|Cristian Andal |||Mar 13, 2017 11:04 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) Tianjin Quanjian midfielder Axel Witsel (L) competes for the ball against Shanghai Shenhua's Carlos Tevez.
Newly-promoted club Tianjin Quanjian FC was able to hold a 10-man powerhouse team Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC to a 1-1 draw on Saturday in a 2017 Chinese Super League second round meeting at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai.
The game was tightly-contested from the kickoff as both sides settled for a goalless draw after 45 minutes of action. Tianjin had a fortuitous break in the 24th minute when Shanghai midfielder Qin Sheng was sent off with a red card after he "stamped on the foot" of Quanjian import Axel Witsel, Shanghai Daily reported.
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With a man down from then on, head coach Gus Poyet's side was forced to back down and tighten their defense. Former Manchester United, Manchester City, and Juventus striker Carlos Tevez was not able to get going with his attacks as a result.
Despite the one-man disadvantage, Shenhua captain Giovanni Moreno was able to break the game's deadlock in the 75th-minute as the Colombian winger buried a close-range goal from inside Tianjin's penalty box.
However, head coach Fabio Cannavaro's boys were quick to respond as Witsel netted the equalizer 10 minutes later. The Belgium international was at the right place inside the box to direct a corner kick from local midfielder Wang Yongpo towards the back of Shenhua keeper Li Shuai's net.
Tianjin had a chance to earn the win and all three points after Shenhua defender Wang Lin was called for a hand ball two minutes later. However, former Chelsea flop Alexandre Pato's ensuing penalty kick went wide over the cross bar to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Both sides believe that referee Li Haixin had "a few controversial decisions," but Poyet refused to comment on it during the post-match press conference.
"I'm the coach and I lead the team. You are reporters and you are free to comment (on the referee). I don't want to steal your jobs," Poyet told the media after the game. "Both teams picked up a lot of yellow cards in the match. Controlling emotions is a complicated issue, and our team should have done better."
"But this is our players' character. If you force them to control themselves, it might affect their performance," he added.
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