Controversially-scored goals in either half from Roda Antar and Elias were not enough to keep Jiangsu Sainty in the game, but Ryan McGowan’s late header gave Shandong Luneng a fiesty 5-4 aggregate win in the 2014 Chinese FA Cup final.
After a feast of goals in the first leg that finished 4-2 to the Jinan-based Shandong Luneng, the team headed to Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre, where a determined Jiangsu were looking to impose themselves on the visiting side.
Roda Antar forced the ball out of goalkeeper Wang Dalei’s hands to score the opening goal in the 12th minute and Elias scored Jiangsu’s second, tying the aggregate score and bringing out the forcefulness of both sides. Elias was lucky to not see a red card later in the match, when an out-swung elbow connected with McGowan. Shandong coach Cuca also got in on the action with a sideline argument that resulted in some face-pushing.
An additional time red card to Sun Ke led to a Shandong free kick lofted into the penalty area. The ball was deflected from the scramble of the pack and into Socceroo defender McGowan’s path, whose diving header hit the back of the net in front of the ecstatic travelling fans.
Shandong have earned the right to participate in next year’s AFC Champions league as a result of the title, their first CFA Cup win since 2006 and their fifth in total.