The second leg of the Chinese FA Cup Quarter Final showed that Chinese Football is not just about absurd amounts of money. Of course, it is a major part of the football culture and traditions over here but the romanticism, surprises, goals and even more goals are a major part of the beautiful game.
Going into the second legs, Guangzhou R&F held a two goal advantage having bested neighbors Evergrande 4-2 in a hugely entertaining first leg. League One side held on against the might of Jiangsu Suning earning a 2-2 draw. Shanghai Shenhua had a foot in the semis after their comfortable win over Shandong Luneng. Tianjin Quanjian held onto a big 3-0 lead over free-scoring Shanghai SIPG.
Let’s dive right into the action.
Guangzhou Evergrande is a bullet train. Once it gets going, there is no stopping them. They got going against R&F in the second leg. Need I say more?
A late Alan goal in the first leg gave Evergrande hope that they could mount a sensational comeback against their bitter rivals. The second leg, however, is another story altogether. The tie seemed lost in just 7 minutes after first leg hero Renatinho scored again to give R&F a 5-2 lead in aggregate. The lead was gone by the time the half time whistle blew. A goal from home hero Muriqui began the comeback and goals from Alan, from the spot, a second Muriqui goal and one from Hanchao Yu saw R&F trail 4-1 on the day. Two yellows in two minutes for Zhizhao Chen did not help. It took some time for Evergrande to get going but a goal from Lin Gao gave them the aggregate lead. It did not last long as Zahavi scored his third of the tie from the spot. It was in vain as quick fire goals from Alan and Chengling Zhang gave Evergrande their fairy tale comeback.
What Evergrande can do, Shanghai SIPG can do, right? Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, Shanghai did not even have the away goals rule to come to their help. They had to score at least thrice and not concede. Check both boxes. Leading from the front, Oscar and Hulk began the improbable comeback inside the first 10 minutes. After dominating the first session, Hulk scored again on the stroke of the half time whistle to give Shanghai a fighting chance in the second leg. The second period saw Shanghai pick up where they left off, and less than 10 minutes in they drew level on aggregate with a goal from Oscar. The winner was scored by ZhiYun Zheng 20 minutes from time to complete the turnaround.
Shanghai Shenhua got lead 3-1 on aggregate and secured a place in the semis with a goalless draw in the second leg.
The fairytale continued for Shanghai Shenxin as they defeated Jiangsu Suning 2-1 on the night to secure a place in the Final four. Shanghai played like lions and topped their performance from a fortnight to leave Jiangsu stunned. The magic of the Cup!
Shenxin did not get off to the perfect start as they conceded in just the second minute itself to make things difficult. They wasted no time to reply as less Shenxin equalized through danger man Biro Biro. It was Biro who scored the winner in the second half as he made no mistake in slotting home from the penalty box.
The city of Shanghai continues its strong showing in this season’s Cup while Evergrande flies the flag high for Guangzhou.