Tianjin Teda left it late, but grabbed a deserved victory against an out-of-sorts Shanghai Shenhua. Both teams are looking overshadowed in their respective cities; their history giving way to monied upstarts – Teda watching newly promoted Quanjian steal the headlines (and major signings) in Tianjin, while Shenhua cede further ground to championship-chasing SIPG.
CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE
Tianjin Teda 2
Ideye 36′ 89′
Shanghai Shenhua 1
It started brightly enough for Shenhua, Carlos Tevez missing a presentable chance in the opening seconds, in what set the tone for yet another disappointing individual performance in blue. His foreign compatriots had other ideas, however, and a smart combination between Tevez, Gio Moreno and Obafemi Martins led to the latter opening the scoring for Shenhua – turning sharply and finishing well in the 11th minute.
Tianjin withstood the opening barrage, and eased their way back into the match well – once the ball was off the Shenhua front foot, and away from their star forwards, the game began to favour the home side. An excellent team goal brought the sides level in the 36th minute – a smart interchange of passes cutting through a scrambling rearguard and leaving Brown Ideye to finish.
Shenhua threatened only sporadically thereafter, but what little they created flowed through captain Gio Moreno – a player who remains a reason to watch any game he’s involved in; an interesting CSL evolution from enigmatic luxury to the heartbeat of an (admittedly disfunctional) side. Teda possess less in terms of standout talent, but were a much more cohesive unit, and continued to dominate both possession and chances. This dominance manifest itself in a Shenhua red card in the 78th minute – Li Peng blocking Brown Ideye and drawing a second booking to reduce the visitors to ten men. Had Ideye been on better form, the contest would have been settled much sooner, but in the final minute he atoned by finishing tidyly inside the six yard box – ending the game with the unusual distinction of being a two-goal matchwinner with much to lament about his performance.
Opposing striker Carlos Tevez had yet another poor outing – patience afforded to a new signing coming back from injury must fast be wearing thin. He looks on a different wavelength from those around him, a fate not unusual to new CSL signings, but one that needs rectifying quickly if he is to give any sort of return on Shenhua’s significant investment. On current form, he will be lucky to even make the side once Fredy Guarin returns from injury to claim one of the three foreign player slots – Oba Martins doing far more to justify a striking role thus far.
Tianjin Teda were good value for the win, and now move above their opponents in the table; a table that offers little promise for either side, as both clubs look mired in mid-table mediocraty for the forseeable future.