Shanghai Shenhua’s South American contingent were in fine form as Gio Moreno, Carlos Tevez and Fredy Guarin helped deliver a comprehensive 4-0 victory for boss Gus Poyet in his first Yangtze Delta derby.
CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE
Shangahi Shenhua 4
Moreno 17, 86
Mao Jianqing 79
Jiangsu Suning 0
Jiangsu Suning went into this fixture with recent history very much on their side, having dumped the hosts out of the CFA cup three seasons running, but never got a foothold in the match as the home side ran out comfortable victors. Pre-season also pointed in favour of the visitors, with Jiangsu’s two Champions League victories contrasting with Shenhua’s exit in a preliminary round on Carlos Tevez’s inauspicious debut.
It was a very different story this time around, with Shanghai Shenhua looking confident and in control from the off. Both sides had to trim their foreigner quota from continental outings, with Shenhua opting to drop Obafemi Martins and Korean defender Ki-Hee Him in favour of reinstating Colombian Fredy Guarin. Jiangsu more conservatively retained their Korean centre-back, Jeong-Ho Hung, at the expense of Brazilian midfielder Ramires.
Another change in CSL regulations has been the inability to have any additional foreigners among the substitutes, and this was to have immediate implications as Jiangsu’s Colombian forward Roger Martinez was injured and unable to continue in the opening 10 minutes. Shenhua had already gone close by this point, with Gio Moreno flashing a header over from close range, but worse was to come for the visitors. Tevez had been having a quiet opening by his usually manic standards, but on 17 minutes stepped up to deliver a fine free kick to the back post, where Moreno climbed highest to atone for his previous miss – 1-0. Shenhua’s left flank of Bai Jiajun and Cao Yunding were exceptional, seemingly tearing through Jiangsu at will, and fashioned another chance on the half hour mark which drew an excellent save from Gu Chao.
It was starting to look as if Jiangsu would weather the storm, and reach the interval still in contention, when they conceded an unlucky penalty for handball – probably the correct decision, but with the ball coming from a cross that was hard to avoid. Carlos Tevez made no mistake from the spot to claim his first goal in Shenhua colours.
The second half continued in much the same fashion – the home side’s confidence underlined by Gio Moreno attempting a shot from just inside the Jiangsu half, smiling as it sailed wide. Alex Teixeira, shorn of his usual strike partner, looked isolated for the visitors, often outnumbered and increasingly frustrated. The game was killed as a contest on 79 minutes when an off-target Guarin strike from a Tevez corner was guided in at close range by substitute Mao Jianqing. Tevez turned provider once again with 5 minutes remaining – his flick allowing Moreno time and space at the back post to claim his second goal, and mark a comprehensive victory over Champions League opposition.
Jiangsu were strangely compliant throughout, and their evening turned even worse when, in injury time, Teixeira’s frustration finally boiled over and he was sent off for a second yellow card. Last season’s cup finalists and league runners up will hope this is nothing more than an off day. Shanghai Shenhua, for whom questions were being asked of Poyet before a ball was even kicked this season, can look to the future with a little more enthusiasm.
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