While the season is over for most Chinese football clubs, Shanghai football fans are holding their breath for a key clash - the Chinese Football Association (CFA) Cup. Shanghai Greenland Shenhua won the 2017 CFA Cup title with more away goals at Shanghai Stadium Sunday night.
Shanghai Greenland Shenhua lost to city rival SIPG at Shanghai Stadium SIPG's home soil Sunday night with 2-3, but thanks to the victory 1-0 in the first leg of the final of the CFA Cup at Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium last weekend, Shenhua finally won 2017 CFA Cup title.
The end of the match means Shanghai SIPG ended the season empty-handed.
"We obtained a lead of 1-0 at the beginning of the game but Shenhua equalized the score before the end of the half time. It was a big blow to our morale and we are sorry that we didn't win this game. SIPG should have the opportunity to win three trophies but we lost them and I am responsible for that," said SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas.
At the start of the season, Andre Villas-Boas was tasked with winning at least one of three trophies - the Chinese Super League, the AFC Champions League and the CFA Cup. SIPG finished second to defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande in the CSL while lost in the semifinals of the ACL.
For AVB's counterpart Wu Jingui, the victory was the best gift, and he was profuse in thanking his players for their performance.
"The match was very exciting and tough. We finally won the cup with the advantage of scoring more away goals. Our team have great progress and finally we won the cup this year. Thanks my team members for their hard work. In the 180 minutes, our players suffered not only the physical stress but also the psychological pressures. Our players did a lot of running and put up a great defense," Wu told reporters.
Shenhua lost both the local derby matches to SIPG in the CSL this season. It fell 1-3 to SIPG at home in May, and then suffered a humiliating 1-6 away defeat in September -- days after Wu took over from Gus Poyet as head coach.
"Whoever win the cup, it is the honor belongs to Shanghai football." Mr. Yu, a 33-year-old football fan told to Xinhua.
The last time a Shanghai team won a national level championship was way back in 2003 when Shenhua won the first division title but it was taken away following the betting scandals. The last time Shenhua won the CFA Cup was in 1998.
A CFA Cup title gives Greenland an automatic berth in next year's AFC Champions League.