Brisbane Roar show Hyundai A-League’s class in China

As Brisbane Roar celebrated a famous 2-0 win to advance into the group stage of the 2017 AFC Champions League this week, Shanghai Shenhua were booed off the pitch at the Hongkou Stadium.

The Hyundai A-League team had not read the script, one that assumed that Carlos Tevez and Obafemi Martins would inspire the Chinese Super League team to victory.

“I am not sure what happened,” said Shanghai coach Gustavo Poyet after the game. 

“We had so many chances to win and it is difficult to understand it.”

Brisbane happened. 

Oar on how Brisbane roared past Tevez’s Shanghai

Roar reach ACL group stage after stunning Shanghai

An intelligent and composed performance from the Queenslanders had the hosts on the back foot from the second minute when the excellent Brandon Borrello opened the scoring with the most clinical of finishes and there was even room for a Tommy Oar right-footer before the break to show how special an evening this was.

Roar forward Brandon Borrello celebrates scoring against Perth Glory with Tommy Oar.

That first half spell was one of the most impressive served up by an Australian team in Asia for some time and surely Brisbane’s best ever on the continent.

That Brisbane were more fluent was perhaps expected given the fact that this was Shanghai’s first competitive game since the end of October, but how they kept control of the game was less predicted.

Thomas Broich showed the experience of his 36 years and his creativity but it was an aggressive and intense all round performance, especially in the first half with Oar impressive going forward –as well as busy helping out in defence. 

Oar’s movement and running was too much for the Chinese at times and the winger outshone some of the more famous names on the pitch.

When Shanghai started to exert sustained pressure after the break, the central defensive pairing of Luke Devere and Jade North stood firm and while the hosts had plenty of possession and shots on goals, they struggled to create anything clear cut.

In front of a passionate and partisan crowd, it reminded me of Western Sydney Wanderers in 2014.

For Shenhua fans it was a case of Deja Vu. 

The expectation that this was the start of a new dawn for the club has been damaged by John Aloisi and his boys. 

Shanghai is a club that has often failed to deliver when expected to do so, eight runners-up spots in the past twenty years or so is testament to that.

So the signings of Tevez, and the investment elsewhere in the team, marked a new era for the team. One that would challenge at home and overseas. 

The Shanghai Youth Daily wrote: “In the end, Shanghai failed to perform, or were not allowed to perform. 

“Now they have to focus on the Chinese Super League and they can at least be happy that they will not face a team like Brisbane again this year. It was a clear lesson in how far Shenhua have to go.”

On social media, fans were not happy, as their jeers suggested. 

Shanghai Shenhua apologise to fans after Roar loss

Coach Poyet playing creative outlet Giovanni Moreno in a wider position than normal did not go down well and just as Brisbane put Shanghai under pressure early on in the game, the result means that Poyet needs to get off to a good start in the domestic season to keep the pressure off his shoulders.

But they will face few teams as aggressive, intense and clinical as Brisbane Roar.