Cao Yunding, Obafemi Martins score as Shanghai Shenhua win Chinese FA Cup
Shanghai Shenhua won the Chinese FA Cup for the first time in 19 years on Sunday evening as goals from Cao Yunding and Obafemi Martins secured an away goals victory for Wu Jingui's side over Shanghai SIPG despite the absence of Carlos Tevez.
Tevez returned to Argentina overnight after learning he had been left out of the squad for Sunday's second leg, which SIPG won 3-2 on the evening but lost on the away goals ruling after the tie finished in a 3-3 draw.
The defeat leaves Andre Villas-Boas' big spending club empty handed at the end of a frustrating season that promised much but only delivered a place in the playoffs for next year's AFC Champions League.
Shenhua led thanks to Martins' goal in the first leg last week but Lu Wenjun restored parity from close range just 15 minutes into the second leg.
Cao scored for Shenhua just before half-time to give Wu and his team the upper hand going into the break and Martins' long-range strike in the 68th minute left SIPG with an uphill task.
Hulk struck from the spot after Cao had felled Fu Huan in the penalty area with 19 minutes remaining before an own goal from Giovanni Moreno six minutes later set up a tense finish but, with Fu sent off late in the game for SIPG, Shenhua held on to claim the trophy for the first time since 1998.
"I will just enjoy this moment and not think about next season," said Wu, who replaced Gus Poyet as coach in September. "I have to say Tevez has always been crucial to the team since his arrival here, and he helped a lot in games too.
"It must have been a big hit to his confidence and pride when he knew that he was not in the roster of Chinese FA Cup final.
"I didn't know his decision [to return to Argentina] until yesterday. He actually contributed a lot to the team. Before the first game he told his teammates that he used his experience to win as an underdog."
The outcome left SIPG without a trophy despite having spent more than €150 million on foreign players over the past two seasons and coach Andre Villas-Boas refused to be drawn on his future with the club.
"It is not the right time to talk about whether I'm staying or leaving," said the former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager, who replaced Sven-Goran Eriksson in November last year. "SIPG knows my decision, so will you. But this is not the best time to talk about it.
"Of course I hoped we would gain a championship. In fact, we had our chances and we were almost there. This is our dream. It is my responsibility that we failed.
"Like I said, I think this season was better than before. We are now fully prepared to keep fighting for titles in the future.
"A championship is very important, but so is experience. Sometimes you gain more from the pain of losing the title."
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch