With less than a month to go until Glory’s maiden AFC Champions League campaign gets underway, we thought it was time to take a look at our first-up opponents, Shanghai Shenhua.
The Chinese giants are due to visit Perth Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday 11 February (kick-off TBC) and if you want to be there to watch this game and our other two home ACL fixtures, the cheapest way to do so is by grabbing a bargain Champions League membership HERE).
So, what’s the lowdown on the visitors?
‘Shenhua’ translates as ‘The Flower of Shanghai’ and Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC, to give them their full name, are based in the suburb of Kangqiao which is situated approximately 20km from Shanghai city centre.
Their home ground is the 33,060-capacity Hongkou Football Stadium which hosted the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final and has also been used as a concert venue by the likes of Mariah Carey, Linkin Park and Kylie Minogue.
The original Shanghai FC was reorganised and relaunched as Shanghai Shenhua upon the advent of the fully-professional Chinese Jia A-League competition in 1994.
The Jia A-League duly morphed into the Chinese Super League which Shanghai Shenhua won in 1995, while they have also lifted the Chinese Cup on five occasions, most recently last year.
That triumphsecured their spot in the 2020 AFC Champions League, but they did it the hard way.
Shenhua trailed 1-0 to Shandong Luneng after the first leg of the Cup Final, only to stage an impressive comeback in the return leg at their Hongkou Football Stadium home where they ran out 3-0 winners on the night.
The club has never been relegated from the top flight and in addition to it’s 1995 title, has also finished as runners-up on eight occasions.
Their best performance to date in the ACL, meanwhile, came in 2006 when they reached the quarter-finals before being eliminated by eventual winners, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
Shenhua’s previous managers include Gus Poyet and Quique Sanchez Flores, both of whom also coached in the English Premier League, as well as ex-Argentina national team boss Sergio Batista.
The men to watch:
Stephan El Shaarawy
The club’s highest-profile player having starred for both Milan and Roma in Serie A and won 25 senior caps for Italy.
Now 27, the fleet-footed forward from Savona was on target for Shenhua during their comeback in the second leg of the 2019 Chinese Cup Final.
Very much Shenhua’s creator-in-chief, the Colombian international is closing in on his 200th game for the club and currently wears the captain’s armband.
Moreno is also Shenhua’s record goalscorer with 66, 11 of which came last season.
A right-footed winger who plays on the left flank, only one player claimed more assists than Yunding in the Chinese Super League last season.
Now 30, he has played over 200 times for Shenhua after joining them in 2011 and has also earned five senior caps for China.
Another of Shenhua’s main attacking threats, Ighalo scored ten goals in only 17 Super League games last season.
Best known for his three-year spell at English club Watford, the rangy frontman’s resume also includes 16 goals in 35 appearances for Nigeria whom he represented at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
An experienced South Korean international striker, Shin-wook scored one of Shenhua’s goal in their Cup Final second-leg win over Shandong Luneng.
Measuring 1.96m, the 31-year-old is a genuine threat in the air and has plenty of ACL experience having won the competition with both Ulsan and Jeonbuk.