Getting to Know- Shanghai Shenhua

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After defeating Filipino side Global FC last Tuesday, Brisbane progressed to the 2017 AFC Champions League Playoff round with a clash on Wednesday against Shanghai Shenhua. With that in mind and in keeping with the tradition of ACL campaigns past, lets take a closer look at the history of our opponents from the Chinese Super League.

History
While Shanghai became a professional club in 1993, the club was founded back in 1910 as East China before a government law change saw the club add Shanghai to the clubs name in 1951.

The clubs name changed once again in 2014 to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, in a nod to the new ownership group. Greenland Holding Group Company Limited gained control of Shenhua in January 2014, before changing the name days later.

Since the change of ownership, Shenhua have been at the forefront of the new era of Chinese Football, where big names from Europe are brought in to raise both the profile and quality of domestic players in the Chinese Super League.

Honours
Chinese Super League (3) 1961, 1962, 1995, 2003*
* Shanghai Shenhua was stripped of the title.

Chinese FA Cup (3) 1956, 1991, 1998

Stadium

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Hongkou Football Stadium

Shanghai Shenhua play their home games at the Hongkou Football Stadium, a 33,060 seat stadium based in the northern suburbs of Shanghai. The ground, which was opened in March 1999 played host to the 2007 Womens World Cup.

Record in Asia
2007- Group Stage
2009- Group Stage
2011- Group Stage

From what I can gather, Shenhua have participated in the Asian Champions League on three previous occasions -the same as Brisbane-, the first of which was in 2007 and not since 2011.

In both of those years Shanghai played against A-League side Sydney FC, which is the only time that teams from  the A-League have played off against Shenhua.

How they Qualified
Shanghai qualified for this years competition as the fourth placed finishers in the 2016 Chinese Super League season, finishing five points clear of fifth placed Beijing Guo’an -who Brisbane have played in ACL competition twice before-, and 16 points behind league winner Guangzhou Evergrande.

Manager- Gus Poyet
While Shenhua most certainly have their share of high profile players, they also have a high profile manager on the sidelines in the form of 49 year old Gustavo Poyet.

Poyet, who made 49 appearances for his native Uruguay, spent his playing career largely in England with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, with stints prior to that in Spain with Real Zaragoza and Argentine powerhouse River Plate.

Poyet’s managerial career started out in 2009 with Brighton and Hove Albion in England’s third tier, before moving to Sunderland in October 2013. His stint at the Premier League club wasn’t the most successful in terms of League results although he did keep the Black Cats in the League, while also making it to the 2014 League Cup Final at Wembley. After a sluggish start to the 2014-15 season, Poyet was sacked in March 2015.

Since then Poyet has had stints with AEK Athens in the Greek Superleague where he was sacked in April 2016  just six months after joining due to disagreements with the clubs ownership. His most recent role was with Real Betis where after a slow start to the current season, he was sacked in November.

Poyet was officially appointed as the Head Coach of Shanghai Shenhua in November 2016, continuing the trend of Chinese Super League clubs recruiting big name managers to lead their clubs.

Squad
Goalkeepers- 21) Shen Jun, 22) Qui Shengjiong, 27) Li Shuai.

Defenders- 2) Xiong Fei, 3) Li Jianbin, 4) Kim Kee-hee, 6) Li Peng, 16) Li Yunqiu, 23) Bai Jiajin, 25) Wang Lin, 30) Tao Jin, 33) Bi Jinhao.

Midfielders- 5) Wang Shouting, 8) Zhang Lu, 10) Giovanni Moreno, 20) Wang Yun, 26) Qin Sheng, 28) Cao Yunding, 37) Sun Shilin.

Forwards- 7) Mao Jianqing, 11) Lu Zheng, 15) Zhu Jianrong, 17) Obafemi Martins, 18) Gao Di, 32) Carlos Tevez.

Key Players
Giovanni Moreno
Club captain Giovanni Moreno is the first of Shenhua’s foreign quartet, with the 30 year old Colombian an ever-present for the club. Since joining in 2012, Moreno has made 114 appearances for the club, scoring 34 goals.

Moreno made 12 appearances for his country from 2008- 2012, with prior stints in his homeland with Envigado, Athletico Nacional and Argentine club Racing before joining Shanghai Shenhua in the summer of 2012.

Kim Kee-hee
27 year old defender Kim Kee-hee has been figures to be the leader at the back for Shanghai this season, with the South Korean born defender making 30 appearances for the club since joining a year ago.

Kee-hee, a current member of the Korean Republic national team, has 22 appearances for his country to his name and has experience in the Champions League at his former club Jeonbuk Hyundai.

Obafemi Martins
Former Nigerian international striker Obafemi Martins is about to enter his second year at Shenhua after netting 9 goals in 26 games last time. Martins is most remembered for his time in the Premier League with Newcastle, where he scored 28 goals in 88 appearances from 2006-2009.

Since then Martins has bounced around the world of football with spells in Germany, Russia, Spain and the United States before joining Shenhua in February 2016.

Carlos Tevez
Finally the biggest name amongst Shenhua’s embarrassment of attacking riches, the former Juventus, Manchester City and Manchester United attacker recently joined the club ahead of the new season in what is described as one of the richest deals in football history.

The 32 year old, who represented Argentina 75 times, brings a wealth of experience with him in a range of different environments. An EPL winner with both sides of Manchester, Tevez has also won the title in Italy, Argentina and Brazil, in addition to the UEFA Champions League with Man Utd in 2008.

Current Chinese Internationals
As of February 2017, there is only one current Chinese international in the Shanghai Shenhua squad, with 27 year old midfielder Cao Yunding making two appearances for his country.

The only other Shenhua player called up in the last 12 months is 25 year old defender Bai Jiajun. Six other players have represented their country throughout their careers.

The fact that Moreno, Martins and Kee-Hee are keeping current Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin out of the ACL visa spots speaks volumes about the strength in depth the Chinese club possesses.

Senegalese striker Demba Ba and Brazilian forward Paulo Henrique are also on the books of Shenhua, however the duo have been loaned out to Beskitas and Sport Recife respectively.

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