The past few years whenever Beijing Guoan goes on the road, anything can happen and such was the case at Hanghai Stadium on Sunday night as the capital club travelled to struggling Henan Jianye and came home empty handed.
The Beijingers, having played in midweek at Shenyang and with another CFA Cup fixture two days away, rested a few starters and gave new signing Dejan Damjanovic his first start for the Men in Green. Things got off to a bad start for Guoan from the very start and didn’t get better. Off the opening kick off, Beijing pushed forward, however a turnover put Henan on the counter, a long pass confusing Yu Yang and somehow finding Zhang Lu onside, he was off and all alone against Yang Zhi, who was able to make a top save. Unfortunately, despite Yang’s valiant effort, the ball ricocheted off Yu and fell to Ryan Johnson, who easily put it away. Two minutes in, Guoan was already down one, not the way to restart the season.
Henan Jianye 2
Johnson 2′, Xiao Zhi 71′
Beijing Guoan 1
Shao Jiayi 79′
Guoan would keep pushing forward, with Dejan putting in an impressive performance despite his first appearance with the club and providing fans with some hope that after he can practice more with his teammates things will get even better. That wouldn’t be the case in this match, again a long ball fooled Yu Yang, who left too much space for Xiao Zhi, and Henan was able to double their tally.
Beijing manager Manzano would bring on Peter Utaka and play with two attackers, something he has avoided doing this season, but the Nigerian striker continued his woeful form. Damjanovic was able to help Guoan pull one back, providing a tight cross to Shao Jiayi, allowing the aging midfielder to head past the Henan keeper, but it wouldn’t be enough.
The loss was made all the more painful due to Guangzhou Evergrande only taking one point for Shandong Luneng, yet another blown opportunity for the Beijingers to pull closer to the league leaders. Yet the biggest loss may have been the post-match discovery that Pablo Batalla may be out for two months due to an injury suffered during the match, leaving the already depleted Beijingers another man down. While the few away fans who made the trip to Zhengzhou (despite Henan wavering over whether the away stand would be opened) were able to get out safely, this time around it was a nightmare for entirely other reasons.