Talking points from Chinese FA Super Cup 2018
It was the third successive win in the Chinese FA Super Cup for Guangzhou Evergrande and their fourth title overall28 February 2018 | Johnson Zhang
Shanghai Greenland Shenhua were outclassed as the current Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao retained the Chinese FA Super Cup with 4-1 victory in a cold night Hongkou Football Stadium in front of 23, 998 in Shanghai on Sunday night.
Prior to this match, the Chinese FA Super Cup, three teams had won three times each: Shanghai Shenhua, Guangzhou Evergrande and Dalian Shide. The outcome of this match determined who would be the history makers with four titles next to their name.
Evergrande dominated from the start and led when Huang Bowen scored at the 28th minute with a cracking goal outside the area, much to the disappointment of Li Shuai who almost produced a stunning save to deny the goal.
Disaster struck at 28th minute when Shenhua coach Wu Jingui was forced to make a substitution when Li Jianbin went off with an injury concern, to be replaced by Zhang Lu. Shenhua fought back at the 36th minute with a beautiful counter attack produced by Cong Zhen to Giovanni Moreno in which he passed a wonderful ball to Li Yunqiu who provided an assist to Fredy Guarin for a goal to equalise the scores at 1-1.
Evergrande then took back the lead two minutes before half-time, when Ricardo Goulart produced a wonderful pass to Alan who was gifted by Bi Jinhao’s defensive error mistake to make it 2-1 to Evergrande going into the break.
Evergrande then doubled their lead at the 65th minute when Gao Lin scored an amazing goal outside from the area. It looked to be offside because of Gao Lin's pass to Yu Hanchao but the referee determined that Yu did not touch it.
There were chances for both teams after the score reached 3-1 to Evergrande.
At the 77th minut, Xu Xin almost stretched the lead for Evergrande to 4-1 but it was saved by Li Shuai. Five minutes later, Shenhua almost made it 3-2 when Giovanni Moreno was dragged back by Gao Lin in the penalty box, but the referee decided to play on, much to the disappointment of Shenhua fans.
Shenhua were unable to contain the classy style of Evergrande and added to their woes when they gave away a penalty in added time. Goulart then calmly slotted the penalty goal to a 4-1 win over Shenhua to claim their third consecutive Chinese FA Super Cup title, their fourth overall.
This means that they are now the history makers with four titles as the most by any club in this competition. This also marked the first trophy for Fabio Cannavaro on his return to Guangzhou Evergrande as a head coach in his third game in charge on this stint. He was previously fired by Evergrande in 2015 after six months in the job.
This weekend will open the 2018 Chinese Super League campaign for all the 16 teams. It will hopefully shape to be an exciting season and mark the debuts of foreign players from European based teams with the likes of Javier Mascherano from Barcelona, Gabriel Paletta from AC Milan and Yannick Carrasco from Athletico Madrid.
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