A late Biro Biro penalty miss cost Shanghai Shenxin the chance to keep pace with Beijing Renhe, as the away side took all the points amidst horror weather on the city’s south west coast.
CHINA LEAGUE ONE
Shanghai Shenxin 1
Paul Rodriguez 45′
Beijing Renhe 2
With Beijing Renhe making the trip down to Jinshan in 2nd place and their hosts just 4 points adrift, this should have been a showcase CL1 contest, but mother nature had other ideas.
Half an hour before kick off the Heavens opened and Jinshan Football Stadium resembled a giant puddle surrounded by a thunder and lightning show. For the entire first half the pitch was so waterlogged that the ball would stop well ahead of it’s intended target and rob us of anything that vaguely resembled a footballing contest.
Both sides were still creating chances, but in these conditions it became difficult to make anything but a scrambled attempt with the slippery ball skidding all over the surface. After just 30 seconds, Beijing Renhe had a chance after a back pass held up halfway between keeper and defender, but the striker Masika was also comically unable to take control of the ball as it lay in the water.
Shenxin’s first chance had Cleiton Silva misjudging a skidding cross and allowing it to bounce of his leg and out from 8 yards out rather than caress it on target. Renhe were pushing higher and won several corners before making genuine contact when, after 13 minutes a great deliver was nodded on to the crossbar from within the crowded 6 yard box.
Ecuardorian international Jaime Ayovi looked like the early outlet for Renhe’s advances, but he seemed more determined to prove that he could provide his usual trickery even in these conditions than adjust and create something more direct. After 18 minutes he was presented with two chances in 20 seconds of goalmouth chaos. The first was a completely shanked half volley attempt and after his teammates regained possession and put a second cross in, he was unlucky to see his sliding effort at the far post turned away by Shenxin custodian, Guo Wei, on to the post and out.
To the delight of the 6 away fans alone in their stand being peppered by the torrential rain, Renhe would take the lead after 29 minutes. A deflected strike by Ivo from the edge of the box after teasing two defenders left Guo Wei stranded and the fancied visitors with a deserved lead.
The remainder of the half saw no respite from the weather and the football deteriorated with many long clearances and challenges from players just hoping to connect with the ball rather than take control or possession of it. It made for dreary viewing until Shenxin won a corner in the dying stages and after a well executed training ground move, skipper Paul Rodriguez’s perfectly glanced header equalized for the home side.
The rain eased and in the second half the pitch was in much better condition, allowing for a much better quality performance from Shenxin especially. But before Shenxin could take control and begin to bring some stability in possession, Renhe burst out of the blocks and within the first minute, Ayovi advanced one on one with Guo Wei and nutmegged him to regain the lead for his side.
While Shenxin controlled possession from here on, Renhe preferred to counter and to occasional effect, forcing a 3 on 1 situation undone by a heavy touch that skipped through to the keeper and another instance where Ayub Masika was pushed through after a great run and well foiled by Gou Wei.
After an hour Shenxin gave their day old loan singing from Shanghai Shenhua, Wang Yun a chance to impress. Although it was more hilarious than impressive that he was sent out onto the pitch with a huge yellow patch on his back covering someone else’s name and number and his #33 printed over the patch.
As the match headed towards the conclusion the Beijing side changed their tune. Breaks in possession would make their way to Ayovi and Masika as usual, but then they would calmly keep possession and play back through midfield rather that tear into space together as they had intended each time previous.
A Shenxin foray into the box that led to a tap in after the ball was spilled by Gou Wei was wrongfully adjudged to be offside after 80 minutes. There was a contentious moment in the lead up as a potential penalty call was also negated by the offside decision. Shenxin had reason to feel a little hard done by. They would be reward with a penalty 5 minutes later after clumsy defending halted a Shenxin attack on the right corner of the box.
Biro Biro stepped up to take the spot kick and casually placed it low and to his right, but keeper Zhang Lie was more than up to it and held the ball safely in his grasp, cue delirium from his teammates and the orange clad 6 in the away bay.
After the penalty save, a naive Shenxin were controlled by Renhe, who were allowed to kill the last few minutes with easy possession in their own half and hold the ball up at the corners with relative ease.
The result was unfortunate for Shenxin, who move down to seventh, as they had the lions share of the second half and deserved something from the match. Beijing Renhe sit comfortably in second place in China League 2 and will hope to keep the pressure on Dalian Yifang with a win away to their neighbours Dalian Transcendence next Saturday.