CHINESE FA CUP
Shanghai Shenhua win 2017 Chinese FA Cup
In a thrilling final, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua defeated cross-city rivals Shanghai SIPG on away goals.
Shanghai Greenland Shenhua won the 2017 Chinese FA Cup with victory on away goals against Shanghai SIPG at the Shanghai Stadium on Sunday.
Shenhua lost the second leg 3-2, but, thanks to a 1-0 home victory in the first leg, the team coached by Wu Jingui bagged the CFA Cup title.
Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins, once of Newcastle United and Inter Milan, scored two goals over the two-legged tie, becoming Shenhua’s hero.
With a career in China seemingly over, Carlos Tévez, Shenhua’s marquee player, was an absentee during both legs.
Having lost twice against SIPG in the league earlier this year, Shanghai Shenhua came into the final as underdogs.
However, a 1-0 victory in last weekend’s first leg gave confidence to the club nicknamed 'The Flower of Shanghai'.
On Sunday, SIPG scored first, Wenjun Lue giving the home side the lead in the 16th minute.
But right before half-time, Cao Yunding levelled the scores on the night, collecting a long ball and firing home to hand the visitors a priceless away goal.
In the 68th minute, Shenhua then netted again, Martins' sweet curling strike into the far corner leaving his side 3-1 up on aggregate and in control of the tie.
However, it took SIPG just four minutes to hit back, with Brazil international Hulk making no mistake after the home side were awarded a penalty.
And in the 76th minute, Shenhua midfielder Giovanni Moreno scored an own goal from a Hulk corner to set up a grandstand finish.
But despite constant attacks by the home side, Shenhua held out to claim the trophy.
Wu Jingui: "We finally won the cup"
After the match, Wu Jingui expressed his delight to the press.
"The match was very exciting and rough," Wu told reporters. "We finally won the cup with the advantage of scoring more away goals. Our team have made great progress and finally we won the cup this year. Thanks to my team members for their hard work. In the 180 minutes, our players suffered not only physical stress but also psychological pressures. Our players did a lot of running and put up a great defence."
This is Shenhua’s first major trophy since winning the CFA Cup back in 1998. In 2003, the team won the Chinese Jia-A League, the Chinese Super League's predecessor, but were stripped of the title due to betting scandals.