Carlos Tevez and his new employers Shanghai Shenhua endured the worst possible start to their 2017 season as Gustavo Poyet’s side were knocked out of the AFC Champions League following a 2-0 loss to Australia’s Brisbane Roar on Wednesday evening.
Tevez joined the Chinese Super League side from Boca Juniors amid huge fanfare and has reportedly become one of the world’s highest paid players after signing a two-year contract with Shenhua.
But, in the club’s first game of the season, Shanghai were dealt a major blow as first-half goals from Brandon Borrello and Tommy Oar saw Brisbane advance to the group stages of the continental club championship and leave Shenhua to focus on their challenge for the domestic title.
Brisbane will advance to the group stages of the competition, where they will face Japan’s Kashima Antlers, Muangthong United from Thailand and former champions Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea.
It was a night to forget for Tevez and his teammates, with the Argentine peripheral for much of the first 45 minutes as Brisbane — who are well into their current season — proved to be the sharper of the two sides.
The A-League club took the lead with less than two minutes on the clock when Oar hared down the left before picking out Borrello with a fine left-footed cross that the midfielder volleyed into the bottom corner of the goal.
The visitors could have been further ahead only for Borrello to hit the post from just outside the area as Shanghai struggled, with only Obafemi Martins looking lively in attack. Twice the Nigerian threatened, only to miss the target on both occasions.
There were no such problems for Brisbane and, with five minutes remaining in the half, John Aloisi’s side doubled their advantage, silencing the crowd in the process.
This time it was Borrello who turned provider for Oar, the midfielder surging into the area after a fine period of possession play for Brisbane, cutting the ball back to an unmarked Oar, who swept the ball home with aplomb.
The Hongkou Stadium crowd were less than impressed, booing their team off at the interval, and when the teams came back out for the second half, Shenhua started with a greater level of urgency.
Tevez found his way behind the Brisbane defence only seconds after the resumption before firing high and wide while at the other end Jamie MacLaren’s audacious lob attempt was just over the bar.
Shenhua increased the pressure, with captain Giovanni Moreno carving out an opening that was squandered while Tevez had his close-range effort at the end of Cao Yunding’s incisive run pushed onto the post by Jamie Young as Brisbane clung on to their two-goal advantage.
Poyet, in his first official game in charge since being appointed in December, cut an increasingly frustrated figure on the sidelines as Brisbane’s central defensive partnership of Luke DeVere and Jade North kept Shenhua at bay. Despite being camped in the Brisbane half, Shenhua struggled to create clear cut chances.
As a result, Shanghai were left to try their luck from distance: Tevez had his long range free kick pushed to safety by Young before firing wide with another attempt from outside the area minutes later. When Young did make a mistake, fumbling the ball to Martins in the dying minutes, the former Inter Milan man was unable to take advantage.
Brisbane continued to hold out, recording a famous win and leaving Shanghai with significant work to do before the Chinese Super League season beings next month.