冬蔭波 於 01/03/2014 發表 收藏文章
Shandong Luneng Taishan (Shandong Luneng) are always mocked by the Mainland Chinese fans as the "tragedy team" and the "heritage team". As for "tragedy", Chinese football especially the national team is always a laughing stock of Mainland people. Club football has a better name now after the huge success of Guanzhou Evergrande. But before the time of Evergrande, failure in club football competitions were also lethal. And that was the time when Luneng dominated local football, with the pride of Chinese football on their shoulders in every Asian club competition. "Tragically", Luneng let their fellow countrymen down for multiple times with some shameful and tragic defeats.
Headline: "2:4. What can we say about it?"

In year 2005, Luneng were hammered by Saudi Arabia's Al-Ittihad by 7:2 in their ACL Quarter-final 2nd leg match-up. Luneng got knocked out with a tragic aggregate result of 3:8.

In year 2009, Lunung faced Indonesia's Sriwijaya in their last ACL group match. Sriwijaya had lost all five of their previous group matches making Luneng the favorite team even though Sriwijava had the home advantage. A win could send Luneng to the round of 16 and they did well in the first half with a 2:0 lead. However, Luneng collapsed in the second half and Sriwijava made an unbelievable come back to win the game 4:2. Luneng's door to the round of 16 were slammed by a "lowly" ASEAN team, tragically.

In year 2010, Luneng ended their ACL journey at the bottom of their group. That was the year when Chinese clubs missed all their nine attempts to beat any Korean clubs - and they lost all nine of them, tragically.

In year 2011, Luneng once again fell short of beating an Indonesian team with a 1:1 draw against Arema in the group stage, which more or less making their final match against Cerezo Osaka a must-win game. Cerezo killed their hope to the round of 16 with a 4:0 victory, a margin which is never acceptable to the Chinese given their historical hatred of the Japanese.
Headline: "Shandong 0, Osaka 4. Shandong failed all their four attempts to challenge the ACL."

Actually, the results were just reflecting the quality of Chinese football at that time, plus the 2005 Al-Ittihad were actually that enormous, plus Luneng did actually win some of the match-ups against Korean and Japanese clubs in the ACL group stage, making their fellow countrymen happy for a while. However, it is just not enough to satisfy the Chinese fans. And to add fuel to the fire, the jealousy of the unprecedented success of Evergrande had made a Shandong local media pushed the PR suicide button by saying something like "the success of Evergrande were just built on floating sand, while Luneng, with their strong youth development, is an authentic big club with heritage and class, building on solid base, unlike Evergrande." This shameless statement backfired, and became a laughing stock of many Chinese fans. Moreover, Luneng is owned and supported by a state-owned enterprise "Shandong Luneng Group", which more or less making it "the original sin" of the team. Some jealous Luneng fans again added fuel to the fire by firing back with crass and vulgar manners which further humiliated their team. Therefore, the non-Luneng fans have even more ways to make fun of Luneng other than the "tragedy" and "heritage" jokes.
Headline: "Evergrande is built on floating sand, while Luneng is a pyramid with solid base and heritage." ... Banner: "Wanna tease a monkey? Go for the Guangzhou ones."

This year, Luneng is determined to back to the throne. With a cash power even higher than Evergrande's, they spent over 20 million euros to strengthen their team. New coach Cuca has just led Atlético Mineiro to win Copa Libertadores last year. New Brazilian striker Aloisio is from the famous Santos, and Argentine international Montillo could even be more talented than former Evergrande magician Dario Conca - according to his resume and reputation. A few Chinese international had joined the squad too. The media praised that Luneng is potentially stronger than Evergrande. They also boasted that Luneng's winter spending was among the third largest in the world. With the par setting by Evergrande last season, a team that could be above the par is undoubtedly the favorite one in a match-up with Thai champion. They also had all the home advantages: The weather in Jinan was way cooler than that of Buriram, the highly polluted air was on their side, and Buriram had to travel a long way from home to Jinan which cost them 15 hours on the road (Buriram → Bangkok → Shanghai → Jinan). It was just the perfect time for Luneng to redeem all the humiliations they suffered from the Aseanian.
※ (L)Aloisio(M)Montillo(R)Love

