It’s only the fourth matchday of the season and we have already seen city rivalries play out in Guangzhou, Tianjin and Shanghai. This weekend it is the Derby from the Capital City.
The newly promoted Renhe team have mustered a respectable 4 points from three games ahead of today’s game with a win, a draw and a loss in their three games. Beijing Sinobo Guoan meanwhile has taken up its standard position just outside the Champions League places. They have six points from three games with two wins and a lone loss coming against Shandong Luneng in the coming matchday of this campaign. These are exciting times for the Capital City with both teams in the top flight and expectations are heavy for both teams ahead of this Derby.
The two sides met in the CFA Cup last season in May with Guoan thrashing Renhe 5-0. It was a stunning hat-trick from Jonathan Soriano that did the trick for Guoan. But the history between these two sides has not been all Guoan. The last league encounter between the two sides ended with Renhe wining 2-1. The win was one of the few moments of joy for the Renhe fans that season as the club was relegated at the end of the campaign. They have only just come back from that relegation after a gap of two seasons.
What augurs well for Roger Schmidt’s side is the fact that his side currently sits in second place in the away table behind only Shanghai SIPG. The game is the first time Renhe are at home this season and marks the return of top-flight football to Renhe.
Current form too points towards a Guoan victory as after the defeat on opening day, the team have bounced back to claim two victories with the last one being the comfortable thrashing of Dalian Yifang away from home. Soriano was the difference maker for Beijing yet again as his brace catalyzed an important victory for Schmidt’s team.
Renhe, on the other hand, have experienced a mixed bag start to the season. After losing to Chongqing on Day 1, they managed to beat Tianjin Quanjian before escaping with a draw against Changchun.
This matchup has been billed as an exciting one and has a kickoff time of 12:35 in the UK.
Renhe Player to Watch: While his goals saved Jiangsu Suning from relegation last term, he hasn’t quite hit the ground running this term. Yet, Cameroonian International Benjamin Moukandjo will be the Renhe player to watch out for in this Derby. Augusto Fernandez will play a key role if Renhe want to get something out of this one.
Guoan Player to Watch: Bagged the hat-trick the last time these two sides met and got a brace in his last outing to open his account for this season. If he’s at his level best, Guoan will be hard to stop in this encounter.
Prediction: All said Guoan are on paper still the better side and I expect them to win this encounter. While they haven’t had the best start at the back, expecting both teams to score. A 2-1 win for Guoan for me.