Chinese Super League: Beijing Guoan tighten grip at top of table
We return with men's football, where the Chinese Super League is back in swing after the international break, and leaders Beijing Guoan did not miss a beat as they edged Shanghai Shenhua 2-1 at home. The victory increases the Capital Club's edge to five points, but as Damion Jones reports, they know there's a lot more work ahead.
Beijing Green versus Shanghai Blue, a clash of club colors that remains arguably the most storied and intense rivalry in the Chinese Super League, regardless of where the two teams sit in the standings.
DAMION JONES BEIJING "The last time Beijing Guoan met a team from Shanghai, they suffered their first defeat of the CSL season at the hands of defending champions SIPG. That is a result the Capital Club are not keen to imitate as they host Shenhua in the latest edition of the National Derby."
Beijing kick off their 13th match of the campaign knowing closest chasers Shanghai SIPG, would host third placed Guangzhou Evergrande later on Friday, giving Guoan a chance to create some breathing room with a win over their now-struggling long-time adversaries, should both results turn out favorably.
YU YANG BEIJING GUOAN DEFENDER "We want to keep this record as long as we can, and put some pressure on every opposing team coming here to play against us, so that they will feel a little bit afraid to face Guoan."
LI KE BEIJING GUOAN MIDFIELDER "We don't think about them, you know, we just focus on what we have to do. We take one game at a time and, you know, we just focus on what we need to do and, you know, we look ahead of us. We don't look behind us."
With Piao Cheng's early goal settling the home side's nerves, Renato Augusto's strike to double the lead shortly before half-time sends the crowd at Workers Stadium into a frenzy, but part of coach Roger Schmidt's focus remains on areas where his table topping squad can still improve.
ROGER SCHMIDT BEIJING GUOAN COACH "The success we had in this match came from the efforts of the entire team, but some of the players are also not at their peak level right now."
Needless to say, the German won't be happy while reviewing Wu Yizhen's score to help Shanghai Shenhua close the gap to 2-1 in the 90th minute, but with the hosts holding on for the victory, and Evergrande beating SIPG 2-0 to jump to second in the table on goal difference, Guoan have, at a minimum, bought themselves a bit more time at the top of the heap. DJ, CGTN, Beijing.