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Shenxin provides Shanghai surprise for disappointing Guoan

Beijing Guoan’s bad luck in Shanghai so far this season continued on Saturday night after dropping three points to struggling Shanghai Shenxin. In the rain and muck of Jinshan Stadium, all three goals came from corner kicks, with Shenxin scoring in the opening minutes of both halves to secure the win.


Shanghai Shenxin 2
Johnny 6′, Lim 47′

Beijing Guoan 1
Zhang Chengdong 32′

Attendance: 6,503

The first goal came before many of the 6,000 fans in attendance even made it to their seats, as only six minutes into the match a Shenxin corner kick saw defender Johnny beat Yu Yang to the ball and head it in. Unfortunately for Guoan, this would become the story of the match. Less than two minutes into the second half, Korean midfielder Lim You-Hwan was a step ahead of Yu and scored.

Guoan got the one goal that fans have gotten used to, just past the half hour mark, Zhang Xiaobin played a ball into the box and an unmarked Zhang Chengdong came from nowhere to get to the ball before the unsuspecting defender. It was a pretty goal and once again Zhang was far and away Guoan’s Man of the Match, the only one able to create anything.

That is because Johnny didn’t only create goals, he had a stellar game in defense, tightly marking Joffre Guerron and then Peter Utaka, making sure that they always got their ball with their back to the goal and that they didn’t get very far. In line with what fans have come to expect this year, Guoan controlled the ball for the last half hour of the match, but whenever they got close to the goal, they couldn’t create any real opportunities. In a sad twist of fate, one of the best crosses of the night came from keeper Yang Zhi, who came all the way up for a last ditch corner kick.

For the second time this season, Guoan travelled to Shanghai with high hopes and flying high in the table and left stunned and beaten. It’s also the first time since Shenxin was promoted to the CSL in 2010 that they’ve defeated Beijing. The knives are starting to sharpen, if Gregorio Manzano can’t turn things around soon, he may not make it through the season.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.



  1. Luor

    20/05/2014 at 22:47

    FFS…always disappointing to see this utterly pointless excuse for a club come away with three points.

    When populous provinces like Hubei, Shaanxi and Fujian and major cities like Shenzhen, Qingdao and Suzhou have no top flight representatives – with some not even having any clubs at all – it makes it all the more frustrating that such a meaningless entity as Shenxin, which has no fans, and which plays in a third-rate seaside resort that barely anyone I’ve met in Shanghai has actually been to and which plays soporific football to boot, is clogging up the CSL.

    It’s the equivalent of the Premiership having a club from Weston-Super-Mare or Skegness but none from Birmingham or the northeast. The sooner they go pop or get relocated to a region which could actually do with a football club the bloody better.

    • bcheng

      20/05/2014 at 23:02

      As much as I’d like to disagree and say there’s an argument for Shenxin, there really isn’t and plenty of people don’t want to see them stay up. That said, even if they do go down, I’m convinced they are fully hoping to return to the club’s roots in Shanghai and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

      • Donald Ross

        21/05/2014 at 16:33

        Relocating Shenxin is not a solution to geographic disparities in Chinese football. It’s because of relegation that Wuhan, Qingdao and Shenzhen currently don’t any teams in the CSL and because of promotion that Shanghai and Guangzhou have multiple CSL sides.

        In a country the size of China, the only way to ensure an “even spread” (whatever that would look like) is to ditch relegation and have the make up of the CSL fixed and possibly even divided into regional conferences as with US sports,

        Also, moving a club, however badly supported they are, will attract negative headlines and discourage potential fans from watching their local team for fear it might suddenly be moved.

        • Luor

          21/05/2014 at 22:20

          You’re right, you’re always going to get geographical disparities due to some clubs from certain locales being just too crap to stay up, but Shenxin’s existence certainly doesn’t help matters…they were relocated from Nanchang, to a city in Shanghai which doesn’t seem all that bothered about football anyway, considering that Shenhua and East Asia struggle to rustle up more than 20,000 fans between the both of them on a regular basis. Shanghai is not a place that needed an extra club!

          I don’t know if the club’s owners have some kind of masterplan, like waiting patiently for Shenhua to implode or move to Kunming, or courting a local real estate giant with money to burn – perhaps there’s some kind of business logic if you know what’s going on behind the scenes…but from a fan’s point of view, fuck ’em!

          • bcheng

            22/05/2014 at 08:01

            Shenxin were originally set up as a Shanghai team, they thought taking over Bayi would be quickest way to the top flight, so they bought that side, however the agreement meant they had to keep that side in Nanchang for multiple years. They’d been looking to move back to Shanghai and in 2012 when they found sponsorship and support, they decided it was time to move back. Remember when they moved back, East Asia was still in the second division.

            Nobody will argue that Shanghai doesn’t need 3 clubs in the top flight, but as Donald said, you can’t really do much about that. Shenxin has always been a “Shanghai” club, with most of its players, front office, and managers (well in Zhu Jiong era at least) coming from that city. They have no fan support (which is true of many CSL clubs) and they barely play in Shanghai, but I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

  2. Cameron Wilson

    28/05/2014 at 00:06

    Finally! Someone else on WEF also realises that Shenxin’s crowd figures are completely fictitious.

    Without any fear of embarassment, I can now wear a giant chicken costume, copy my friends favourite colours and relocate myself every year, as no-one will be watching me either.

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