Last night saw the Men in Green open their 2016 campaign against local rivals Tianjin Teda and it was played out to a mind numbingly boring 0-0 draw. Alberto Zaccheroni’s side didn’t look like they were ready for the new season and while it is easy to be hard on them, it needs to be remembered many of the top sides including Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG lost in week one, so a point isn’t the worst possible result.
- A number of players had a particularly bad match, especially in the first half, but with Zaccheroni’s hands tied due to injuries to Burak Yilmaz and Kleber, the choice of Zhang Chiming as striker was a gamble that failed miserably. Zhang looked lost in the position and his roaming around the pitch didn’t amount to anything but a number of offside calls
- If this match was played against someone other than Tianjin, a side that looks very likely to be fighting to avoid relegation this season, it wouldn’t have turned out so well for Guoan.
- Zhang isn’t the only player who should be called for questioning due to their performance, the whole side was out of sorts in the first half and only managed a paltry two shots with none on net. Tianjin wasn’t any better with three shots and also not a single one on net.
- It was a little surprising Zaccheroni failed to make any substitutions until after the 80th minute despite the way Guoan played, however it may have been influenced by a slight uptick in the way Beijing was playing, putting pressure on Tianjin for 15 minutes or so following the hour mark.
Post-match, Yang Zhi went through all the platitudes saying, “In the first half we slowly got up to match speed, by the second half our performance was back to normal. Even though we didn’t have a lot of chances, the whole team was trying hard, and one point on the road is acceptable.”Late in the match, some of the upper lights at Tianjin’s Olympic Stadium went out, however it wasn’t as bad as what happened to Guoan last season in Shijiazhuang and the managers agreed the match could continue on with only a brief delay.If looking for one bright spot last night, it was the play of Lei Tenglong (and equally Jin Pengxiang) in the back four. The two who haven’t played much together did a pretty good job of organizing the back four without the help of a senior presence like Xu Yunlong at his side.