Competition: AFC Champions League - Group E
Date: Wednesday, 28th April 2010 (19:30 kick off)
Venue: Workers Stadium
DF IGAWA (yellow card 38')
MF TANIGUCHI (replaced by KIMURA 59')
MF VITOR JUNIOR(replaced by KUSUKAMI 71')
FW RENATINHO (replaced by NOBORIZATO 39')
It's official - the 2010 ACL campaign has died a death. And sadly it went with a whimper rather than a bang.
Frontale actually started quite brightly. The hosts looked nervy and Taniguchi, Ito and Tasaka all spurned good chances to take the lead.
But it was Beijing who went ahead midway through the first half, countering quickly after a poorly delivered Vitor free-kick. There were echoes of Saturday's match against Kobe as Frontale found themselves badly under-staffed at the back, allowing Australian striker Joel Griffiths too much time and space to pull down a cross-field pass and prod a cool finish past Eiji.
As usual, conceding against the run of play left Frontale rattled. All of a sudden, they were struggling to string two passes together and the Chinese were evidently growing in confidence.
Things soon got even worse for the visitors when Renatinho had to leave the field with what is hopefully nothing too serious.
The half-time break gave coach Takahata a chance to rally his troops. But the malaise that had seeped into their game before the interval continued into the second half.
Within minutes of the restart Beijing had doubled their lead. The big, bald Brazilian, Erivaldo, managed to steal in behind a disorganised defensive line. He then calmly took the ball round Eiji and slotted into an empty net, leaving Frontale with a mountain to climb.
The home team sat back for the remaining 40 minutes, content to defend their lead. It's a sad indictment on Frontale that, despite dominating possession, they failed to trouble the Beijing keeper with anything but speculative long-range efforts until the dying minutes of the game.
Make no mistake, Beijing are not a great side. But they took their chances and defended their lead stubbornly.
As for Frontale, their passing was simply atrocious for a good hour in the middle of the game. Nor were they greatly assisted by Kurotsu, who struggled to hold up the ball in what increasingly became a lone striker role. How different might things have been had Chong Tese not picked up that silly red card against Melbourne?
All things considered, it's better to go out of a competition on (lack of) merit rather than through controversy. And let's be honest, given the results in previous games, it was a surprise to most that we were still in contention at this stage of the tournament.
Anyway, onwards and upwards. Just three more games til the World Cup break, during which the team really needs to consolidate its position near the top of the table. Who knows...might even have a fully-fit Juninho back by the time action resumes in July.
Group E - Final standings:
|Seongnam Ilhwa FC (Q)||6||5||0||1||11||6||15|
|Beijing Guoan (Q)||6||3||1||2||7||5||10|