CFA Cup Final First Leg Preview: Can Shenhua utilise the home advantage?

Kick-Off: 11:35 UK Time, Sunday 19th November

Shanghai Shenhua’s way to the final:

Third Round: 3-0 over Yunnan Lijiang (A)

Fourth Round: 1-0 over Beijing Guoan (H)

Fifth Round: 3-1 on aggregate over Shandong Luneng

Semi Final: 2-0 on aggregate over Shanghai Shenxin

Shanghai SIPG’s way to the final:

Third Round: 2-0 over Shijiazhuang Ever Bright (A)

Fourth Round: 15-14 on penalties over Suzhou Dongwu (A)

Fifth Round: 4-3 on aggregate over Tianjin Quanjian

Semi Final: 6-2 on aggregate over Guangzhou Evergrande

Here we go then. The final two matches of the Chinese football calendar for the club teams. What a great two-legged final we could have in store. Let’s look at the road to the final for our two participants.

Shanghai Shenhua started with a comfortable win over Yunnan Lijiang from League One in the third round, while SIPG saw off Yunann’s division rivals Shijiazhuang Ever Bright. In the following round, Shenhua had the more difficult opponent on paper as they faced Beijing Guoan, and won 1-0, while SIPG “only” had to overcome Suzhou Dongwu from League Two. The third tier team took them all the way to penalties where they were inseparable until everyone had taken at least one penalty and some had taken their second. In the end SIPG won 15-14 (!),

In the quarterfinals Shanghai Shenhua beat Shandong Luneng 3-1 after all the goals coming in the first leg, while SIPG lost 3-0 to Tianjin Quanjian in the first leg, only to pull it all back and win 4-0 in the second leg, going through 4-3 on aggregate.

In the semifinals, Shenhua crushed the dream of fellow Shanghai side Shenxin as they won 2-0 on aggregate, while SIPG beat league winners Guangzhou Evergrande quite comfortably 6-2 on aggregate.

That means that we will have ourselves a Shanghai derby in the Cup Final to make it just a little bit more intense.

Shenhua finished off the season the best of the two teams with a 2-1-1 form in the league over the final four league games since the Cup semis, although the two wins came against already relegated Yanbian (5-1) and Liaoning (4-1). For SIPG they’ve had a very poor end, only managing a 1-1-3 over their final four league games, plus a loss to Urawa Red Diamonds in the Asian Champions League.

As for the two league meetings between the teams it has been SIPG who have been the better team. They won 3-1 at the Hongkou Stadium early in the season and smashed Shenhua at home winning 6-1 back in September.

Hopefully, we’ll have two close and entertaining games between two excellent football teams come kick off.