Matchday 2 and derby number two of the season, this time from Shanghai as Shenhua and SIPG fight it out to be the best in the city whose name literally means “Upon the sea” in a little over an hour.
It’s been a mixed start to the season for the two teams. Both are participating in the Champions League but while SIPG have done well and are topping their group after two wins and a draw, Shenhua have found it more difficult with three straight draws and a third place so far.
In the first game this league season Shenhua could only muster a draw against Changchun Yatai after taking an early lead through new signing Oscar Romero, meanwhile, SIPG gave Dalian Yifang a harsh welcome to the big leagues as they thrashed the newly promoted team a massive 8-0, including a hattrick from Oscar and a brace from Wu Lei.
As mentioned Shenhua have the upper hand between these two teams as they won the CFA Cup in dramatic fashion last year, beating SIPG on away goals after an exciting second leg. After Shenhua won 1-0 in the first leg, SIPG took the lead after only 16 minutes but Obafemi Martins equalised for the blue-clad boys after 67 minutes. Then, just five minutes later Hulk scored from a penalty and when Giovanni Moreno scored an own goal with 13 minutes still to go the tension was back in the tie. However, Shenhua held on and could lift the trophy after an otherwise disappointing season.
In the last five years SIPG have won five of the ties in the league, Shenhua have won three while three have ended in draws, all 1-1.
So a fairly even split over the last few years but with SIPG taking a slight advantage. This could be a very good match, but it also has the potential to be a somewhat boring affair. No matter what happens on the pitch, the atmosphere in the stands should be electric as both set of fans are some of the most vocal in the league.
Shenhua player to watch: Giovanni Moreno – While Obafemi Martins and Fredy Guarin might be more household names to the average European watcher, the Shenhua captain Moreno is the man to pull the strings for the home side. He is also their top scorer so far this season with two goals to his name in the Champions League.
SIPG player to watch: Oscar – After that dominant display in the first league match and with four goals to his name in the Champions League the former Chelsea player has been on fire at the start of this season. The Shenhua defence will have their hands full with him and there’s no reason he can’t add even more goals to his tally.
Score prediction: 1-2 – I missed horribly in the Guangzhou Derby as my measly 2-2 prediction was wiped off the floor with the final score being 5-4. I suspect that won’t happen here but that SIPG won’t have the goalrush from last time. I still think they’ll win it though, and a with Oscar in such great form he could well provide both goals for SIPG today.