball from deep on the right hand side split centre-backs Salley and Sun, allowing Hysen to take the ball out to the right of the box, before unleashing a fierce 18-yard drive into the bottom left corner.
The hosts continued to press with more fast-paced attacking play, and should have piled even more misery upon the visitors, when Fu Huan was cynically brought down on the edge of the area with only the goalkeeper standing between him and the goal. However, as was the case last time out against Guangzhou R&F, the referee only saw fit to issue Yu Hai a yellow card, despite denying a goal-scoring opportunity as glaringly obvious as any. Only moments later, the visitors were the recipients of more good fortune, as Zvjezdan Misimović’s cross was turned past Yan Junling off the head of Ibán Cuadrado.
East Asia remained much the better side however, and rounded off a comprehensive victory in the 81st minute. Hysen linked up magnificently with defender Ransford Addo – producing a clever one-two on the edge of the box – before smashing a left-footed drive off the bar and into the back of the net to seal his hat-trick. McBreen was mere inches away from completing a treble of his own in the final moments of the 90 minutes, but his shot from outside the box was parried onto the bar by Zhang.
A long-awaited win in rather emphatic style for East Asia will provide a much needed confidence boost ahead of two potentially tricky games on the road against Shandong and Jiangsu. The fact that this was achieved without last year’s star man, Wu Lei – who was restricted to a late cameo from the bench – will doubtless delight those within the East Asia camp. Furthermore, the outstanding performance and interplay of McBreen and Hysen will provide the icing on the already heavily sweetened cake, as both displayed the kind of intelligent movement and eye for goal that hasn’t always been evident so far this year.
Shanghai East Asia: 1 Yan Junling; 25 Ransford Addo, 21 Ibán Cuadrado, 4 Wang Shenchao, 23 Fu Huan, 5 Wang Jiajie (67′ – 7 Wu Lei), 20 Wang Jiayu (85′ – 18 Zhang Yi), 6 Cai Huikang, 11 Lv Wenjun (78′ – 13 Zheng Dalun), 9 Tobias Hysen (90+2′ – 15 – Lin Chuangyi), 36 Daniel McBreen.
Guizhou Renhe: 12 Zhang Lie; 3 Zhang Chenglin, 4 Jonas Salley, 17 Sun Jihai, 23 Chen Changyuan (54′ – 29Yang Hao), 7 Krzysztof Maczynski, 15 Chen Jie, 21 Yu Hai (83′ – 14 Yang Yihu), 10 Zvjezdan Misimovic, 27 Qu Bo, 39 Chen Zijie (54′ – 9 Zlatan Muslimović).