shenhua vs. guo’an

now that my friend andrew has moved up to hongkou north of suzhou creek and east of, well, shanghai’s downtown, he is always inviting a group of us to come experience the magic that is hongkou.

two weekends ago, that meant going up to see shanghai shenhua take on bitter rivals (and regining csl champs) beijing guo’an in a game at hongkou stadium.

the game was sloppy (wet grass, everyone was sliding) but super exciting. 3 goals in the first 12 minutes as guo’an went up very early, but shenhua put in 3 in a row before the half and then in the 2nd half one of guo’an’s australian imports nailed this cracking goalazo off a left footed volley from 25 yards out, which made for a nervous final 12 minutes.

but the tickets were cheap (45 rmb from the scalpers), the evening was a fun time, and despite the cynicism of most of my chinese friends about the poor quality of play in the csl, along with the corruption – i would gladly go up again.

plus the fans. the shenhua ultras and the other supporter groups – vs. the traveling party of several hundred guo’an fans seated in the upper deck – it was fantastic. the flag waving, singing and, frankly speaking, vulgar anti-beijing chants really encapsulated what a fun fanbase in sports is all about.

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