Surging Shenxin capable of another shock at Shenhua
Poyet is focusing on the cup but his charges are struggling
Chinese FA Cup semi-final first leg
Shenhua boss Gus Poyet is chucking everything at the Chinese FA Cup but his out-of-form and unhappy side look well worth taking on at home to Shanghai rivals Shenxin in the first leg of their semi-final.
Poyet rested several key players at the weekend and saw his team slump to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Shandong Luneng.
But with suspensions and injuries still biting, he won’t be at full strength against Shenxin, the League One outfit who have already toppled two Super League sides to make it to the last four.
Poyet looks on the verge of getting the sack and it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll be able to call upon Carlos Tevez, the world’s highest-paid footballer, who is either injured or unavailable and, according to reports, wants to quit China as soon as possible.
Shenhua are 11th in the top division, haven’t played well all season and look far too short, even allowing for their divisional supremacy.
Shenxin head to the Hongkou Stadium in great form having seen off Jiangsu Suning in the quarter-finals.
They are unbeaten in seven, haven’t failed to score in 21 and clearly don’t have an inferiority complex.
Coach Juan Ignacio Martinez needs a big game from Brazilian playmaker Biro Biro, a former Fluminense starlet, and if his defensive midfielder can put the shackles on free-scoring Giovanni Moreno then Shenxin could be in business.
Paths to the semi-final
Shenhua - third round: bt Yunnan Lijiang 3-0 (a); fourth round: bt Beijing Sinobo Guoan 1-0 (h); fifth round: bt Shandong Luneng Taishan 3-1 on aggregate (1-3, 0-0).
Shenxin - second round: bt Nantong Zhiyun 2-0 (a); third round: bt Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng 5-3 (h); fourth round: drew 1-1 with Hangzhou Greentown (a) Won 6-5 on penalties; fifth round: bt Jiangsu Suning 4-3 on aggregate (2-2, 2-1).
Shanghai Shenxin draw no bet
1pt 11-2 Hills, Paddy Power, Sky Bet