CFA Cup Final Second Leg Report: Shenhua edge it on away goals to secure first win since 1998

Result after the first leg: Shanghai Shenhua 1- 0 Shanghai SIPG

Result after the second leg: Shanghai SIPG 3-2 Shanghai Shenhua (3 -3 on aggregate. Shanghai Shenhua win on away goals)

So then, the Chinese club season is over, and what a way to end it. Shanghai Shenhua have won their first CFA Cup trophy since 1998 and have secured a spot in next year’s Asian Champions League as well.

In a match that had it all, goals aplenty, a red card in controversial circumstances, an own goal and a penalty, it was Shanghai Shenhua’s fans that could celebrate as Shenhua won on the much-debated away goal rule as their one goal at home last week, coupled with their two in this match meant that they won the title despite it being 3-3 on the scoreboard.

How the match unfolded:

The first chances fell to Shanghai SIPG but neither of them troubled the Shanghai defence terribly, but it was the home side who were set to take the lead a little bit later.

After 16 minutes Oscar found himself in space and crossed the ball into the Shenhua box. Shenhua goalkeeper Li Shuai went out to punch the cross away but missed the ball completely and Lu Wenjun got a foot to the ball and put it in the net to bring the teams level on aggregate.

After the intense SIPG start, Shenhua seemed to wake up and realise they were actually playing a game of football and they too started to create chances.

Just before halftime, Shenhua had a goal disallowed as Obafemi Martins stood in the way of the SIPG goalkeeper Yan Junling, while teammate Cao Yunding smashed the ball into the back of the net after 43 minutes. He wheeled away to celebrate and it took a little while before he realised the American referee Ted Unkel had blown the whistle for the offside on Martins.

Yunding would get his revenge two minutes later, however, as he put Shenhua level alone with the goalkeeper after 45 minutes. He received a long ball from Bai Jiajun and out-muscled his opponent to turn and shoot on the volley past Junling.

Over in the second half, SIPG started off with a couple of long-range efforts from Hulk but they never troubled the Shenhua goal.

Then in the 70th minute, Obafemi Martins did it all on his own and put Shenhua in the lead with a curled long-range effort.

The Nigerian received a long ball and, alone with three SIPG defenders, he cut in from the wing and sent the ball flying into the net via the post, from just outside the SIPG box.

Just a minute later SIPG got a penalty when Shenhua’s first goalscorer Yuding gave a perfect example as to why attacking players should never perform a slide tackle as he brought down Fu Huan inside the Shenhua box.

Hulk made no mistake from the spot and put SIPG back level in the game, but they still needed two goals to win.

Just four minutes later, SIPG got the first of the two goals needed as Giovanni Moreno put the ball in his own net. A cross from a corner bounced off Moreno and into the Shenhua goal, a very unlucky involvement from the Shenhua captain.

As the match ticked into added time with five minutes added on and the frustration rising in the SIPG camp, an incident occurred that saw Fu Huan get his second yellow after the American referee Ted Unkel had conferred with his linesman for close to three minutes.

However, when viewing the replay, it’s clear to see that the man who should have gotten the yellow card was SIPG’s number 33, Wei Shihao as he was the one who instigated the incident, pushing a Shenhua player, and Fu Huan only stepped in to try and stop the situation. Fu Huan wears number 23, so it would seem that the linesman simply picked the wrong number.

After almost nine minutes of extra time, Unkel blew the final whistle and the Shenhua fans breathe a sigh of relief before joining in the celebration with their players.