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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Guoan Cloggers Snatch a Point

Nagoya's fresh-faced youngsters earned a point in Beijing to finish their ACL group stage unbeaten in six games. Although none of the youngsters had a particularly spectacular game, they all contributed to a solid team performance. They also seem to have survived unscathed from some typically amateurish 'tackling' that has no place in a professional competition.

Grampus got off to the better start, with Tsuda sending a dipping shot just over the bar. However, despite some very crude play by their defense, Guoan posed the occasional threat when going forward and Liang saw a good effort jut clear the bar. This was followed by a golden chance from tight angle, but Hui clipped the outside of post with the goal at his mercy. Meanwhile, the Chinese Cloggers had two players booked for dangerous two-footed challenges within the opening 30 minutes, and a third player booked for a crude push.

Nagoya took the lead when Yamaguchi won free-kick on the edge of box, after a neat bit of control outfoxed his marker. Hanai saw his curling effort from the resultant free-kick smack the bar, but Niikawa was on hand to react smartly and bury the rebound into the net.

The second half saw Grampus look a bit more comfortable and composed, but Guoan were occasionally dangerous down the wings. In particular, the pace of the two Griffiths brothers often created danger, but they lacked the finesse to make the most of the opportunities. Beijing did eventually pull level after period of pressure, towards the end of the half, with some good control and a well-taken shot by Hui. The thugish Zheng sees himself dismissed after a another two-footed challenge earlier in the half is followed by blatant arm block on Sugimoto, neither of which made any attempt to play the ball. No wonder the Chinese league cannot attract decent players, no true professional would risk playing there, leaving them with simple mercenaries who do not care as long as the money is good.

FootyTube has highlights of the first half.

Beijing Guoan Vs. Nagoya Grampus at

Guoan Cloggers
Zhang Si Peng
Lang Zheng, Zhou Ting, Xu Yun Long (Modibo 62)
Sui Dong Liang, Wang Dong (Zhang Xinxin 34), Wang Ke (Ryan Griffiths 75), Zhu Yifan
Du Wen Hui, Guo Hui, Joel Griffiths
Scorer: Guo Hui 81

Koji Nihimura
Genta Matsuo, Akira Takeuchi, Maya Yoshida, Masaya Sato
Kei Yamaguchi, Shinta Fukushima, Sho Hanai
Yuki Maki, Tomohiro Tusda, Oribe Niikawa
Scorer: Niikawa 35

Other Views
ESPN Star: Beijing Guoan 1-1 Nagoya Grampus
Kyodo News: Nagoya, Beijing end 1-1 tie in ACL

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