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

During the pre-match press conference, when Cuca were asked about his opinion on Buriram, perhaps there was a lost in translation, the answer from Cuca was something like "I don't know nothing about Buriram". Cuca may not really put it this way in Portuguese, however Buriram were indeed provoked. "I'll make you remember us" was the response and later became the pre-match slogan of Buriram. Actually the Chinese fans did not forget about and never underestimated Buriram. Their victory over another Chinese team Jiangsu Sainty in last year's ACL, and the tough fight against the Iranian powerhouse Esteghlal Tehran in their ACL Quarter-final clash are still echoing around Asia, no need to recall their historic win over Guangzhou Evergrande in ACL 2012. Yet the Chinese commentators still preferred to mention that 2:1 victory in Guangzhou more than the others. Frank Acheampong, the former Buriram forward who tore Evergrande's defence apart and contributed both goals with his unstoppable speed at that historic night, were still mentioned by the commentators and they even said that the quality of Buriram's foreign force was no longer that impressive after Acheampong's departure to Belgium side Anderlecht. Of course the name of Carmelo, Jay Simpson and Kai Hirano cannot be compared to those mega names like Drogba, Anelka, Love, Kanouté who is now playing or had played in the Chinese Super League. Anyway, the match had finally kicked off under an intricate atmosphere, with the Chinese media all went for Luneng, with Chinese fans all took Buriram seriously, with Luneng's coach perhaps being misunderstood, and with Buriram indeed firing up.
※ "We'll make you remember."

Last year, the Thai humiliated the Chinese in an International friendly by crushing them 5:1 with a team of youth players. Even though many Chinese fans had already got used to the inability of their national team, they raised hell all over the internet after the match. The result had even become a national headline of humiliation. So that 5:1 score were brought up again by the media before this Thai-Chinese match-up. Buriram brought that up too, by posting the match highlights, which seeing their young striker Adisak Kraisorn scoring twice, on the Facebook. And Adisak did it again: he came off the bench in the 2nd half and scored the equalizer in stoppage time which silenced many Chinese fans once again. Adisak were named the "Chinese's Nemesis" by the Chinese media after the game. However, the Chinese fans would not give Luneng such a good name, especially after their disappointing performance.
※ Buriram recalled the game, Adisak repeated the moment.

※ Match highlights

※ In Mandarin, the "Lu" of "Luneng" sounds like the word of "donkey". Therefore they were mocked "donkey" in many ways. (Beijing Guoan is "turtle" while Guanzhou Evergrande is "monkey")

※ In Mandarin, the "Lu" of "Luneng" sounds like a local slang word which means "to jerk off".

※ In China, the name of the NBA team "Indiana Pacers" were translated into Chinese which sharing the same meaning of "pedestrians". So if a team is lack of mobility like Luneng were, you're called "Pacers".

Put together with "tragedy" and "heritage", Luneng were once again in the mud of total sarcasm and heavy criticism. Even the sponsor's slogan on their chest were mocked over million times.
※ Fans made fun of the slogan with the "jerk off" joke.

※ Banner: " Don't be arrogant monkey (Evergrande) ! Mount Taishan is gonna crush you down."

To summarize, Luneng's performance were just way below expectations. Their three foreign aces were all performing a mediocre show. The local players were lack of mobility making their plays slow and dull. And the team preferred old school direct football which people would not expect from a Brazilian coach. Passion and determination could not be seen as well. Luneng provided nothing but disappointment was the view shared by the fans and the media.
※ Headlines : "Messy performance." "Where did the money spend on?" "300 million dollars (Chinese RMB) for a draw." "Money can't buy class has been proven again." "Hey Luneng, your money spent in vain."

Anyway, that was only the first official match of Luneng in their new season. Their 20 million euros payment needs more time to see whether it pays off. They are indeed leading by a Copa Libertadores champion coach, their star foreign players are real and real-deal. So even though their local players may not be as supportive as Evergrande's, you shouldn't just write Luneng off. On the other hand, Buriram shared one same problem - Jay Simpson looked a bit isolated from the team system and needs more time to merge with his teammates. And Buriram only managed a draw here given that Luneng had missed a penalty shot and were still building their new team. Therefore their re-match on April 16 will be a different story and may not be a tragic one once again for the Chinese. There is still a month and a half to go, so let's first send our deepest condolences to Shandong Luneng for their lost of a fan who suffered a stroke whilst watching this match in the stadium, and later passed away after being sent to the hospital. "He was upset to death by Luneng's performance." Some mainland netizens commented it with sad sarcasm. A true tragedy. Let's refresh our mood by talking more about Buriram next round shall we? Stay tuned and sorry for my poor English.
※ Headline : "A football match cost you money. A Luneng match cost your life."


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