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February 26, 2024

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Shenhua edges city rival Port to claim Chinese Super Cup trophy

Shanghai Shenhua edged city rival Shanghai Port 1-0 to win the 2024 Chinese Super Cup yesterday, thanks to a 54th-minute goal by Swiss striker Cephas Malele.

Shenhua’s Russian head coach Leonid Slutsky gave big thanks to Shenhua supporters at the start of the post-match press conference.

“The great atmosphere the fans created in the stadium helped us to win this match,” he said. “Also, the team was well prepared as we played a lot of matches during the preseason.

“Our opponent is strong, but even big teams have shortcomings. Today we played persistently, and created more changes. This type of win gives us more confidence. We will maintain our playing style, keep a competitive mood and seek higher rankings in the new season.”

The last time the two teams played at Hongkou Football Stadium was four years ago.

The first half of yesterday’s clash was evenly matched, with both sides creating several close opportunities.

Shenhua’s Brazilian striker Andre Luis, and Malele, and Port’s Argentine striker Matias Vargas all had chances to break the deadlock, but scuffed their chances.

The goal came nine minutes into the second half when Xu Haoyang’s corner shot was barely blocked by Port goalie Yan Junling. The ball bounced to Malele, who was right in front of the post, and he rebounded it into the net.

Malele had at least two more scoring opportunities in the rest of the match, including a 60th-minute one-on-one attempt before goalie Yan blocked his close-range effort.

Shanghai Port made three substitutions at one time in the 70th minute, but could not turn the situation around.

Malele found the back of the net again in the 83rd but the goal was ruled offside. He was then involved in a dispute with Port striker Liu Xialong, and the atmosphere on the pitch became tense.

In the 85th, Port’s Brazilian midfielder Matheus Jussa received his second yellow card and was given his marching orders. With one player short, the Chinese Super League defending champion had to swallow its first defeat of the year.

Port’s head coach Kevin Muscat said it was hard to come to any conclusion on where the team needed to improve since the match was just over.

“The game had a good atmosphere, though we could have played better. We managed to control the first half, then found it more difficult in the second half,” the Australian noted.


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