For a team that looked on death’s door at the start of the year, Shanghai Shenhua are having something of a miracle season. On Sunday Shenhua faced off against Chinese Super League (CSL) newbies Shanghai East Asia, but despite their rivals inexperience in top-flight Chinese football, the derby proved as exciting as those of yore, with Shenhua’s Colombian star midfielder Gio Moreno heading in a late winner.
Wild East Football’s Cameron Wilson describes the match’s closing moments:
Shenhua now smelled blood – could East Asia withstand the psychological pressure of knowing their opponents had scored late goals to clinch points three times already this season? Whether this factor entered the players minds or not we won’t know, but it didn’t matter. What followed next was one of the best goals seen at Hongkou for quite some time. Song Boxuan used an absolutely ridiculous piece of skill on the left to beat his man, flicking a pass off the inside of his heel around the left side of Wang Shenchao, and dancing around his right to take the East Asia defender completely out of the game to a loud cheer from the crowd. He then accelerated past Ghanian defender Ransford Addo and put in a perfect cross, which Gio Moreno headed majestically into the net to finish a fantastic goal and an amazing derby comeback for Shenhua. Gio celebrated by taking off his shirt and pointing to the sky, whilst the vast majority of Hongkou went berserk. There was little time for East Asia to get back into the game and the final whistle was greeting by a massive cheer from the large home support.
For their part, Shanghai East Asia (which plays under the name Shanghai SIPG for sponsorship reasons), are excelling in their first CSL season, defeat in the derby notwithstanding, lying in seventh place after as many games.