Obafemi Martins the hero as Shanghai Shenhua edge closer to end 19-year wait

Obafemi Martins
The Nigeria international’s input was the difference as Gus Poyet’s men defeated the Red Eagles, and are on the cusp of a fourth cup victory

Obafemi Martins scored the only goal of the game as Shanghai Shenhua saw off Shanghai SIPG 1-0 in the first leg encounter of the Chinese FA Cup final on Sunday afternoon.

The game started in a frenetic fashion with end-to-end exchanges, and the former Newcastle United forward almost gave the hosts the lead in the 11th minute after sneaking to poke a long throw-in, at the near post.

In the 38th minute, he would, however, get lucky with his craft after he evaded several Shanghai defenders to convert a well-worked low cross past Junling Yan.

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Although, André Villas-Boas’ men threatened to leave the Hongkou Football Stadium with a draw, the hosts were resilient nullifying the threats of Brazil internationals, Hulk and Oscar to end the tie 1-0.

Martins was on for the entire duration of the tie. The 33-year who has seven goals in 1159 minutes from 13 Chinese Super League encounters will be hoping to finish the job when Gus Poyet’s men visit Shanghai Stadium for the second leg of the tie on October 26.

The last time Shenghai Shenhua lifted the silverware was in 1998 and with a game left to grab their fourth FA Cup title, they will be counting on the experienced marksman to ignite the ammunition in the Red Eagles’ box.