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By Marc Tessier

Our senior editor Andy continues with his work though slightly injured in his left leg during the game.

Shanghai Daily won its second straight soccer game in the Wenhui-Xinmin Cup soccer tournament, defeating the group’s Property Management team 2-1 on Monday in a game filled with intrigue and moments of exquisite skill.

Smooth midfielder Chen Bo scored the winning goal in the first half from a class corner kick by right back Shen Kai. Chen headed the ball over the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms in about the 15th minute to give the Daily a 2-1 lead it would never relinquish.

“It was a nice corner from Shen,” Chen said. “I just happened to be there. The important thing was that we came from 0-1 down to win the game.”

A few minutes earlier, striker Wang Bin tied the game with a fortuitous goal. The Property Management team’s keeper attempted a clearance from within the six-yard box. His kick went straight to Wang, who calmly slotted the ball into the low right corner.

Chen nearly had another goal off a free kick. His curling, high shot was right at the keeper, who knocked it out of play.

The Property Management team (0-2) opened the scoring with an impressive goal of its own. An attacking run down the left side led to a cross clear across the goal. It was met by a midfielder. He volleyed past diving Daily keeper Marc Tessier.

The goal proved more costly to the Daily as midfielder Andy Morton sprained his left ankle while trying to mark the goal scorer. Morton left the game for treatment and a doctor said he would not be able to play in the Daily’s games on Wednesday and Friday.

The second half opened with the Daily side playing tight defensive football in an attempt to limit shots on goal. Center back Eric Yang was a rock on defense, clearing everything that came near him. Defenders Fu Chenghao and Shen Kai also proved to be solid. Whenever there was any doubt, Daily players made the simple, but effective play of clearing the ball deep into the opponent’s area.

“Our scrappy style worked in this game,” Shanghai Daily manager Ren Wei said. “But I feel really bad about Andy’s injury. He will miss the next two games. It will be more difficult without him in the starting line up.”

The Property Management team pressed for an equalizer. It won numerous corners in the second half, but each was met by a Daily player and cleared to safety. The Property Management team did create one clear chance about 10 minutes into the second half. A striker from just inside the box sent a low shot destined for the right corner. Tessier dove and knocked it towards the right corner, where Wang Bin claimed the loose ball and knocked it into touch. It was the last bit of danger the Daily crew faced.

As time ticked down, the Daily nearly stretched the lead. Shen Kai cracked a rising shot that the Property team’s keeper pushed over the bar.

At times, the Daily crew, wearing orange uniforms, looked like streaks of sunlight all over the pitch as they darted about with some crisp passing.

Substitutes Zhang Liuhao, Guo Min, Qian Tong and Zhu Shenshen played valuable minutes to give several starters a breather. They all worked tirelessly to harass the Property team’s attacks.

The win left Shanghai Daily with a 2-0 record with two games left. One more win will guarantee the Daily a spot in the semi-finals. The Daily plays Shaoxing Opera Troupe (3-0) on Wednesday and Oriental Morning Post (1-1) on Friday.

The Wenxin-Xinmin Cup is an annual soccer tournament for the Group’s different companies. Shanghai Daily has never won the tournament.
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