It’s Saturday night and I discover myself on the Shanghai metro on the way in which to Hongkou Soccer stadium, with completely no concept what I’m about to get myself into. As a former Hull Metropolis season ticket holder, I’m no stranger to watching my staff at residence or on the street in a few of the largest grounds in Europe. 

However one factor is for certain, no ambiance I’ve skilled compares to what I skilled at Hongkou. It definitely wasn’t the loudest or probably the most hostile crowd, however it was undoubtedly probably the most distinctive I’ve ever witnessed within the flesh. Admittedly my first foray to a Shenhua recreation may have been at a greater time for the membership however however, to listen to three sides of the bottom orchestrate an environment like that was one thing to behold. 

One factor that was simply noticeable from my first steps onto the northern terrace was the shut neighborhood of followers to the pitch at Hongkou. Not like many a contemporary stadium today, the gap between the followers and the pitch solely helped to extend the red-hot ambiance come kick-off. A cauldron-like ambiance worthy of successful any recreation is extremely arduous to return by, however Shenhua’s followers positively can’t be disparaged for his or her makes an attempt to get behind their desperately struggling staff.

Hongkou from the Northern Terrace- Picture through Tom Lamming

The sport itself… Properly, the sport wasn’t probably the most enthralling recreation I’m ever prone to see that’s for sure. The guests Chongqing Lifan regarded completely happy to accept a degree from the second they stepped off the bus. Regardless of sitting in and defending for giant durations of the sport, Jordi Cruyff’s aspect supplied sufficient of a menace on the counter, to make the Shenhua trustworthy more and more tense as the sport wore on. 

Fernandinho confirmed flashes of the brilliance that has all too usually brought on Shenhua issues down the years, however all in all, Chongqing not often ventured out of their very own half on their strategy to incomes a beneficial level that took them as much as 6th within the CSL.

Shenhua alternatively, from the surface wanting in, was significantly missing any kind of killer intuition once they reached the ultimate third. All too usually the situation of the ball being labored as much as Gio Moreno who then persistently discovered himself at an absence for attacking choices. 

Shenhua visibly missed the pace and killer intuition that Nigerian worldwide Odion Ighalo supplies, however with Ighalo on African Cup of Nations duties, the shortage of innovative within the attacking third of the pitch is just not one thing that’s going to go away anytime quickly. 

Heading right into a recreation that felt like a should win and offering such a lackluster efficiency at residence, may have definitely despatched alarm bells ringing across the Shenhua trustworthy with the daunting run of fixtures that’s to return. Dealing with final seasons high two within the subsequent two video games, internet hosting Guangzhou Evergrande earlier than the small process of a Shanghai derby in opposition to the reigning CSL champions.

This run of video games definitely received’t outline Shenhua’s season, however it may very a lot form the run in of a aspect who’ve dropped perilously near the relegation zone. Taking the positives from a win in opposition to Jiangsu Suning final day out, Shenhua couldn’t go and beat one of many high two now, may they? In soccer today who is aware of…